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Mental Health Matters: All I want for Christmas . . .
In case you missed our column last week, we asked for heart-warming Christmas stories because, when we read something cheerful and uplifting, the gift of mental health starts to work its magic within us.
Our first Christmas story has arrived and we liked it enough to share it with you, too.
This is a story about a carefree four-year-old named Nash and how he and his dad went to the mall so Nash could tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas.
The line was long, but Nash waited patiently, his eyes fixed on Santa the whole time.
He watched as, one by one, children approached Santa to reveal their secret wish for Christmas.
It seemed to take forever, but Nash never complained.
Some would sit on Santa’s knee while others would not even look up while they mumbled their desires for Christmas morning.
For dad, it was not really a secret what Nash wanted because he said over and over again for the past few weeks he desired a remote-controlled car.
He had even told his parents the model, colour and type he wanted so, when it was finally Nash’s turn to talk to Santa, his dad asked: “Do you want me to go with you?”
Nash turned, looked up his smiling father and, with the most solemn look, shook his head and said, “No thanks —it’s a secret.”
“OK, son, off you go.”
Nash approached Santa and dad watched curiously as the boy — no hint of shyness or fear — stood directly in front of Santa and began talking with the same serious expression he had when he talked to his dad.
Nash’s father was puzzled, to say the least. What was this normally easygoing little boy so serious about?
It didn’t take long but, as Nash finished with Santa, his father saw the little boy lean forward, tap the palm of his open left hand with his right hand index finger as if to emphasize his point, then turn to walk back to his father.
As he approached, he was back to the carefree little boy his father had always seen.
“Is everything OK?” dad asked curiously as he noticed Santa beckon to one of his elves.
He had never seen Nash behave or look like this before.
Before Nash could answer, a young woman who was dressed as one of Santa’s elves came up and said; “Your son forgot his candy cane, and Santa said to be sure to come back and get it.”
When Nash scampered back to Santa for his candy cane the young woman grabbed the dad’s arm and said, “Santa sent me to tell you what your son wants for Christmas.”
Dad smiled and said: “I know, it’s a red remote controlled sports car, right?”
The young woman never even smiled.
She said: “No, he wants Santa to take the red remote-controlled sports car he asked for in his letter and give it to his friend Joey.
“He told Santa that Joey’s dad was out of work and, when he played at Joey’s house last week, Joey didn’t have many toys and there was not very much for dinner.”
The elf turned and abruptly left just as Nash returned with his candy cane.
The father looked past Nash to Santa, who was not yet engaged with the next child and, as the two men made eye contact, Nash’s father could see Santa’s eyes glistening.
On Christmas morning Nash kneeled eagerly on the floor under the tree.
He frantically tore off the paper from his present from Santa and, when he saw a red remote-controlled sports car, he slumped back on his heels dejected.
“What’s wrong, son?” his dad asked.
“I wasn’t supposed to get this,” Nash said and, as he held the box up to show his dad, the serious expression was back.
As he talked, a slip of paper fluttered to the floor.
Nash picked it up and said, “What does this say, dad?”
Dad took the note and read aloud: “Dear Nash. Don’t worry about Joey. He has a car just like this one under his tree. Thanks for giving me the hint. Love, Santa.”
Nash went back to his car and, for the longest time, he just stared at the box.
Finally he looked up at his mom and dad and said, “This is the best Christmas ever!”
If you have a favourite Christmas memory, send it along to Kamloops@cmha.bc.ca and add it to our collection. You never know, it might appear in print too!