“One Sleepless Night,” New Era, Dec. 2003, 32
It was almost Christmas, and the year had been hard for my family. My dad’s job was not going well. At night I could hear my parents talk about Christmas and how they didn’t know what to do. They knew that they could tell us that we would have to go without giving presents to each other, but they didn’t know what they could do about Santa, because most of the kids were still young. I was 13 years old and the oldest of six. At nights I would lie in my bed and try to think of a way that I could help my family to have a good Christmas.
One night I had the idea that I could earn some money, buy gifts for my brothers and sisters, lay them out on Christmas Eve, and say that they were from Santa. The next day, I walked around my neighborhood asking people if there was any work that needed to be done so I could earn some money. For a couple weeks before Christmas, I worked to earn the money I needed.
Two days before Christmas Eve, a friend who was old enough to drive took me to the store so I could finish some Christmas shopping.
As I was walking down the aisles in the store, I was getting excited looking for things that I knew my brothers and sisters would like. Every present was chosen with much love, and I couldn’t wait for them to open these gifts. Spending all the money I earned, I took the gifts home and hid them in my room until Christmas Eve.
When Christmas Eve came, all of my brothers and sisters were excited. After having our Christmas dinner, we got ready for bed and laid our stockings out for Santa to fill. Going downstairs to my room, I set my alarm so I could wake up in the night to lay out the gifts I had bought. I knew that my mom and dad would be setting things up and going to bed late, so I tried to get as much sleep as I could so I wouldn’t be tired for Christmas day.
That night, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t go to sleep. I hoped my parents would go to bed soon. After waiting a few hours, I got all the gifts that I bought and snuck upstairs. A warm feeling came over me as I set out the gifts. I couldn’t wait for morning to come. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night because I was so filled with excitement and love.
When morning came, we all ran upstairs to wake up Mom and Dad and to see what Santa had brought. Watching my brothers’ and sisters’ faces as they opened the gifts that I bought them was the best part of my day. When mom and dad realized there were other gifts, they started to cry.
I will never forget that Christmas and the feeling I felt. It was worth working hard to prepare for that day.