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2008 Story #13 – The Healing Joy of Secret Santa

As an adult Santa has visited me! One Christmas I awoke to alarming sounds of clattering outside our home. I made a futile attempt to persuade my husband that during a snowstorm someone was stealing our old-rusted-out automobile. At dawn we discovered two new tires on our car. Additional visits came as someone in our community taught their children the joy of giving. Beginning twelve days before Christmas and ending Christmas Eve, they nightly left anonymous gifts at our door. Due to this influence, we too became Secret Santas.

In 2005 my father passed away and we learned that my brother-in-law was sexually abusing our two daughters. That December I was exhausted from managing my father’s estate, supporting my mother, and searching for ways to miraculously heal our daughters. To make matters worth, an unhealthy distrust toward people began to fester inside of me. Twelve days before Christmas, three packages arrived via mail. The first package I opened was postmarked "Royal Mail." It contained a picture frame and note signed, "From Your U.K. Secret Santa." The next package contained a kaleidoscope with an invoice from Secret Santa. The third package was a box of chocolates from "Hanukkah Harry." As Christmas day came and went, special gifts from diverse locations and Secret Santas flowed into our home.

The first day of December 2008 I found myself mulling over our budget with the hope to find $200 for Christmas gifts for our 4 children. The results of a seven-month lay-off had pushed us to our financial limits. We needed to pay our bills, buy winter clothing for the children and raise $7,000 to press a children's book our 11-year-old-daughter wrote and illustrated as part of her healing from sexual abuse. Her goal is to teach children (as only a child can do) how, when, and why to tell if they have been sexually abused. I resolved that we could not afford our tradition of Secret Santa.

When I informed our children that this year we needed to postpone Secret Santa they questioned my decision. I explained to them the expense of buying or making enough goodies for each day counting down to the holiday. All our children then urged, "People need the joy Secret Santa brings them." Since they applied the same words that I used as a guide for thirteen years of Secret Santa adventures, I could not argue. Still, there wasn't enough money in the budget.

That night the package marked, "Royal Mail," was left by my bed. As I rummaged in the package I walked down memory lane. It was then that I understood how this league of Secret Santas helped us to heal. These givers demonstrated to me that no matter our spiritual beliefs, finances, location in this world, or what has occurred in our lives, we are all, in some way, linked to each other. Nor will we ever truly know just how much someone needs the healing joy that Secret Santa will bring.

Note: this story is from 2008. View other 2008 stories and 2008 voting results. View current stories.