Today marks day 4 of #12DaysofChristmas and this story is inspired by 4 calling birds.
The Christmas spirit was in full effect at Miss Holly’s Winter Wonderland. Every year from November 1st until December 25th, townsfolks came to the amusement park. The park had everything from horse-drawn carriage to peppermint tea cup rides to a petting zoo with reindeer. There was something for everyone.
Macey Henderson was like your average fifteen year-old. Always glued to the phone, not paying attention to the world around her. As a child, she used to enjoy Miss Holly’s Winter Wonderland, but now that she was grown, she didn’t care for it.
Yet, that didn’t stop her mother, Brenda from taking the kids each year. Brenda was a Christmas fanatic and on the first weekend of December, she’d pack her children Macey and Caleb into the van to go to the amusement park.
Macey trailed behind as her five year-old brother, Caleb lead the way through the petting zoo. Macey’s eyes alternated between the phone and her family. Whenever Brenda turned, Macey made sure to hide the phone. That was one rule in the Henderson household, cell phones were not allowed during family gatherings.
Macey sent a quick text to her friends, who were enjoying carousing around the mall instead of being stuck at a kiddie park like her.
Boredom snuck in the longer they stayed at the petting zoo, Macey needed a breather.
“Mom, I’m going to go to the bathroom. I’ll be back.”
“Okay.” Brenda held Caleb up so he could feed a carrot to the deer. “We should still be here when you get back. If not, we’ll be at the light show.”
Macey waved goodbye then exited the tent. She maneuvered around the crowd of tourists before coming to rest at an empty bench.
As she relaxed from the tiring morning, Macey looked around the park. Everywhere you turned there was Christmas decorations or a person dressed in a holiday costume.
A penguin, holding a bundle of tree shaped balloons approached Macey offering her one of the inflatables, but she waved him off.
She continues sitting in boredom until a guy in a Santa suit sat beside her.
“You look like you could use some holiday cheer,” the elderly man replied.
“Get lost, creep,” Macey ignored him as she pulled out her phone.
“That’s no way for you to behave, Macey.”
Her head shot up at the mention of her name. “How did you know…”
“I’m Santa Claus.”
Macey almost believed him until she realized she was wearing a stupid elf hat with her name on it. “Yeah, sure you are.”
“You look down in the dumps. Tell me what’s wrong?”
“Listen here…” Macey stuck the phone back in her pocket. “I’m not spilling my guts to a complete stranger.”
“I’m not a stranger, I’m Santa.”
Boy, this guy really gets into his role. “Anyway, Santa. I’m fine.”
“Yes.” Macey became annoyed as Santa continued to prod her.
“There’s no reason to be down, it’s Christmas.”
Again with the holiday spirit crap. “Look, I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s just a stupid holiday.”
“To you it may be just a dumb holiday. But to others, it’s a special time of year.”
“What’s so special about it?” Macey crossed her arms. “All people do is put up ugly Christmas decorations, wear stupid holiday shirts, and sing horrendous carols.”
Santa had a sad look on his face.
Macey looked at the man. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” Pangs of guilt flooded her. “I’m…I…I don’t…maybe you’re right I have lost my holiday spirit.”
“It’s not too late to get it back.”
Macey slouched her shoulder.
“I understand you’re getting older and the holidays may not seem like much. But to others it does. Just like your mom.”
Macey turned to him.
“Christmas is her favorite holiday. She loves decorating, cooking, and spending time with you and Caleb.”
Even though Macey was alarmed he knew so much about her family, she couldn’t stop listening.
“She feels like she’s losing you. That you’re not interested in spending time with the family no more.”
Macey’s guilt increased. She didn’t realize how selfish she had been. All this time, she was texting her friends claiming she was bored. Yet, she was missing out on this special outing with her mom and brother.
“Friends will come and go, but family will be with you forever.”
Macey thought long and hard about Santa’s words, he was right. Brenda did a lot for Macey and Caleb. Instead of being grateful, Macey acted like a brat. Christmas was her mom’s favorite holiday, and Macey was about to ruin it for her.
Macey looked around once more at the tourists. Everyone had a smile on their faces. That’s what the holidays were supposed to be about. Being with your loved ones and having fun.
“Thanks for your help, Santa.” Macey turned to find an empty space. “Where did he go?” There was no way he could’ve left without her knowing. She glanced around the park, yet didn’t see any sign of the mysterious Santa.
Macey didn’t know what to make of the mysterious stranger, yet she was grateful for his advice.
Glancing at the clock, she saw where it was ten minutes til one. Almost time for the light show. Macey was about to head to the show, when she decided to make a detour to the gift shop.
Strolling through the aisle, Macey picked out a stuffed moose for Caleb. Then she tried to find a present for her mom. She wanted something unique, something that fit Brenda’s cheery personality.
The song We Wish You A Merry Christmas filled the air. Macey followed the sound to the other side of the shelves. The sound was coming from a decoration. Four blue birds were standing in front of a snow-covered house. When you pressed the button, they sung an assortment of Christmas carols.
The bird decoration was perfect for her mother.
After paying for her purchase, Macey walked towards the outdoor stadium. She spotted Brenda and Caleb at the snack stand, and joined them.
“Macey, you made it.” Caleb jumped from excitement.
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything.” Macey picked up her brother to give him a hug. “After the light show, maybe we can go on the carousel.”
“Can we?” Caleb pleaded with his mother.
“Sure.” Brenda paid for their snacks, then the three of them headed to their seats. As they were walking, Brenda spotted Macey’s bag. “What’s in there?”
“It’s a surprise.” Macey switched the bag to her other hand so Brenda couldn’t see.
“You seem like you’re in a better mood.”
“Let’s just say I learned about the true meaning of Christmas.” Macey wrapped her arm around her mother’s shoulders, while her other was nestled in Caleb’s small hand.
This is what Christmas was about. Enjoying every moment with family.