It was Christmas Eve, 1958, when I met Santa Claus, the real Santa Claus, and discovered the real magic of Christmas. I was eight years old.
Winter arrives that October on a wild and chilly wind. By November, my big sister Evvie and I have to bundle up to get to school. It's on a Saturday early in December that I decide that I am going to see Santa Claus in our living room during the magical time that I am sure begins at midnight on Christmas Eve. I have many questions I want to ask him, and I've decided to give him a gift. He's brought me lots of wonderful presents over the years, and I want to give him something. Something more than the cookies and milk or cocoa that everyone leaves for him. And I have a favor to ask him, too. But it's not for me, it's for my best friend Sarah. Her father is very sick, and I'm going to ask Santa to make him well again. She doesn't want any toys or anything, all she wants is the dad she used to have when he wasn't sick.
Evvie laughs at me. "You're too old to believe in Santa Claus," she says. "You know it's just Mom or Dad writing from Santa instead of from one of them. Have we ever gotten a present from someone we didn't know?"
I just look at her for a long time. Then I say, "What about the snow globe?" and Evvie gets quiet. It happened two years ago, when we were opening our presents on Christmas morning. I found a package that said, "To Tess from Santa. Merry Christmas."
The tag didn't look like the ones we'd used on our other gifts. It was plain white, with a small gold star on it. The paper didn't look like our paper, either. Inside was a wonderful snow globe. But when I tried to thank Mom and Dad, they said they hadn't bought it. Neither had Evvie, neither had our grandparents. It was a true gift from Santa himself.
Will Tess find the real magic of Christmas, and have a chance to give Santa his gift? Will the Christmas magic touch Sarah's father, and help him get well? Christmas is certainly a magical time, and sometimes miracles do happen, if you truly believe.