The Tumbleweed; a Christmas Story
Many years ago, when my son was 4 and I was struggling to make ends meet, I couldn’t afford a tree for Christmas. I was so distraught, and felt like a failure not being able to get a tree for my precious boy. At that time there were no charities that gave out trees and gifts for the financially challenged, and I was way too proud to go to my parents for help.
On the evening of the 23rd, on my way home from work at a guest ranch in a small Wyoming town, the largest tumbleweed I had ever seen blew across the road in front of me. Inspiration fell upon me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I knew I had to have that tumbleweed! I pulled my pick-up over to the side of the road, and chased the tumbleweed to a snaggled end at a barbed wire fence. Wresting my prize from the fence, I realized the tumbleweed was a full 6 feet in diameter and at least 4 feet tall. After depositing my new found friend in the camper-covered bed of my old pick-up, I sped home.
Both the babysitter and my son looked at me as if I had lost my mind when I brought the giant ball of tangles into the house. I hurriedly paid the sitter, and fed my son dinner. After putting him to bed, I took the tumbleweed downstairs and spray-painted it gloss red. I left it to dry overnight.
Christmas Eve was usually a big day in my family and I wanted it to be good for my son too. After breakfast I brought the shiny, bright transformed tumbleweed upstairs to decorate it for our tree. I dropped little blinky lights into the glossy globe and handed my son a box of foil tinsle, which he proceeded to throw at the tumbleweed. He was ecstatic! What fun he had tossing the shiny, slick stuff at the tumbleweed, me, the cat, and even on the windowsills.
Laughing and playing and having fun, my son didn’t know that we were really broke, and that Santa probably wouldn’t make it to our house. The doorbell rang. I opened the door to find my dad standing there with several boxes of food and wrapped packages for us. My son ran excitedly to his beloved granddad, and pulled him to see the “Christmas weed” as he called it. Smiling and giggly my son gave his granddad a hand full of tinsle and showed him how to throw it. My dear dad turned to me with tears running down his face, and said he didn’t realize how strapped we were, but was proud of me for finding something for my most loved son.
Now, many years later, we still talk of the “Christmas weed” and how it brought my son, my dad and me closer together. It’s my fondest Christmas memory.
— Submitted by Renee McCarty.
Yes, Virgina, There is a Santa Claus
“Is There a Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over a New York Sun editorial on September 21, 1897. Written by Francis Pharcellus Church the response has become a part of the Christmas Holiday. “Yes, Virginia” has become a well-known phrase when answering a question. Here we reprint the entire letter and the reply for you to enjoy…”Yes, Virginia, it is all reprinted here”:
“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.