(orinially run December, 2007)
© Stephenie B. Freeman
‘Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through the land
The parents were trying to meet their kids’ every demand.
The lists had been written, on Santa’s lap they had sat
They knew exactly what they wanted, there was no denying that.
Their stockings won’t be big enough to hold all of their stuff
Looking at everything I’ve bought, it certainly seemed like enough.
But then the Sunday paper comes with all of its flyers
Who knew they could attract so many young buyers.
The reminders how constant, the lists how they grow
How children get this greedy, we parents will never know.
So with the children at home being watched by a sitter
I left to go shopping—no time to be a quitter.
Away to the mall I flew like a flash
Tore through the toy store wishing I had brought some more cash.
Then what to my wondrous eyes should appear
But the last gift I needed—a talking Buzz Lightyear.
With a small yellow tag, marked down to a cheaper price
Finding something on sale during Christmas definitely felt nice.
More rapid than eagles I flew to the checkout line
It was starting to get late, almost a quarter past nine.
The line barely moved as I continued to wait
Seems that someone needed a price check for a toy on aisle eight.
Looking at the parent in front of me, I couldn’t believe what I saw
A cart piled with toys reaching at least three feet tall!
There were Legos, and board games, and Star Wars galore
More Barbies and Webkins than any girl could ask for.
“Wow,” I said. “Someone at your house has been good.
Your kids are sure lucky. Mine tried the best they could.”
“Oh no,” she replied. “These aren’t for me.
These toys are for kids who won’t get anything under their tree.
I volunteer at a local shelter. It’s a wonderful place.
It’s so rewarding to bring a smile to a child’s young face.”
“We do this every year,” she told me. “My kids and I.
It’s best to teach about giving when it’s for someone less fortunate you buy.”
I thought for a moment about the greedy munchkins living at my house
And suddenly I felt no bigger than a mouse.
The lessons at my house that had been taught
Were about how the better you are, the more you got.
Topics like being generous I had forgotten to mention
Lessons on giving back hadn’t gotten much attention.
At last checking out, with the toys in my sack
I started to wonder how my family could give back.
I walked past a bell ringer on my way out the door
I gave the last of my change, but knew I needed to do more.
I said not a word, just sat in my car feeling sick
Knowing I needed to think up something and think it up quick.
“You could do the same thing,” a voice whispered in my head.
I suddenly felt relieved and had nothing to dread.
There was still time to do it, to teach the power of giving
We would head to the shelter so my kids could see how other people were living.
So the next day we headed out, with our car loaded with toys
Some for girls, but a lot more for little boys.
“We’re taking them to kids,” I told them, “who don’t have very much–
Special things like skateboards and Play Stations and Gameboys and such.
There are children in this world whose blessings are few.
I bet that is something that you never knew.”
“But why,” my son asked, “are we giving this all away?”
I suddenly knew that this lesson would take more than just one day.
Arriving at the shelter we went straight to work
I unloaded the car and then turned with a jerk.
A man working there thanked us, I said I hoped we could do more
And wished them all a Merry Christmas as we headed out the door.
But I heard the little voice in my head say as I drove out of sight,
“Good job, Mama! You’ll sleep better tonight!”