As has become a Christmas tradition at The House on the Hill, I awakened to discover no presents waiting for me.
I’ve gotten used to this scenario over the years, but it doesn’t make it sting any less. After all, it is Christmas, and it’s nice to have something to open on the holiday.
This year, things were a little different, though, in that there was a blizzard blasting Maine with snow and making it a White Christmas. As I watched the near whiteout conditions from the living room, a thought hit me..
What if Santa Claus had accidentally left my presents in the driveway, and they were now buried under all that snow?
It made perfect sense. I’d been really good this year, so the odds of my being on the Naughty List were slim to none.
I’d written several letters to Santa making him aware of what I wanted, and giving him clear directions to The House on the Hill.
There was no way he could have forgotten me this year.
Obviously, my presents were out there and I needed to rescue them from the storm’s wrath! And from the looks of things, I had to begin my treasure hunt immediately.
So I charged up the stairs with the same excitement I used to have when charging down the stairs as a kid on Christmas morning.
I felt like Indiana Jones, only this time, the unearthed treasure would not need to be turned over to a museum for all to enjoy.
Santa’s Lost Treasure would be mine.
All I had to do was find it.
I shoveled like my belief in the magic of Christmas and the existence of Santa Claus depended on it.
The snow was coming down pretty hard, but I didn’t let that stop me.
This was going to be the first Christmas in a very long time that I was actually going to have presents to open.
Come to think of it, I truly can’t recall the last time I had anything waiting for me, other than a broken heart and crushed dreams on December 25.
Every time my shovel hit blacktop, rather than pay dirt, I moved to a new section of the driveway. The presents were there, but without the proper equipment to search beneath all that snow, I was digging blind.
And I was still without presents.
My nose was frozen and my cheeks were as red as Santa’s suit.
If Santa actually existed.
To make matters worse, as if there’s anything worse than being alone and without presents on Christmas, the storm picked up in ferocity. While I wanted to continue to dig, moving next to the front lawn, and then on to the neighbors’ property if necessary, conditions were approaching a dangerous level.
I was going to have to abandon the Hunt for Santa’s Buried Treasure.
Not because I had stopped believing it was out there.
But because I couldn’t risk losing some fingers and toes to prove my faith in Christmas, Santa Claus, and the idea that there is a reward for those who are good all year.
I radioed back to base camp that I was on my way home.
Of course, no one answered.
Maybe after the storm subsides tonight, I’ll bundle up again, grab my shovel, and try to renew my belief in the magic of Christmas.
Or I might just face the reality that Christmas is not a holiday for everyone.
And I remember myself mumbling, as I took off my gear, This Christmas sucked, but there’s always next year…