Holiday Memories is a month long series of heartwarming holiday stories from authors all over the world. We at As the Pages Turn hope you will enjoy and have a happy holiday full of good and happy memories!
The Night Santa Tiptoed
by Juanita Salazar Lamb
I was seven years old and it was the last Christmas I would believe in Santa for many years to come. We were living in “La Colonia”, the projects in Oxnard, California. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and rolling over in bed, causing the rusted iron frame of my cot to squeak and screech as I tried to find a comfortable spot on the sagging mattress. I heard the tip-toeing of footsteps across bare linoleum from the living room to the bottom of the staircase, where they stopped for a minute, then retreated. I could see the glow of a light from downstairs, and knew with all my heart that Santa was busy laying out our Christmas presents. I jiggled around in bed to make it squeak again, testing my theory of who the footsteps belonged to. Sure enough, once again I heard the tiptoeing come to the bottom of the stairs, where they stopped then retreated. I wanted so much to go down and see Santa, but I also knew he would disappear if I saw his face. And what if he hadn’t laid out my presents yet? We didn’t have a chimney and I figured he wouldn’t want to get caught up in the power lines that rang along the roof tops, so I just knew Santa had parked his sleigh in the little patch of backyard next to the clothesline, but not too close to the garbage can. The bedroom I shared with my sister faced the front, and my brothers’ bedroom looked out over the backyard. How I wanted to go into their room and see Santa’s sleigh, but just that afternoon my brothers had threatened me with my life if I EVER went into their room again. What a dilemma: get to see Santa’s sleigh but not live to open presents; or never see his sleigh but get to enjoy Christmas morning? Before I could make a decision I fell back asleep, dreaming of what Santa would leave for me under the tree.
Juanita Salazar Lamb is a member of the Latino Writers Collective who once again believes in Santa. Her most recent stories are included in the anthology “Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland”. She is currently working on a novel.