The Christmas Socks

A special visitor bounced into my office. It was not one of my usual constituents. No, this individual was much shorter, more enthusiastic and markedly more open than the customers who darken my office door on a regular basis. Seven year old Autumn had brought me some of her holiday art work. She reached into her tote bag, pulled out a sheet of paper and proudly presented a colorful crayon picture of a Christmas stocking. Next to the stocking she had written “To Mrs. Willig   FROM Autumn”. Since she is presently learning cursive writing in her second grade class, the words were carefully and laboriously formed in script. For her writing implement she had selected orange Crayola. There were some flourishes at the end of her name; creative license at its finest.

Naturally, she expected this masterpiece would be given a high profile display spot.  We selected my office door right at 7 year-old eye level. The stocking was affixed to its place of honor with the obligatory pieces of Scotch tape.  Satisfied with that procedure, Autumn turned her attention to the next subject, her list for Santa.

We discussed her concerns over whether or not she had been good enough this year to warrant Santa’s largesse. After confessing a few things she had done to her most annoying little brother, she finally decided that over all, yes, she did deserve the presents she had requested. We went on to discuss what kind of cookies she plans to make and leave out for Santa. With a glass of milk, of course.

Then she turned her gaze to me, suddenly somber. Had I been good enough that Santa would slide down my chimney to leave presents for me, she asked. I paused, giving her query the gravity it deserved.  We discussed my 2014 behavior a bit before her face relaxed. “Then Santa will probably bring you some presents”, but she did not look all that convinced. Then for the 64-dollar question; exactly what had been on the list I had submitted to the Big Guy?  “Christmas socks”, I blurted…Her little brow furrowed and she pursed her lips. “Wellllll…”, she finally offered, “We never know for sure until we wake up Christmas morning… but I really hope he brings you those socks.”

She went on her way soon after that, but on Friday afternoon she returned. I saw her coming down the hall; a 40 pound dynamo of energy. She was fairly bouncing up and down with excitement, and her grin was a mile wide.  Clutched in her hand was a small and slightly mangled holiday gift bag which she proudly handed across the desk to me.  “Open it! Open it!”, she squealed. Clearly, I wasn’t moving nearly fast enough to suit her.

Beneath the wadded-up tissue paper at the top of the bag lay a pair of Christmas socks. “Aren’t you EXCITED????”, she cried.  “I was worried that you hadn’t been good enough this year. That maybe Santa would fly right over your house and give your socks to somebody else. So I wanted to bring you your socks JUST IN CASE!!”

There is nothing quite like the infectious enthusiasm of a seven year old worried that Rudolph and the team would pass her friend by when the big night arrived.

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