Christmas Memories
by Linda McKenney

It’s the first Christmas since my divorce. I have very little money to spend. Wait, I have no money to spend! I can’t afford to purchase a tree, so my teenage son sneaks up into the woods at the end of our street and cuts one down. I know it’s illegal, but I accept his attempt to make things as normal as possible.

My children leave on Christmas Eve to spend it with their father. While they are gone, I carefully wrap their gifts. Underwear and socks are the main staple, as practicality reigns. When they return, my youngest daughter has a ten-speed bike. Before the divorce, her father and I had agreed that she was too young for this large bike. Now I imagine his gloat on having the ability to give her such an extravagant gift.

She is all excited. I burst into tears. I convince her that it’s because I’m happy for her. I’ve vowed to never disparage their father to them.

On Christmas morning, when they all open their underwear, they act as happy as if it were a ten-speed bike. Sometimes pretending is the kindest, most generous gift we can give.

PHOTO: The boy who stole a Christmas tree from a Christmas before he ever knew he would need to do such a thing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McKenney has been writing for most of her 68 years, most recently experimenting with creative nonfiction. She’s a Life Coach and Speaker, and on a never-ending journey of self-discovery. She has over 100 Santa Claus figures and decorations.   Because she believes.