outpouring – noun
1 : an act of expressing an emotion or feeling in a very powerful way — often + of
2 : a large amount of something that is given or received in a short period of time — often + of
Holly was sad. Her letter to Santa was returned without a postmark on it. It was wrinkled, and mangled, with paw prints all over it. The paw prints confused her but she was pretty sure her big brother Logan, had taken the letter out of the mailbox before the mailman came.
Christmas was less than a week away. Even if she mailed the letter today, Santa would never get it in time. Her only choice was to write her letter in the snow and hope Santa would see it early enough Christmas Eve.
Outside in an open space between their front yard and Findley Forest, Holly roped off a large rectangle in the snow. She took her mother’s holly garland off the deck and the front porch for the border of the message. Inside the rectangle, she smoothed the snow with her sled, making a blank plot to write in. Her message was simple:
“Whatcha doing Holly?” Logan sauntered up to the carefully plotted message.
“Go away Logan!” Holly said. “You stole my letter to Santa out of the mailbox and gave it to the neighbors cat.” She refused to look at him, tears ready to spill over.
“What? I did not!” Logan’s face turned pink. “Why would I give it to the neighbor’s cat? That doesn’t make sense.”
“So you did take it!” Holly stood up, indignant.
“No. I didn’t. And if you’re going to accuse me of stealing, I won’t ask you to go sledding.” Logan turned toward home.
Holly sighed. Maybe Logan didn’t take my letter, she thought.
“You really didn’t take it?”
“I’m sorry. My letter came back today and it looked like this.” She showed him the still sealed letter.
“That’s weird. So what are you going to do now?” Logan asked.
Holly opened her arms wide revealing her finished message.
“I hope Santa gets here first on
Christmas Eve, so he sees it in time,” Logan said.
“Me too. Can I still go sledding?”
On December 21st, Holly awoke with a great idea! She gathered the cranberry Christmas garland off the Christmas tree, bundled up and ran out into the windy morning to add to her Santa message.
“OH NO!” Holly cried. Her message to Santa was gone. The wind had blown snow across it. She tried to write the message again but the wind kept filling in her letters. She ran into the house, and smacked into Logan, tears streaming down her face.
“What’s wrong Holly?” he asked.
“I can help.” Logan bundled up, grabbed a bucket of water and said, “Follow me.”
“As I pour water into the snow, write your message, the snow will be stickier and the wind can’t blow it away as you write it.”
Holly agreed. Logan poured, Holly wrote. Every few letters, Logan ran back to the house for more water. Each time, Holly cleared the snow out of her letters that the wind had blown in.
When she was finished writing, she helped him mound up snow around each letter.
Satisfied with their work, Holly ran into the house to get her forgotten cranberries.
“What are you doing with those young lady?” her mother asked.
Her mother smiled, “Go ahead then.”
She gave Logan some cranberries and instructed him to place them in the letters to help the letters stand out more.
When they finished, they helped their mother bake cookies inside.
While Holly and Logan were cutting out cookies, their mother snuck away to tell their father about the snowy message.
Bright and early on Christmas Eve, Holly and Logan bundled up and ran outside to check on their message to Santa.
“Oh no!” they cried. The letters were trounced upon, no longer letters and the cranberries were all missing. Various animal tracks littered the snowy rectangle, leading back to the forest.
“What are we going to do now, Logan?” Holly asked. She couldn’t be angry with the animals because she knew they only wanted the cranberries to eat. The animals had no way of knowing that they were trying to save the animals’ home.
“Well we don’t have any more cranberries, but we can rewrite the message.”
But the snow had turned icy.
“I’m sorry Holly.” Logan led her into the house.
Hot chocolate chip waffles waited for them in the kitchen.
“Why the long faces?” their mother asked.
Holly explained and concluded, “It’s no use. Santa will never know what I truly want for Christmas and the forest will be cut down to make wood.”
“Finish eating and meet your father and me in the garage. But bundle up first,” their mother said.
They met their parents in the garage. Their father was holding his paint gun, their mother, a rake and a large bag of corn which she handed to Logan.
“Follow us,” their father said.
He led them to their special message spot.
“The holly garland looks good out here,” their mother said, smiling. “I’ll rake, Logan you smooth the snow, and Holly, you tell your Dad, slowly, what to write.”
Each family member did as instructed. When they were finished, the message said:
“We have more to do,” said their father. “We’ll make corn mounds near the forest for the animals to eat so they stay away from this message.”
On Christmas morning, a thunk hit their front door. It was a special newspaper edition. The front headline read,
Below it was a photo with this caption:
Local children have a message for Santa and it’s not about gifts for them.
The article went on to say that the editor received so many letters and phone calls about saving Findley Forest, the day after the photo originally printed December 22, that she had no choice but to take the letters to the Mayor and forward all calls to the Mayor. Not wanting to risk losing the next election, the Mayor rescinded the agreement with a logging company to cut down Findley Forest, bit by bit.
“Look at this!” Logan showed his family the last photo on the front page. Too excited to bundle up, they rushed outside to see for themselves.
Surrounding their message to Santa were animal prints and a large mound of corn.
Holly beamed, shivered, and shouted out to the animals, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
This Christmas story is my Christmas gift to you. I hope you enjoyed reading it.