Joy’s tour with Santa shows her the jolly one’s treasures

Editor’s note: This is the sixth of a 12-chapter holiday tale running daily until Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to their children.

“Hey, that’s me!” Joy shouted, pointing at the large round object floating in front of her on a shelf. She peered closer into the globe as the image inside stared back, almost like she was looking into a mirror.

She slowly pressed her hand against the surface of the globe, but it fell straight through. Joy waved her hand in and out of the globe a few times, her hand sliding right through the image, and looked to Santa, confused.

“I don’t understand,” she said quietly. “What is all this?”

She craned her head to the side, the ceiling, and to the other side, trying to find an ending to the images. There was none in sight.

Santa smiled, burying his hands in his pockets as he watched the Joy in the snow globe for a moment before focusing on the real one.

“Like you said before, Joy Noelle. Magic,” he replied with a wink.

“Come, follow me,” he said as he started to walk down the hall.

Joy followed, and as they walked the images seemed to change as if they were passing into new rooms, but they weren’t. They never reached the end of the hall no matter how long they walked, but the globes, mirrors, and ornaments moved in front of them.

“I’m sure you can understand, Joy Noelle, I’m quite a busy man. I have a lot of responsibility. I’ve been here a long, long time. Sometimes I forget things. Important things. “

He pointed at some of the mirrors scattered about. “So these hold memories for me. Things I know I might need again, things I don’t want to lose.”

Next, he pointed to the shiny Christmas bulbs. “These are my favorite; they hold the hopes and dreams of children everywhere. See how quickly they change and how many children you see in each of them? They help me be creative in the things I can do for them, as well as maybe give a little inspiration here and there.” He winked at her and his eyes twinkled.

Joy stared into a giant green bulb, one showing the image of a little boy swinging on a playground, then changing rapidly to him treating a puppy in an animal hospital. Another showed a girl pretending she was an astronaut who was the first to drive a car on the moon.

Santa chuckled behind Joy. “One of the world’s greatest gifts is a child’s imagination, as well as the children themselves and all who care for them.”

Joy bit her lip and looked down her feet. “That’s not true. I’m not a special gift, Santa. No one’s ever wanted me.”

“Oh, my sweet Joy Noelle.” He put an arm around her and led her back to the sitting room’s cozy chairs. “There is a perfect time and a perfect reason for everything. You are exactly where you are meant to be at this moment! You have to have faith. You have to believe.”

“Believe in what?” she snapped, and she sunk down in her chair, realizing she’d sounded rude when she hadn’t meant to be.

He looked at her over his glasses and leaned forward.

“Believe in me. Believe in yourself. In everything.”

Joy crossed her arms and sighed. “I don’t know what to believe. A little bit ago I didn’t believe in any of this. But now you’re real, and I just feel…confused.”

Santa stroked his beard. “You’ve seen inside the mirrors and the ornaments — they show the past and the future. But the globes show the present happenings of every child in the world. They are the most important of the three.”

“Every so often, a child will catch my eye, one who needs me most. And so I bring them here so we’re able to help each other.”

Joy frowned. “But I can’t be helpful somewhere like here. I haven’t had any Christmas spirit in a long time.”

“Ah, but Joy Noelle, you can!” Santa exclaimed. “You already have been. You solved the problem of the nutcrackers! And let me tell you a secret.”

He leaned in close again and Joy did the same.

“Every single child is born with Christmas spirit, some just need a little help finding it. And you have more reason than many to be filled with Christmas spirit.”

“What do you mean?”

He smiled. “Would you like me to tell you about the day you were born?”

“The day I was born?” Joy asked in surprise. “But how would you know that?”

“It’s one of my fondest memories of Christmas mornings. You see, I was there.”

Read the next installment on Page 1B of Wednesday’s Tribune Chronicle.

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