The little girl had been allowed to stay at home. It was the night before Christmas and she could hardly contain her excitement. It was only going to be a few hours before Santa Clause arrived and left wonderful gifts for her.
She carefully hung her stocking over the fireplace in hopes of the next morning, finding it filled with candy canes and goodies. On the outside, she pinned a note saying, “Dear Santa. I have been a good little girl.”
After she went to her room, she stood on a chair at the window, straining her eyes to see if she could catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer. She truly believed and listened intently for the sound of sleigh bells.
Suddenly, she remembered that Santa didn’t come to houses if the children were still awake, so she crawled into her bed and quickly fell asleep.
The next morning when she awoke, she ran into the living room. Santa had been there! There were presents under the tree and the stockings were full! When she took down her stocking, she was overjoyed when she saw a note from Santa!
As she read the note, tears filled her eyes. The note said, “Santa doesn’t come to see bad little girls.” When she looked in her stocking, she saw that it was filled with pieces of coal.
She watched her sisters and brother squeal with delight as they opened their presents. The little girl was sad but she didn’t get angry. She just made herself a silent promise that next year, she would try to be a better little girl.
The next Christmas Eve came and once again, she was allowed to go home. She was filled with the same excitement as before. When she hung her stocking over the fireplace, she pinned a note on it saying, “Dear Santa. I have tried to be a better little girl.”
The next morning, she could see that Santa had been there. There were presents and the stockings had been filled. As she took hers down, she saw another note. It said, “Santa doesn’t visit bad little girls.” Again, she watched her sisters and brother open their presents with unabashed joy. Again, she made to herself the same silent promise.
When she went to school, her friends asked what she got for Christmas. She said “I got glorious presents!” When Suzy asked her to tell her what she got, she said “I got the most beautiful porcelain doll. She has long blonde curls and she’s dressed in silk and velvet!” Suzy asked her to bring it to school so that she could see it. The little girl said “oh, no. I mustn’t. I might drop her and break her.”
Lilly asked if she got any new clothes. The little girl said “oh, yes. I got five dresses and a new coat!” When Lilly asked her to wear the dresses, she said “oh, no. I mustn’t. I might get them dirty!”
Lilly said “but you should wear your new coat because the one you have on is full of holes.” The little girl said “oh, no. I mustn’t. I might tear it and then it too, would be full of holes.”
The other children showed off their new dolls and clothes and toys but she just smiled and again, made the same silent promise. “Next year, I’m going to try to be an even better little girl.”
Throughout the years, her phantom presents became more and more grand and the excuses for their invisibility became more and more elaborate. As she grew older, she never failed to pin a note to her stocking saying, “Dear Santa. I’ve tried to be a good person.”
She still believed that this magical night was the one time when reindeer could fly. She still believed that this was the one night when miracles could happen. Even though one had never happened for her, she never lost hope. Every year, she continued to hang her stocking and every year, she continued to make the same silent promise.
She’s an old woman now and on Christmas Eve, she hangs her stocking over the fireplace. When she awakes the next morning, it’s empty and she carefully removes the note she pinned to it the night before. She isn’t sad as she puts it away for the next year.
She just makes the same silent promise. “Next year, I’ll try to be an even better person.”