Darlene Foster's Blog

A Christmas Story

Posted on: December 13, 2020

Some of you may have read this story before. It is included in an anthology of winning stories and poetry from twelve authors who took part in Stevie Turner’s ‘Share Your Short Story’ monthly writing competition, which ran from October 2017 to February 2020 on Stevie’s WordPress blog. All royalties from book sales are donated to Cancer Research.

The Bright Lights of Christmas by Darlene Foster

Ten presents this year, the best year ever. Cory Henderson’s eyes sparkled as he dropped to his knees and studied his precious pile of parcels wrapped in festive paper. Santa Clauses, reindeer and snowmen smiled back at him as he pulled out his gifts and lined them up. His mother wanted him to go to bed, but he continued to count his gifts under the tall Christmas tree covered in a profusion of bright lights and glittering ornaments.

“Just a few more minutes, please Mom,” he begged, excited as most nine-year-olds on Christmas Eve.

He counted the packages once more while arranging them under the tree with care. One from Uncle Bob; he always gave good gifts, usually something to do with sports. Two from Grandma and Grandpa; always the best because they seemed to know exactly what he wanted the most. One from Mom and one from Dad; since he´d thrown some pretty good hints around the last two months, some super stuff from his list were sure to be in those packages. One from his older brother, Scott, away studying in China; he always sent cool stuff. The old couple across the street, who he did errands for, dropped off a small package. One from Aunt Margaret and Uncle Joe, another from his cousins Jim and Jeff and an odd shaped one from his best friend, Jerry. Yup, ten presents for him to open tomorrow morning.

He wasn´t sure he would be able to sleep at all when his mother finally convinced him to go to bed. But, a bright light in his window woke him up from a dream of opening hundreds of presents. At first, he thought it was a light from Santa’s sleigh. Then, he thought a space ship might be nearby. Getting out of bed and tiptoeing to the window, he could see it was not Santa’s sleigh or a spaceship causing the bright light. Flames engulfed the house next-door. Never having seen a fire that close before, he found it scary and exciting at the same time. Mesmerized, Cory stared at the brilliant flames leaping out of the roof.

All of a sudden, he remembered that two little boys lived in that house. The family moved in two months ago. They came from another country, spoke with an accent and kept to themselves. The boys were younger than him, about five and seven.

Maybe the people were still in the house. His tummy did a flip-flop. Just as he heard the wail of fire trucks, he saw two hooded figures run out of the front door. As they reached the sidewalk, he realized two adults covered with blankets, carried a child each. The blankets appeared to be wet when they dropped to the ground. The family stood shivering in their pajamas, staring at their home ablaze.

Cory ran out of his room calling, “Mom! Dad!”

His parents, already up, frantically pulled coats out of the closet.

His dad threw a jacket his way. “Hurry, put this on and go outside. And stay well away from the fire.”

By the time they got outside, the fire department arrived. In no time, long hoses sprayed water onto the flames. Cory’s mom handed out warm coats. He noticed the little boys wearing his parkas from last year and the year before. Even with them on, they shivered.

Heavy smoke filled the air. It smelt weird. Kind of like the time his mom burnt the chicken and the smoke alarm went off. Soon the fire was under control and it started to snow.

“Mom,” said Cory, “maybe we should all go into our house and get warm.”

His mom nodded and motioned everyone to follow her.

She made hot chocolate and put out gingerbread cookies they made the day before. The neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Zafrani, spoke quietly. The boys, Omar and Jamal, didn’t say anything. Their large brown eyes stared at the big Christmas tree covered with twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. Beds were made up for everyone, the little boys in his brother’s room and their parents in the spare room. As the boys were about to go to bed for the remainder of the night, they took one more look at the tree and cried.

“There, there,” said their mother as she hugged them. “Don’t cry. At least we are all safe and warm.” She thanked Cory and his parents and they all went to bed.

Cory felt a sick feeling in his stomach. Christmas Eve and their tree and all their gifts probably burnt. They would have no presents to open in the morning. How awful. He tossed and turned in his bed. How would he feel if it happened to him? Now he really couldn’t sleep and no longer looked forward to the morning either. How could he open all those gifts when they had nothing?

Then, he had an idea, jumped out of bed and put on the light. He pulled out some coloured paper, a pair of scissors and Christmas stickers from his desk drawer. Two gift tags made, he wrote Omar on one and Jamal on the other. He stopped for a minute and then made two more. Tiptoeing into the dark living room, he pulled out four of his gifts from under the tree. Without looking at the tags, he replaced them with the new tags. Corey went back to bed and fell asleep with a smile on his face.

The next thing he heard was his mom saying, “Wake up. It’s Christmas morning. Omar and Jamal are up already.”

Cory never slept in on Christmas morning. He ran into the living room. Dad had plugged in the lights on the tree and turned on the fire in the fireplace. The room looked cozy and warm. Jamal and Omar stared at the tree as if they had never seen one before. Cory reached under the tree.

His mom gasped and said, “Maybe we could wait to open the gifts.”

Ignoring her, he handed a gift to each of the spellbound boys.

The oldest boy read out his tag. “To Jamal. From Santa.” His eyes grew wider.

“Open it,” said Cory, hardly able to contain his excitement.

Jamal carefully removed the wrapping from his gift as if he were undressing a baby. His round face beamed when he discovered a PlayStation.

His dad looked at Cory and raised his eyebrows. He turned to Omar holding onto his gift like it would disappear if he loosened his grip. “Don’t you want to see what is in your package?”

The young boy ripped the package open and produced a huge smile as he pulled out a baseball glove. “I love to play baseball!” He slid his left hand in and punched his right fist into the mitt.

Cory’s mom looked over at her son with tears in her eyes. “I think you deserve to open one of your presents, dear.”

Fun and laughter filled the rest of the morning. Cory loved all six of his gifts, but he would never forget the smiles on the faces of those little boys as they discovered gifts under the bright, shiny tree for them.

He learned the real meaning of Christmas that year.

Check out the book for other winning stories.


Have you written a Christmas story or post you would like to share? If you have it on your blog, share the link in the comments.

Text and Image copyright © 2020 Darlene Foster  – All Rights Reserved

103 Responses to "A Christmas Story"

Riveting story with a terrific message, and so glad that proceeds were for a good cause1. Bravo to all who took part!

Thanks, John. Pleased you liked the story.

I LOVED this story – it brings out the quintessential meaning of the Christmas spirit. All the very best of this festive season, my friend!

I am so glad you loved the story. Wishing you a wonderful time as we celebrate joy, love and peace. xo

What a touching story. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Darlene, and Merry Christmas!

That means a lot to me, Christa. Merry Christmas to you as well. xo

A truly lovely story, Darlene.

A lovely story, Darlene, with a message we should all keep to.

What a heart-warming story! Lovely!

Pleased you enjoyed it, Anne. Maybe you can read it to Logan. xo

What a great idea! We do various things when he comes over, and sometimes he reads to John. Your story would be excellent for that. Logan reads at a much higher level than children his age. Thank you very much for the suggestion.

I would love to hear what he thinks about the story. He seems like an incredible young man.

Logan was taken away from his mother by the state when he was two years old. Shawn and Bob fostered him until his mother failed to get her life in order and agreed for him to be adopted. He is very bright.

Logan read your story to himself on Christmas Day and liked it. I think he would have been much more enthusiastic without an audience. I asked him to read a bit aloud for me to record. He was so quick to start that I missed his reading the name of the story and the author. His mother took the sheets and scanned the story quickly, saying it was lovely. Thank you very much for suggesting that he read it. It added a lot to his celebration of the day.

I think Logan would have behaved just like Cory in a similar situation. I’m glad he enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know. xo

A lovely story, Darlene. Thank you for sharing it!

Thanks for your story, Darlene, and for giving the book a shout -out. Happy Christmas!

You´re welcome. Thanks for putting it together. Happy Christmas to you and your family as well.

This is such a touching story. Thank you for sharing it. I can’t help but think that Cory was once one of Jennie Fitzkee’s Aqua Roomers.

He could well have been. Glad you enjoyed the story.

A sweet story and that is what the true spirit of Christmas is all about.

Thanks, Karen. Sometimes it takes a child to get it.

A truly lovely story, Darlene 🙂

Thanks, Anne. Pleased you liked it.

Lovely, Darlene.

Thanks, Ruth. Wishing you and your family a Merry Cristmas!

Thank you, Darlene. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, too.

This is a wonderful Christmas story.

How wonderful. What a heart- warming story. Loved it Darlene. x

Thanks. So pleased you loved it. xo

I did. All the best to you and your family this Christmas Darlene. Xx

Way to go, Darlene. You made me cry with this one- beautifully written ❤

How sweet of you to say that. Thanks. xo

Darlene, this is beautiful. The real meaning of Christmas indeed! ❤

I'd love if you visited this post of mine, where I stopped being a Scrooge (lol): https://jenniferkellandperry.com/2014/12/08/christmas-renewed/

Thanks so much, Jennifer. Your post was lovely too. We didn’t have much money but my mom always made sure we had a nice Christmas. And it was her birthday on Christmas day too! She’ll be 92 on December 25th.

Ah, bless her! My mother-in-law turned 91 in September.
We didn’t have much money either, but we hardly noticed. 🙂

This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story.

Thanks, I´m pleased the story touched you.

Beautifully done, Darlene.

Oh my goodness, your story brought tears to my eyes, so sweet! Merry Christmas, Darlene!

I am so pleased the story stirred some emotions. Thanks, Priscilla.

Darlene, I have read this story before and yet it still brought a lump in my throat and a tear to my eyes. The true spirit of Christmas. May your Christmas be filled with love and joy. ❤

Thanks so much, Carol. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas. xo

Awesome work Darlene! That story gave me goosebumps as it truly does relate the meaning of Christmas!!

Thanks so much, Kirt! It´s great when children figure it out.

Oh, Darlene – I just adored this!

A heartening story Darlene with the essence of Christmas ❤

Thanks so much, glad you liked it!

Darlene, I remember the story well and it is superb. I’m captivated from the very beginning and emotionally wrapped up in the story as it develops. Heartwarming and shows us the gift of giving and caring for each other.

Thanks, Annika. I’m glad it worked. xo

What a satisfying story, Darlene. Thank you.

Thank you so much, Jacqui!

What a beautiful tearjerker of a story. I love how naturally generous kids are and how they love to see the joy in the faces of others. A wonderful Christmas story, Darlene. 🙂

Thank you so much, Diane. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my story. Have a super Christmas. xo

What a lovely story, Darlene – so full of joy. Toni x

Thanks, Toni! Joy is what Christmas is all about. Have a good one! xo

Oh my goodness! What a wonderful, heart filled story. Thank you for sharing this, Darlene!

I´m pleased you liked it. You have my permission to read to the children if you wish (students, grandchildren, neighbours etc.)

That would be wonderful! 😍

A wonderful Christmas story that shares the Christmas spirit to us all. 🥰❤️

Thanks! Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear.

Snowy one here. Enjoy your Spanish sunshine 🌞!

Lovely, heartwarming, story, Darlene. Cory sounds somewhat exceptional – the real spirit of Christmas! Speaking of which – I hope you have the best possible Christmas yourself.

Thank you, Mike. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas as well. xo

Darlene i have shivers from head to toe. What a brilliantly written story. I felt as though I was right in the room witnessing the miracle of Christmas. Sending very best wishes to you and hoping the joy of the season finds you.

Thank you for those kind words. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas season as well, even if is on Zoom!

A great story Darlene! Many thanks for posting it! ❤

[…] else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. Now I nominate Darlene. Please link to me so I know you have participated. If you are not interested, no problem. If you […]

Beautiful story… perfectly captures the Christmas spirit 😀

What a lovely story you have given us! Beautiful. 🙂

What a lovely story. I loved it❤️.

Thanks for popping by. Pleased you enjoyed it. xo

Beautiful Christmas story! Thanks for sharing! 🙂🎄

Thanks, Maria. Pleased you liked the story!

Let us have music for Christmas…
Sound the trumpet of joy and rebirth;
Let each of us try, with a song in our hearts,
To bring peace to men on earth. – Quote by Mildred L. Jarrell

Have a wonderful Christmas and joyous days ahead with warm laughter. Take care.

Thanks, Kally. A lovely poem. xo

[…] printed out for him. It was The Bright Lights of Christmas by blogger Darlene Foster. See her post here. Logan said he liked the […]

So pleased Logan enjoyed the story. Thanks!

love this story!! it brought tears to my eyes. I hope you had a merry Christmas and enjoyed your holiday!🎄

Follow @everythingtips if you’re interested in tips and recommendations! It would mean a lot to me🥺🤍

I´m glad you liked the story. Thanks.

Hello wonderful people. Here is one I could share https://noteworthynotes01.wordpress.com/2021/02/27/the-skate/

May I share this story on my blog? I really loved reading it. ❤️☺️

Yes, you may share it. I´m so pleased you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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