The Christmas cards nobody wanted
It was December and the bookstore down the street was adorned with colorful lights and lanterns in time for the Yuletide season.
At the greeting cards section, there were stacks of Christmas cards waiting to be displayed on the shelves.
“Ah, I hope that, this year, we’ll get to spend Christmas outside this store,” the greeting card named Holly sighed. She has a bright red cover with beautiful holly embossed on it.
“I really hope so, too,” echoed Nick, a bigger card with Santa Claus and his reindeer printed in front.
“Well, I sure hope so. My Christmas isn’t getting any ‘whiter,’” joked Bouncy, who sported colorful Christmas balls in different sizes all over.
“Well, you’ll have a better chance of being sold when you’re put in the ‘Sale’ basket,” quipped Nick. And the greeting card section shook with laughter.
Every year, the greeting cards were hoping for people to buy them. But, with the onset of modern gadgets and technology, buyers were getting fewer and fewer each year.
Gone were the days when people would send Christmas cards to their loved ones everywhere in the world, and write letters to greet them the merriest Christmas of all. Now, even kids just send text messages using their cell phones, or e-mail their greetings to their families and friends.
The following morning, the store clerks started to put each Christmas card on the shelves.
“This is it! Its showtime, everybody!” yelled Nick.
“Make sure you all look pretty — and Bouncy, don’t you slouch back there,” reminded Holly.
When the store finally opened, lots of people came in. Children browsed through picture books, while others were jumping all over the play area.
There were a few who looked through the greeting cards, but nobody bought any. Then, a boy picked up Nick! He gave Holly a wink.
“Hey Mom, can I have this card? I think Paul will love it. He really likes Santa,” the boy grinned.
Nick was so happy to hear this that he almost slipped away from the boy’s hand in excitement.
“But your cousin Paul is in the States, he probably has all the Santas he can get his hands on. And it would probably take too long to deliver that card in time for Christmas,” sighed the boy’s mother.
“Oh no, no, no, please,” whispered Nick.
“Why don’t we just print out one of those ready-made Christmas cards on your computer and e-mail it to your cousin? It would be so much easier.”
“OK,” replied the boy, as he put Nick back on the shelf. Every greeting card fell silent as Nick let out a big sob.
“I was almost there. He held me in his hand! Do you know how many years have passed since anyone held me?” Nick let out a big cry again. The other Christmas cards didn’t know what to do or say!
Hours passed, and all the Christmas cards still remained on the shelves. The store was closed and the lights had been switched off.
“Good night, everyone! Tomorrow is another day. Let’s all hope for the best,” yawned Holly.
As the sun shone brightly the next day, store clerks were busy rearranging the books and toys, because today was the “Big Sale” day!
“Good morning! Wake up everyone,” yelled Bouncy. “I have a feeling that today is the day!”
More people were coming into the store every minute. There were books tagged as ‘Buy One, Take One” and toys were being sold at half-price. People were jostling each other as they made their way to the counter to pay for their purchases.
Meanwhile, the store manager was roaming around the store to check on the items on sale. He went near the greeting card section and called one of the clerks.
“This card looks a bit old. Put it in the ‘Sale’ basket now,” he ordered.
“I told you, this is my day,” said Bouncy. Many people look into the ‘Sale’ basket, so he was very optimistic that he had a good chance of being bought today!
At the greeting card section, everyone was excited, too.
“If Bouncy gets lucky, so can we,” assured Holly.
But Nick was not OK. He was still thinking about what happened yesterday, when a boy almost sent him to America.
“Oh, Nick. Let’s not lose hope,” pleaded Holly.
Come late afternoon, customers were starting to thin out. But a cute little girl in a red dress went near the shelves. The greeting cards went wild.
“Pick me, pick me,” prayed Holly as she felt a tiny hand holding her up.
“Mommy, can I buy this Christmas card? It’s red — my favorite color!”
“Oh, sweetheart, what are you going to do with that card? It’s pretty but you don’t have anybody to give it to. We’ve already sent out personalized Christmas cards to our relatives. Remember, the one with our family photo?,” explained her mom.
“Yes, I remember,” said the little girl, as she placed Holly back on the shelf. Everyone fell silent again.
“Now I know how you feel,” said Holly to Nick between sobs.
“Don’t worry, Holly. There’s always another day, as you always say. And we should be happy for Bouncy. He must be out there, enjoying Christmas for all of us,” said Nick.
Later, Holly, Nick and the other greeting cards were getting ready for the night when the saleslady came and placed something at the far end of the shelf.
“Not my lucky day” was all he could say as he tried to look the other way, so that Holly and Nick wouldn’t see how sad he was. They couldn’t say a word.
Weeks passed and Christmas Day was suddenly just around the corner. The store was at its busiest on December 24, the last day it would be open for the holidays — and the final day for last-minute shopping for many customers! In fact, the store opened an hour early to give customers more time to shop.
But, the Christmas cards were not feeling very excited, anymore. It was too late for anybody to buy them, they sighed . . .
Then “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” yelled the cards, as they felt books and toys falling over them.
“Where are we?”
The Christmas cards were only able to get their bearings again when they were “swiped” on a machine and heard a lady say, “The total is P800.”
“Could it be…?”
“Are we really…?”
Yes! Finally, somebody bought the three Christmas cards! They were all excited and wanted to know who had bought them. They wanted to thank him or her for this wonderful Christmas present!
When they were taken out of the shopping bag in the buyer’s home, they were surprised to see a small but pretty house filled with colorful Christmas decorations. Then, a girl started to write something on each card. Nick, Holly and Bouncy couldn’t contain the joy they felt!
“Finally we’re going to spend Christmas,” they chorused — oh, so happily!
When the little girl’s family gathered at the Christmas tree, they gave each other a gift. When it was the girl’s turn, she took the Christmas cards and gave one each to her mother, father and grandmother.
They read each card and gave the little girl a big kiss and a tight hug. They were all very happy about the thoughts expressed in the cards. When her dad asked the girl why she chose the cards, she explained:
“This one is for you, Dad, because like Santa you are very generous and kind. You always give me toys, books and everything I need. This card is perfect because it says: ‘Thank you for being my Santa not only on Christmas — but every day!’”
Nick was bursting with pride!
“This card is for you, Mom, because the berries in the holly in it remind me of the days when you make yummy cookies with berries to make me feel better after a tiring day in school — and the message in the card says it all — ‘A very merry Christmas to the greatest mom in the world!’”
Holly beamed — bright as a berry!
“And finally, this is for you, Lola, because it reminds me of the Christmas when you taught me the different colors, with the Christmas balls we used to decorate our tree. The card says, ‘May your Christmas be filled with happy memories of the love and warmth of your family.’ Thanks for everything Lola, I love you very much!
Bouncy wept — with joy!
It was the happiest Christmas ever for Nick, Holly and Bouncy — and they could only wish that all the other Christmas cards in the bookstore’s shelves would experience the same happiness — next year!
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