Dear Santa: I don’t want to cry on Christmas day


Gabriella Backus

Illustration by Gabriella Backus

Autumn Kong

Dear Santa,

I’m not sure I ever believed in you, as I was raised in a Cambodian-American household; I knew of your existence but I was never taught to believe, it never clicked. I never really believed in anything supposedly mystical or divine that could grant me any wish I wanted, now that I think about it.  Not that I’m opposed to it.  It just never really sunk in. 

But this year, I wish I could believe.  I wish I did believe in you.  I wish I believed in some reindeer-wielding, sleigh-riding, cookie-thieving, gift-giving, wish-granting magic man.  In fact, if I believed, maybe I could get what I want.   

I want the faint mid-2000s pop music mingling with the sound of pitter-patter raindrops on the car window as I drift off to sleep on our way down to SoCal—to grandma.  I want the groggy feeling of waking up to the sparkling snowflake-shaped christmas lights draped over the gutters of the peeling house, stumbling out the car into the smell of petrichor and cooking rice.  I want the soft warmth of grandma and the ringing of little girls’ laughter when they run around; I want when one trips and reaches for me and then I have to be the big cousin.  I want the cold metal chairs and smooth plastic tables while I slide plates of veggies and beef and fish and rice around to awaiting hungry mouths.  I want the sound of ripping crisp wrapping paper and the awkward thank yous and smiles while we eat sliced oranges. 

But we won’t be driving anywhere this Christmas, I won’t be seeing any Christmas lights, I won’t be hearing my cousin’s laughs, I won’t be dishing out platters of food, I won’t be eating those sliced oranges and I won’t see grandma.  I want, no, need my family.  Please, I don’t think you’d be able to do anything, Santa, but please.  I’m an angsty teen, I don’t beg for my family very often.  But this is going to be my first Christmas at home in my 16 years of life.  I don’t know how to deal with it. So Santa, I know you can’t give me my family and I know I’ve never quite believed in you, but maybe you could give me this one wish: I wish for a way that I won’t be crying on Christmas, though that in itself is a difficult request.

Thank you so much,