Frederick was barely six-years-old and Christmas days away. His “big” sister Amelia was all of nine and ever since Thanksgiving he could not shut her up. She had called him a turkey for believing in Santa Claus. “Gobble, gobble,” she teased, every time he said anything having to do with Christmas.
“M-aah-m,” he yelled from the den, “Amelia is being mean!”
“Ignore her, Frederick. Just ignore her,” his mother yelled back. Frederick glared at Amelia. “You’re so stupid!”
“Not me, Freddie. You.”
“Frederick, Amelia. My name is Frederick. You know I hate ‘Freddie’,” he said.
“Grow up, little guy,” she said. “All my friends call me ‘Amy.’ I think that’s cool.”
“Well ‘Freddie’ is not cool, A-me-li-a,” he replied.
“Neither is believing in Santa Claus. Gobble, gobble.”
Frederick stomped out of the den and went to his room. Amelia drove him crazy. Why did she need to be so mean? His mom and dad told him the story of Santa last year – about Saint Nicholas and the legend of his generosity to the poor. Frederick knew the magic-making on Christmas Eve was his parents’ doing but he wanted to believe that the whole world, at least once a year caught “Saint Santa’s” spirit. He tried to tell that to Amelia but she just laughed at him, saying, “Gobble, gobble.”
He went to his closet and fetched the gift he was working on to give Amelia. He had already folded and wrapped the drawing he had done for his parents – a pine tree covered with snow, an angel, kinda, over it and a few distant stars in an ink blue sky, signed “I love you. Frederick.” Amelia’s gift was still a work in progress. He felt like ripping it up as he spread it out on the floor by the window.
A square sheet of black paper framed a large cut-out of a Coca-Cola Santa face. Underneath, in bold white crayon, Frederick wrote “Amelia, Tear off Santa and see what is left.”
“Darkness, Amelia,” Frederick thought almost out loud. Then he spread out another square sheet of bright yellow paper with a scribbled red heart. He added more red crayon to the heart and small Santa-face stickers all around, then wrote, “A-m-y, I like my world better. Love, F-r-e-d-e-r-i-c-k.”
He sat for a moment, examined his work, scribbled out the word “love” and wrote instead, “I love you anyway.” He nodded and folded them both to put under the tree. He could not guess how Amelia would react, but Frederick knew “Saint Santa” would be proud of him.