Molly stuffed the last of the filling in the little leg and stitched it shut. She put her creation on the table with the rest of her stuffed bears and smiled contentedly. Molly had just finished sewing the last of one thousand bears that the North Pole quilters guild had made for children in several hospitals for Christmas. She smiled again and called to Santa. “They’re finished just in time for you to deliver them! Make sure that each child gets a hug for me when you give them their bear.”
Molly patted a bear dressed like a Mountie and turned to give Santa a kiss on his cheek.
“You’ve done a great job, Molly. The children will love receiving these. Jessie, what do you say we go and deliver some toys?” Santa whistled at the dog who looked up from her nap by the fire. She stretched and slowly rose. Jessie wagged her tail furiously and stood by the door waiting for Santa.
The pair flew to several hospitals that afternoon. They fell into a routine where Santa presented the children with the teddy bears and then Santa and Jessie took a picture with each child and his/her new toy. The children fussed over Jessie and hugged Santa before returning to their rooms for treatment. The pair enjoyed talking and playing with the children. At the final hospital for the day a young girl named Matilda came slowly into the room with a nurse supporting her. Unlike the other children she did not smile when given the bear. Instead, she gazed out of the frost covered window with tears rolling down her face. Her once full head of red hair was now covered with stubble and her frame was gaunt. “Santa,” she said. “I don’t want a bear for Christmas. I want to be normal again.”
The girl choked back more tears as she wiped her eyes on her gown. “I don’t care about toys. I just want to go home.” She handed her bear to a small girl standing beside her and tried to shuffle back towards her room when Santa reached out to stop her.
“Matilda, I know things are rough right now and unfortunately I can’t promise that they will get better for you. No one knows what their future holds. But I can tell you that if you believe in magic, generosity and love then the time you spend on this earth will be brighter.” Santa reached into his pocket and pulled out a snow globe. Its base was gold and inside the fragile glass was a dog that looked much like Jessie. When he wound its bottom a storm of snow flew about the tiny dog as it jumped up and down rhythmically.”
“I had this made shortly after I adopted Jessie, Matilda. I want you to keep it. When I found Jessie in I didn’t expect to find a friend who brings me so much joy. But I found a friend who brings me love and laughter each day. My wish for you is that even though you are suffering that you find some Christmas magic and joy this year.” Santa handed the globe to the girl and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He watched as the frail girl accepted the globe and then turned to leave. His eyes never left the nurse and the girl stumbled down the hall and turned the corner.
Santa looked down at Jessie who was gazing into Santa’s eyes. Her ears were down and the tip of her tail wobbled slightly. “I love bringing children Christmas joy, Jessie. I wish I could bring happiness to all children this year but I can’t always help.”
Jessie licked Santa’s hand and whined. She gently rubbed her head against his hand.
Santa shook off a tear and stood up. He picked up his bag and led the dog towards the door of the hospital. Santa said goodbye to the nurse at the station and then looked back. His face brightened slightly as he saw the other children still smiling and playing with their new toys. He couldn’t help all children but he could help as many as he could, he thought, and maybe that was good enough. He couldn’t help Matilda but he could help other children and that’s what he intended to do.