I want to tell you about something amazing that happened this Christmas. Not just a normal amazing thing, but a super, amazing thing. An awesome, once-in-a-lifetime thing! I just want to tell you this to thank you. Thank you so much for giving me this perfect gift!
Joy. Pure, inexplicable happiness coursed through me as I ran my finger over the smooth gold surface. I clutched it to my chest, my heart racing with excitement. I held it out in front of me, cupped in my hands, and shook it just to make sure. The sound rang out loud and clear. The ringing carried on in my ears long after it had stopped. I hardly believed that one of Santa’s reindeer’s golden bells had fallen off its harness. That the magic reindeer food we had made in Ms. Billy’s Kindergarten class worked. I beamed and almost tripped over my feet as I ran towards the backyard door. “Mom! Dad!” I yell. I breathlessly climb up the stairs, push open the door, and barge into the kitchen. “Yes?” Mom looks up expectantly. “I found it! I found a jingle bell! A real jingle bells!” I exclaim, fighting to catch my breath. “Really?” Mom inquired. “Where?” “In the backyard! In the gravel.” I explained and proceed to rehash the whole story in explicit detail. “I never expected the Reindeer dust to work,” I continued, “but it did!” The night before, we had sprinkled the mixture all over the the backyard. Mom had told me the reindeer would bend down to eat the magical food when Santa came, and maybe the jingle bells would fall off their harnesses. Now I realized with delight that she was right. “Wow!” Mom opened her eyes wide. I nodded vigorously and sat down at the table, fingering the gold jingle bell. I spent the day stroking the bell, feeling it, shaking it as hard as I could so the ringing would be as loud as possible. Squeezing it and staring at it to make sure it was real. Nothing could tear me away from it. Suddenly, I was sure that this would be the best Christmas ever!
On Monday, I brought the jingle bell in for show-and-tell. “I found it in my backyard this weekend!” I informed my classmates excitedly. “I put that reindeer food we had made out on the gravel, and the reindeer came!” My peers oohed and aahed at my revelation. I held up the bell, jumped up and down, and shook it. Everyone gasped at how loud the ringing was. I came home that day exhilarated by revealing my secret to all my friends. I told Mom and Dad all about how it went, and they listened intently, exchanging small smiles and nodding at my every word. I put Santa’s jingle bell in my room, slipping it inside a very special red velvet bag. I took it out and examined it every day, marveling at the wonder.
Years later, I continued to be fascinated by my discovery. In third grade, around Christmas time, I brought the bell to school for show-and-tell again. I stood proudly in front of my classmates with the jingle bell once again in my raised hand. “I found this bell in Kindergarten,” I explained. “It was Santa’s reindeer’s bell. I sprinkled the reindeer food Ms. Billy gave us all over the backyard and a reindeer must have bent down to eat it, so a bell fell off its harness!” I finished enthusiastically. A few of my peers clapped politely. Others snickered behind their hands. For some reason, there was a lot of laughter. What about a magical jingle bell was funny? I stood at the front of the class, confused until my teacher cleared her throat. “Thank you.” I stumbled back to my seat, disoriented. After a while, I decided I didn’t care what my classmates thought. My opinion was that the jingle bell was a wonderful thing, and not a laughing matter. I didn’t care about my classmate’s reaction towards the bell since I had treasured it since Kindergarten. I clutched the gold bell tightly and smiled to myself, the memory of the day I had discovered the bell as clear as if it had happened yesterday.
Every Christmas I was reminded of my golden jingle bell. Every Christmas I took it out of its red velvet bag, pressed it to my ear, and shook, making sure that after each passing year, Santa’s bell could still ring. Every Christmas I read a book called The Polar Express. In it, a boy traveled all the way to the North Pole on the Polar Express to see Santa, and Santa decided to give him the first gift of Christmas. All the boy wanted was one silver bell from Santa’s sleigh, and that bell became the very first gift Santa gave out that Christmas. The boy put the bell in his pocket, but when he got back on the train and tried to take out the bell to show the other kids, he discovered that all there was left in his pocket was a hole. On Christmas Day the boy and his family opened their presents. The last present left was a small box under the tree with his name on it. The silver bell lay inside. He shook the bell and it rang loudly, but no one could hear it except him and all his friends and family who truly believed. It had been about three years since I found the bell, being in third grade. Inspired by the Polar Express book, I still believed. And the bell kept ringing for me. So that shiny golden bell, Santa, is how I remember—to never stop believing.