One Christmas Eve my mom pulled me aside and with an audible tightness in her throat, said
“Aubrey, I just want to let you know that things might look a little different this year. Your younger brother & sister have presents coming from Santa, but I wasn’t able to get you & your older siblings much. I just don’t want you to be hurt tomorrow when you wake up & only have a stocking.”
I hugged her.
Ever since I could remember, we would stop in at Kmart a couple times a season so that my parents could make payments on their layaway tabs.
I knew that the Christmas season was never easy for them.
But that year, layaway wasn’t even an option.
A warm place to sleep & food in our bellies was the priority.
I am beyond grateful for that alone.
I woke up that next morning, reminding my fifth-grade self not to get my hopes up.
That Christmas wasn’t about presents.
My mom was right, there weren’t many presents under the tree.
But, like a true Christmas miracle, there were presents stacked up on our porch with our names on them.
We were shocked.
No one knew where they came from.
Except my younger siblings who knew that (obviously) Santa must not have been able to get inside, so left he them there instead.
Every year I think about that.
I think about the tears of gratitude in my mommas eyes.
And that someone’s kindness can change the way you approach the holidays for the rest of your life.
I learned that even Layaway Christmases are a privilege.
This year, I am so fortunate.
Huck Phinn Leatherworks affords me a warm place to sleep & food in my belly.
Because of you, I make more than I need to survive, so this Christmas season I’ll be heading to Kmart (or Walmart, etc) as often as I am able.
This year, you & I get to surprise some families by paying off their Layaway tabs.
I know that Christmas isn’t all about presents but the reality is, that to a kid, it can be.
And because of your support in my small business, some parents won’t have to have that same, tight-throat conversation with their kids.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bringing this full circle for me.
Thank you from fifth grade Aubrey.
Merry Layaway Christmas Season.
You’ve already done so much more than you know.