The third-grade students received an assignment from their teacher, Caroline Fisher. They had to write letters to Santa Claus, the best of which would go to Lapland, his residence.
As Caroline sat down to read the students’ letters, a smile played on her lips. The children’s words evoked warm feelings in her. But that all changed when Kyle Bernhart’s letter fell into her hands. She refused to believe what she was reading.
It was the first time she had encountered something so disturbingly selfish and unpleasant. She immediately called Mr. and Mrs. Bernhart and made an appointment to see them right after the class. Caroline wanted to discuss with Kyle’s parents his letter to Santa Claus. As soon as the Bernhart couple arrived at the school, Caroline told them about the assignment she had offered to all the students, then handed them a sheet of Kyle’s letter.
The contents of the letter were as follows: “Dear Santa! I have to be honest, I was very disappointed when I received presents from you last year. I really wish you would do much better this time. I hope to get a KidiZoom PrintCam and a brand new iPhone from you, and also a new PlayStation and some cool games like Call Of Duty, but not lame games for kids like last time. I don’t want Legos and stuff like that.
Miss Caroline told us to ask you for something for poor kids. But I don’t think that’s a good idea. They’re unlucky to have been born in a poor family, unlike me. They should have been smarter. Anyway, I’ve been cool as usual, so you better not screw up this time. Kyle.”
As she finished reading, Mrs. Bernhart said in a trembling voice, “I…I just can’t believe that’s my son.”
Kyle’s father read the letter after his wife, then reread it again. He could hardly hide his sadness. Pulling himself together, he said: “You see, Miss Fisher, my family was very poor, and I swore that my son would know no need for anything. But what I just read…” He shook his head sorrowfully and sighed sadly.
At that moment a smile of insight appeared on his wife’s face. “I think I know what needs to be done! We need to teach Kyle a lesson.”
On Christmas night, Kyle traditionally placed a plate of cookies and a glass of milk near the Christmas tree with his parents. He looked up at the shimmering lights on the tree and wondered, “I don’t understand. I don’t see any presents; they’re always lying around here at this time.”
“Honey, but you did send a letter to Santa,” Mrs. Bernhart said. “He must have decided to give you a present in person.”
“I guess so,” Kyle replied. “And it’s better if he does it right…. this time.” Kyle’s parents looked at each other, but didn’t respond to their son’s words. After the marshmallows were roasted in the fireplace, everyone dispersed to their rooms to sleep.
Before the sun had risen, Kyle was already awake. He rushed downstairs to the tree. “Mom! Dad! Get up! It’s Christmas!” he shouted loudly as he ran.
When Kyle flew up to the tree, he suddenly froze. He was surprised when he didn’t find the usual pile of presents under the tree. Instead, he saw only a few small packages. He went through the Christmas boxes. All the presents were for Mom and Dad. Then his eye fell on a small envelope. In the address line, he saw his name Kyle Bernhart. He deftly opened the envelope, expecting to see a gift certificate there, and then he would buy whatever he wanted himself. But disappointment awaited Kyle.
“Dear Kyle,” he read. “I’m sorry you were disappointed in last year’s gifts, but on the other hand I’m disappointed in you. I read that you were ‘good,’ but that’s not true. Yes, you weren’t bad, but I can’t call you good either. You didn’t show kindness or helpfulness or generosity. You didn’t care about the people around you. So if you want a gift for next year, you need to show a good side, take care of the people around you, and do good deeds.
Under the tree you will find a diary. I would like you to write down at least one good deed a day for the rest of the year. Merry Christmas. Santa Claus.”
Kyle was shocked. “I didn’t get ONE gift! Absolutely nothing!” Mr. and Mrs. Bernhart expressed their sympathy and asked to see what Santa Claus had written. At this point, Kyle’s face flooded with paint. “I can’t. This is my personal business with Santa Claus.”
Just as the letter said, under the Christmas tree he found a small diary with a red cover. He grabbed the diary and immediately ran to his room. A few seconds later parents herd him sobbing. Kyle’s parents looked at each other. “Honey, maybe we’re being too hard on him,” a worried Mrs. Bernhart pronounced.
“Don’t worry, Maggie. We’re doing everything right. It’s for his own good,” Mr. Bernhart reassured his wife.
After that, the boy began to gradually change.
Parents and Miss Caroline noticed that Kyle became kinder and more generous; he was always trying to help the children in class, and he showed attention and concern for his grandmother.
As Christmas approached, Kyle’s diary was completely written out. The boy wrote a new letter to Santa and asked him for a puppy as a gift. And it seems that Santa responded to Kyle’s message, because on Christmas morning, Kyle found an adorable puppy under the tree with a brightly colored bow around its neck.
It turned out to be a hard lesson for Kyle, but a very revealing one. Since then, he’s been much kinder and more considerate.