I didn’t sleep a wink, tossing and turning all night as I wrestled with how to deliver presents that would be opened without fear of being infected with COVID-19.
I hardly touched my breakfast of pancakes with candy-cane syrup, my favorite. Even the hot chocolate tasted bitter. That was an impossibility, but so was not delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Getting up from the table, I wondered if this was something I would have to get used to. My heart sank at the possibility, and the smile disappeared from my face.
The joy and relief that Santa and his toy-makers and elves experienced after completing Christmas 2020 are short lived, as new and more difficult challenges rear their ugly heads in 2021. The world’s population is tired of COVID; but, even worse than getting sick, people of all ages are losing their hope for a better day tomorrow. Nothing is worse than losing hope—without it, we are all lost. Santa, knowing this to be true, feels a responsibility to help us all believe in each other again—and believe that family, love, and better days are ahead for all of us. But how? Santa is relevant only in one month, December—even then, for only one day. The twenty-fifth, to be exact. Santa calls his friend Old Man Crabtree, who had played a big part in the success of Christmas 2020. Both recognize the problem but are at a loss for how to solve it. Far from the North Pole, a commercial fishing boat returning to Cape Cod the week before Christmas gets caught in a surprise and deadly Nor’easter and sinks. There are no survivors. Fishermen lost at sea and restoring the true spirit of Christmas to a pandemic-weary world: What could one event have to do with the other? As improbable as it may seem, the relationship is perfect—and it has been years in the making. Not all miracles happen overnight.