Jeremy Parsons got everything on his Christmas list, but things didn't turn out like he expected.
Jeremy Parsons got everything on his Christmas list, but things didn’t turn out like he expected.Illustration by Glynis Sweeny

MRS. PARSONS ASKED HER SON, Jeremy, what he wanted for Christmas. “Cowboy boots?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Jeremy.
“A ball? A train?”
“Yes, yes,” said Jeremy.
“Or a rocket ship?”
“That too,” said Jeremy.
“You can’t have everything,” said Mrs. Parsons.
“Why not?” Jeremy wondered.
And he wrote his letter to Santa.

Santa was feeling blue.
“I’m cold and tired,” he told his wife. “Let’s retire and go someplace warm.”
“But who will take care of the business?” asked Mrs. Claus.
Just then, Santa opened Jeremy’s letter.
“Dear Santa, This year I want everything you’ve got. (Signed) Jere­my Parsons.”

Christmas Eve arrived, and all the little boys and girls put out their stockings and went to bed, dream­ing of the presents that soon would be theirs.
But when Santa loaded his sleigh, he told his reindeer there would be only one stop that night.
Jeremy Parsons’ house.

The next morning there was a great cry around the world as chil­dren awakened to find their stock­ings bare.
Jeremy heard a noise in the living room.
“Maybe that’s Santa!” he said.
“Wow!” he said when he saw the living room.
“WOW!” he cried when he saw the presents piled outside his house.
There were four billion five hundred million six thousand two hundred twenty-seven toy trucks. And about a trillion balls—footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, Ping-Pong balls—balls, balls, balls!
The dolls and stuffed animals made a mountain so high Jeremy could see El Paso.
Santa was just finishing up.
“That’s about it,” he said, “except for three hundred million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, about four hundred thou­sand toy trains, and a few billion action figures.”
“Any rocket ships?” asked Jeremy.
“Millions,” said Santa. “Millions and millions.”
“Gee,” said Jeremy. “I must have been a really good boy.”
“See you later,” said Santa. “I’m on my way to South Padre Island.”
And his sleigh disappeared into the sky.

In a little while children began to gath­er to look at Jeremy’s toys. One boy tried to play with one of Jeremy’s robots.
“Leave it alone, please,” Jeremy said, trying to be polite.
“That’s mine,” he told a girl who was looking at the mountain of dolls.
“EVERYTHING IS MINE!” he cried out. “Now go away and let me play.”

And he played. But inside he felt lonely and a little bit sad for the other children.
“I don’t really need four trillion toy soldiers,” he thought. “But if I give some away, pretty soon everybody will want something. And then I’ll have NOTHING!”
That thought made him feel even worse.

A funny thing happened with the other kids.
They went home and played with the toys they already had. And with each other. Soon the gloomy day was broken by the sound of occasional laughter.

Weeks passed, and months, and the children went back to living their lives. But not Jeremy Parsons. He spent most of his time standing on top of Doll Mountain, protecting his presents.
He hardly ever played with anything. He was too busy watching.
It was beginning to get cold again.

One day Jeremy climbed off his moun­tain and went around the neighborhood handing out balls. He hadn’t played with them at all because you always need somebody else to play ball with. After that he gave away tricycles and roller skates, and of course the Barbie dolls, which he had been a little embarrassed about having in the first place.

Santa read about Jeremy in the newspa­per. It said that the boy who got every­thing was now giving everything away.
“Jeremy Parsons is the new Santa Claus,” Santa told his wife. “Now we can spend all our time at the beach.”
“Hmmm,” said Mrs. Claus.

Soon Santa got another letter from Jeremy.
“Dear Santa,” said the letter. “This year I don’t want anything else for Christmas. Everything is more than I need. Please help me get rid of all this stuff in my front yard.”

On Christmas Eve Santa came to Jere­my’s house again.
“The sun was giving me a rash, any­way,” Santa explained.
Together they went all over the world, filling the empty Christmas stockings. Jeremy got to sit in Santa’s lap and drive the reindeer.

The next morning he ate hotcakes and took an early nap.