Becoming Mistletoe Joe

Contributed by Tonya Moreno

“Oh Joe, you are such a grinch!” cried Sara. “It’s the Christmas season! How can you be so mean?” Sara had yelled at her husband, Joe, because he chased away a group of carolers on the front porch. Joe replied to her, “Why not? I don’t want to listen to their out-of-tune Christmas carols singing about a season that makes everyone crazy! No one cares anymore about what this season is about. Everyone is too busy worrying about what they are going to get instead of giving back to their neighbor or community. That is why I am the way I am. Why should I pretend to enjoy the season when everything is so commercialized?” With that, he turned away from her and went to sit in his recliner to finish watching the movie that was on before he was interrupted by the group of carolers.

“You know, Joe, one day, someone is going to really surprise you and make you change your mind about Christmas. Not everyone is about giving or receiving gifts. There are people in our community that do go out and give back to the community during the holiday season. You choose not to see it because you are too caught up in being a scrooge!” Sara stormed off as mad as a wet hen at Joe. “He just doesn’t understand,” she thought to herself. “I need to make him remember the true meaning of Christmas. It might take a bit of convincing, but by the time I get done with him, he will be emitting the smell of peppermint from his body.”  

So Sara set out to remind Joe what Christmas was all about. When he woke up the next morning and went to pour him a cup of coffee, he saw a note that Sara had written him.  

Today you will be required to participate in the Christmas festivities that are part of our beautiful community. You may not believe it, but there is so much love and Christmas spirit in this town.  You are missing it, and you will not be allowed to stifle it in this household any longer!

Love you always despite your grinchiness.


Joe laughed to himself. How did Sara think she was going to make him do anything that involved Christmas? Then he read the bottom of the note.

P.S. If this is not done, you can figure out how to make your own food and do your own laundry. So if you like ham sandwiches and pink underwear, please feel free to ignore my demands.

Joe smiled. He could always count on Sara to make sure she got her way. So he grabbed his boots and his winter coat and out the door he went. “Well,” he said to himself, “Let’s do this.” He wasn’t sure what Sara thought she was accomplishing with this task at hand. He didn’t believe that just because he spent the day in the town square, his attitude about Christmas was suddenly going to change. He almost turned around to go home and sit in his recliner, but the threat of ham sandwiches for the rest of his life made him decide otherwise.

As Joe made his way into the town square, he could see the hustle and bustle of everyone moving around and shopping. He saw families laughing, snow angels being made and impromptu snowball fights erupting. A group of carolers were stationed at the gazebo. In fact, they were the same ones he ran off just yesterday, singing Christmas carols in perfect harmony.  

He looked down and noticed a little girl standing at his side. “Well, hello there little girl? How are you?” asked Joe. “Are you Santa?” she asked. “Hahaha, no sweetie, I am not,” he replied. Far from him actually, he thought. “Well, you look like him with your snowy white beard and your rosy red cheeks,” she stated. “Are you sure? I wanted to let him know that he doesn’t need to bring me any toys this year. I just want to be able to spend time with my family.” 

This took Joe by surprise; she couldn’t have been more than 6 years old. Surely she wanted every toy imaginable in the toy store. “What do you mean little one? Is there not even one toy that you would like to receive this year from Santa?” he asked her. “Well of course, every kid wants a toy from Santa, but my mom works all the time and I hardly ever get to spend time with her. Her boss won’t let her off to spend time with me during the holidays, so I was hoping that if you were Santa, you could help me with my Christmas wish.”  

Joe stood there for a moment, astonished that a 6 year old child had more wisdom than he did about Christmas. Sara was right. There are still people out there that understood the true meaning of Christmas. He felt his body get warmer and a strange feeling came over him. He felt happy.  He felt as if he needed to do something so spectacular that it might almost be seen as insane. Joe stood there looking at the little girl and immediately broke out into a Christmas song. He was singing as loud as he could! He couldn’t stop. His heart was so full of joy! 

The little girl cried, “You are Santa! I knew it!” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a candy cane and a sprig of mistletoe. She held it out to Joe with a smile on her face. “Please Santa, have my candy cane. This way you can remember me on Christmas Eve and hopefully grant my wish.” Along with handing him the candy cane, she lifted her head up and planted a kiss on Joe’s rosy red cheek while holding the mistletoe sprig. He was so overcome with joy that he decided at that moment that he would forever be this town’s Christmas spirit!

He started a tradition from that very moment by playing the town’s Santa and handing out candy canes to every person he came across. His wife had taught him a very good lesson and he was forever grateful to her for making him see the true spirit of Christmas.