A man celebrates Christmas in the middle of summer, inviting mockery from his neighbors, then dies the next day. After his demise, everyone discovers the shocking reason for his sudden desire to celebrate Christmas, and the mockers regret their words.
Marco Griffith sat on the living room couch, anxiously wiping his sweaty palms on his thighs and staring at his front door. When his wife, Victoria, noticed him agitated, she gave him a gentle hug and sat alongside him.
“They will come, Marco. I know they were taken aback by the sudden request, but I’m sure they’ll show up,” she said, consoling him.
When Marco awoke six days ago, on July 13, he told Victoria he wanted to spend Christmas with his family—his children, Bertha and David, their spouses, Harry and Rosaline, and grandchildren, Angela, Mike, and Tim. Victoria was obviously bewildered by his wish to celebrate Christmas because it was the middle of July, and in the sweltering heat, people would only judge them for decking their home with Christmas decorations.
“I know you adore Christmas, darling,” Victoria had said. “But this seems absurd. It’s still July, after all. It’s still too early to celebrate.”
But Marco insisted on celebrating Christmas and Victoria had no choice but to give in. She called their children and told them to be home before the 18th, the date Marco chose for the celebration. They were all busy but had promised they’d try to make time, but “trying” didn’t ensure they would show up, so Marco was worried.
“If they don’t come,” he finally said after a pause. “It’d be just you and me celebrating it, darling. It’s alright, at least I’ll have you by my side….”
“To tell you the truth, Marco,” Victoria chuckled, “when I married you, I never thought I’d have to go out of my way to do anything like this! It would be crazy to celebrate Christmas in this heat, but if you really want to, let’s do it.”
“Thank you, Victoria,” Marco said, holding her hands in his. “Without you, my life would have no meaning. Thank you again for staying by my side all the time. I love you….” he added and masked his tears as best as he could.
Victoria could sense something was off with Marco, but she didn’t give it much thought. Soon after, the doorbell rang, and on their front porch stood their children with their families.
“Oh, they’re here! Thank you so much for coming, children. Thank you,” Marco said as he stood up from the couch and hugged everyone.
After a small session of chit-chatting over tea and cookies, everyone got on with their duties to make the preparations for the “summerlicious” Christmas, and while Bertha was helping Victoria in the kitchen, she finally voiced her confusion regarding Marco’s odd request.
“What’s up with dad, mom?” she asked. “My boss was throwing all sorts of tantrums! It was so hard to get a leave. Why is dad so bent on celebrating Christmas now?”
“I’m just as confused as you, honey,” Victoria admitted as she popped some cookies in the oven. “But whenever I mentioned canceling it or tried laughing it off, Marco became serious and emotional.
“I’m curious what’s going on inside his head. He wouldn’t tell me, but I know that as people get older, they get more sensitive to the things they appreciate. They fear losing out on something or someone and want to enjoy the moments while they’re in the best of health. It’s possible your father is going through this phase.”
“I express my condolences to you and your family, Mrs. Griffith.”
“Probably….” Bertha groaned.
But while Marco’s family sympathized with his emotions and agreed to his odd request, his neighbors laughed at them. “What’s wrong with that family?” Victoria overheard a group of ladies at the supermarket when she went to get some supplies. “The Griffiths have gone insane! Did you know they’re celebrating Christmas now? In July?”
“What?” a woman gasped. “Now? Why?”
“I’m not sure about that, but it’s really odd. Their children also returned home. I saw them decorating their front yard and house. I wonder what’s wrong….”
As her neighbors discussed her family and laughed about it, Victoria felt embarrassed. Deep down, she knew they weren’t totally wrong. Anyone would find what they were doing strange. Not wanting to hear more, she rushed to complete her purchases and went home.
The next day, despite all the mockery, the Griffiths celebrated Christmas. They exchanged gifts, had heartfelt conversations, and devoured a delicious dinner of turkey, roasted potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and Marco’s favorite pie for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, just the way he liked it.
That night, when Marco went to bed, he was teary-eyed. “It was the best Christmas I’ve ever had, darling,” he told Victoria, holding her hand in his. “My heart feels incredibly light today, incredibly happy….”
“I am glad you are happy, Marco,” she replied, smiling. “I assure you that next Christmas will be even better!”
Sadly, Marco wouldn’t be there the next Christmas. He passed away peacefully in his sleep that night. Victoria’s heart dropped when she tried to wake him and he was unresponsive.
The whole family was shocked, and none of them could grasp what had just happened. They were excited, happy, and laughing just a day ago, and the next, they were mourning the loss of a loved one.
As the children got busy with funeral arrangements, Victoria sat frozen, her heart still unable to fathom what had happened. “There was definitely something Marco was hiding! I should have pressed him to explain why he wanted to celebrate Christmas so early! Was he aware that he didn’t have enough time?” There were countless questions in Victoria’s head and she knew only one person could answer that.
Victoria returned to her room and dialed Marco’s doctor. When he heard the news of Marco’s passing, his voice became solemn.
“My condolences to you and your family, Mrs. Griffith. The thing is, Mr. Griffith knew he didn’t have much time….” He revealed that Marco had been diagnosed with an advanced heart condition and had a week at the maximum to live. Marco didn’t want to tell his family because it would make them sad.
When Victoria learned this, her tears wouldn’t stop falling. “Oh, Marco….” She slumped on her bed and cried her heart out like a child. Eventually, word about Marco’s illness spread throughout the neighborhood, and those who mocked him regretted their words.
After all, all Marco wanted in his final days was to make memories with his loved ones and to celebrate his favorite occasion. Nobody had the right to pass judgment on him for that. Everyone who had mocked him felt terrible and apologized as they paid their respects to him during his burial.
What can we learn from this story?
Life is too short to avoid doing something you love because others might criticize you. Marco’s family acknowledged his feelings and fulfilled his wish to celebrate Christmas, even though everyone around them ridiculed them for doing so. Thankfully, they fulfilled his last wish.
Make as many precious memories with your loved ones as you can. Marco left for his heavenly abode happily after having created a lot of beautiful memories with his loved ones. His family, too, is grateful that they have memories with him that they can cherish now that he’s no longer around.
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