The Christmas Gift (Flash Fiction)

Image by Yvette Fang from Pixabay

Flash Fiction #146

This is a conversation between a mother and her ten-year-old boy about the upcoming events this month and gifts for Christmas.

Child: “I wonder what I am going to get for Christmas.”

Mom: “Well, Santa has a bit of arthritis and osteoporosis, and he probably can’t carry as many gifts this year.”

Child: “Mom, I am ten. You can tell me the truth…”

Mom: “OK, I will.”

Child: “Mom, our school will have a parent day two weeks from now. Will you come? You didn’t come last year.”

Mom: “Sweetie, I am too much of a coward to sit among a roomful of native speakers to feel awkward. Worse, if I venture to say something, other people may inadvertently feel offended.”

Child: “Oh, don’t feel this way. Just think that when they say something, you can be inadvertently offended too. So it is no big deal.”

Mom: “Sweetie, as immigrants, we are not supposed to be offended by anything. We don’t have the privilege to feel offended.”

Child: “Can I get a new iPhone for Christmas?”

Mom: “Sweetie, we moved to this uppity expensive township of New Jersey with only 2% Asians so that you can get into chess club, math club, and many other STEM activities. If we had stayed in Central Jersey with other Asians, you would not have been able to get into anything. This also means you should not compare yourself with your peers as far as Christmas gifts are…”

Child: “Sarah Wilson said she would get a newest iPhone for Christmas.”

Mom: “Sarah’s father might be working in Wall Street; or her ancestors might have colonized the world old and new. Your ancestors, on the other hand, were unfortunate Asians being colonized. So being a good Asian boy, you should not compare yourself to her. A new iPhone is a good thing for her, but a new iPhone for you may get you to develop the bad habit of buying things you can’t afford.”

Child: “How about Peter Chang? He said he would get a 3D Printer for Christmas.”

Mom: “That costs $500 for the toy version for kids.”

Child: “Peter is Asian too. You know. Same ancestors with me. So…”

Mom: “Peter’s father Toto is a freak of nature, a daredevil of a man. Toto and his brothers are … What can I say? They just opened another marijuana farm in Carolina or Oklahoma. I can’t remember where. Last June, when he got shot, he self operated on his wound; last month, when he was stabbed, he disregarded the bleeding and continued to work for a week. So I heard. Peter’s father earns his living with blood, but my sweetie pie, your parents earn the living with sweats. And remember this: blood always gets paid more.”

Child: “Mom..I don’t understand… but I am afraid that you will not give me a good gift this year.”

Mom: “Sweetie, this is a great chance for you to practice self denial, austerity, and…”

Child: “I don’t want your gift of self denial. I hate you. I hate you.” The child yells and runs away.

Mom: “Sweetie, you asked me to tell you the truth, didn’t you?”

19 thoughts on “The Christmas Gift (Flash Fiction)

  1. My mother used to say that only the rich can afford to look shabby. I think there is (or was) an element of that immigrant feeling in the lower classes in western society. Not the same I know – but enough to make it comprehensible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. The rich can have deliberately wrinkled outfit with faded colors. It all look cool no matter what. And you are so right that immigrants feel like the bottom of the society perpetually and have to rely on material things to make ourselves sound more worthy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very difficult to explain to a child that he should not consider himself comparable to his peers. And I think the psychological problem among children of immigrants is huge and many children have to brave their way through without any help at all.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, there are so many “horror” stories of miscommunication and non-communication. It is hard to ignore those, but still I haven’t figured out a way to present them in a way that is more readable…

          Liked by 1 person

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