The Christmas Rat

Courtesy of Microstock Photography


Today features a true Christmas tail (er, tale) written by my brother in his recent book, Just Rememberin’:

The Christmas Rat

by Bob Barlow

“I’ve had lots of memorable Christmases, but one of those has a unique and somewhat humorous, even embarrassing meaning to me. 

I was in elementary school, about the third grade, and I came down with the mumps about a week before Christmas that year! Swollen throat like balloons was a sight to see! 

We lived in a two story house, with my bedroom being upstairs. My dad was the preacher at the Baptist church in town, and the parsonage had been enlarged from its original size to include a master bedroom on the back side of the house. Since my bedroom was upstairs, it was inconvenient for my mother to take care of me and check on me by going up and down the stairs, as well as preparing all the food and goodies for Christmas time. So they had me to stay in their bed during the daytime, allowing her to easily see how I was doing with the mumps. 

Where Is Santa’s Stash?

Are you a curious person?  I am.  When you receive a gift, do you try to shake the package, or feel it and guess what’s inside? Did you ever want to try to find out if you had been “naughty or nice” this year in your parents’ eyes and would get the things you wanted for Christmas? As I grew to understand who Santa and Mrs. Claus were, I realized that their Christmas gifts for the children had to be hidden somewhere in the house.  

As I lay there in my parent’s bed with bulging cheeks and throat full of mumps, my mind began to imagine some possible hiding places in the house, concentrating especially on their bedroom. My eyes fell on their closet door. Sure! What other place could it be! 

Just One Peek!

One must be stealthy and cautious when on a search and discover mission. I decided to quietly slip out of bed and just take a peek inside their closet. What treasures would I find? What surprises might be hiding in there for us this Christmas?  

Dad had already gone to work. I listened for my mother and heard her working in the kitchen, so I made my move. I opened the closet door and looked inside. It was dark and I dared not pull light strings or turn on switches that might draw my mother’s attention. I let my eyes adjust for a few seconds, but I had to hurry. 

As I stepped inside, I looked up on their closet shelves and saw some sacks that had to be the presents! I moved farther into the closet and reached up as high as I could to try to take down one of the sacks to look inside. 

Caught Like a Rat!

As I stepped closer to the shelf, something snapped loudly, and I felt a severe pain in my right foot! I let out a yelp and looked down at my foot. My big toe had been caught in a rat trap! My mother came running into the bedroom, saw my predicament, and began laughing. 

“Aha!  Got caught, didn’t you!” 

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus had been prepared for snoops. How did they know to do that? Isn’t it amazing how parents know their children? We had no mouse or rat problem in our house, so I know they suspected there might be a big Christmas rat digging around in their closet. 

Painful Lesson

Amazing! I was caught red-toed and found out. I learned my lesson, and I never again tried to snoop or find if gifts were hidden, or even what I might expect in the way of presents.  

Surprises are always much more enjoyable. And I learned that Someone is always watching and knows me better than I know myself.”  

“Be sure your sins will find you out.”  Numbers 32:23

(c) 2010, Bob Barlow, condensed from Just Remembering…, Used by permission, All Rights Reserved

My brother Bob graciously allowed me to use this true tale from his book that he recently wrote called Just Rememberin’. I also asked for his permission to make the book available for sale on my blog. Bob describes his book as a collection of personal memories and experiences over a lifetime. Each story is tied to a Scripture passage, with the desire to turn the reader’s heart to the Word of God, and to the realization that all of God’s creations are for us to observe and to enjoy.” 

If you’d like to read more of his stories like “Preacher with a Gun,” “The Dorm’s on Fire,” and others, the book sells for $10.00 with $3.50 shipping. For more information on the book and how to purchase it, you can e-mail Bob at or me at There’s still time before Christmas!

Blog Series Coming Dec. 1:

25 Prayers for Christmas

What About You? Share Your Christmas Memories.

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? Humorous? Serious? Share them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about them. So would other readers!

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    One Response to “The Christmas Rat”

    1. JASON FROM BORONIA VICTORIA AUSTRALIA on November 29th, 2010 12:38 pm

      I remember spending one Christmas in Tasmania Australia with my father’s aunt and uncle. Dad Mum and I went to My father’s Aunt Ivy’s house where Dad and I played Criket (Australian Summer Sport) in the fruntyard, Now God Rest Uvy’s Sole.

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