Inspiring Christmas Story: The Night of Oranges

A Christmas story about a mom and her daughter on the run from their abusive father. They have no food, but they find an abandoned house with oranges and decide to stay there for the night. The young girl is scared of what might happen if she cooks something that smells like home so she gets some help from a kind old man who tells them how good life will be when he’s reunited with his family in heaven one day.,

A Christmas story is a short piece of fiction that typically features a family or group of characters celebrating the holiday season. “The Night of Oranges” is a short, inspiring story about how one man’s life changes when he gives away his oranges to strangers on Christmas Eve. Read more in detail here: a christmas story.

Oranges shining in night christmas light.

In 1995, the following piece was published in the New York Times. I remember it having a strong effect on me as a young man for reasons I couldn’t fully express at the time, and I cut it out and preserved it ever since. This tale gives a sad antidote and needed perspective to a time when the holidays have become too marketed and devoid of true emotion. It was written by Flavius Stan, a 17-year-old Romanian exchange student residing in New York City at the time, and it teaches about sacrifice, love for one’s family, and gratitude for what one has.


Night of the Oranges

Flavius Stan’s work

It’s Christmas Eve 1989 in Timisoara, and the ice is still soiled from the revolutionaries’ boots. The tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu had been ousted just a few days previously, and he was set to be killed by firing squad on Christmas Day. I’m with my friends in the city center, which is now devoid of the masses who gathered outside the cathedral during the worst of the violence. My pals and I continue to hear gunshots from time to time. We want to watch a movie, and our frigid hands are gray like the sky above us.

There’s a report that oranges will be available for purchase tonight. Hundreds of individuals have already formed a queue. Under the old Communist government, we were used to long queues for bread, meat, and everything else. Families would have to wait for rationed products for much of the day. We used to take turns holding our family’s position in line for an hour or more when we were kids.

This sentence, however, is unique. In Romania, there are youngsters who have never seen an orange. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A youngster will be content for a week if he or she is given the opportunity to eat a single orange. It will also make him a hero in his friends’ eyes. Someone is selling oranges by the kilo for the first time.

I suddenly feel compelled to accomplish something significant: I want to surprise my brother. I want him to have a lot of oranges at the table for Christmas since he is just eight years old. I’d want my parents to be proud of me as well.

As a result, I phone home and inform my parents that I would be late. I abandon my plans to see the movie, abandon my pals, and join the queue.

People are not as quiet, unhappy, or disappointed as they were before the revolution; instead, they are conversing with one another about life, politics, and the country’s new predicament.

The oranges are sold out of a grocery store’s rear door. The clerk has risen from relative obscurity to surprising prominence. In front of his supporters, he behaves like a movie star as he holds the oranges.

As he directs the other employees where to go and what to do, he gestures his arms exaggeratedly. I can’t help but gaze at the mound of cardboard boxes that towers above me. In my whole life, I had never seen so many oranges.


It’s finally my time. I’ve been waiting for six hours and it’s now 8 o’clock. My thoughts has been jumping from the oranges in front of me to my brother and back to the oranges for what seems like an eternity. I pass over the money intended for the movie and watch as each orange is tossed into my bag. I attempt to count them, but I can’t remember how many there are.

The thought of oranges has gotten the best of me. I tuck the bag inside the inner pocket of my coat, as though I want to soak up their warmth. They’re not too heavy, and I have a feeling this will be the nicest Christmas I’ve ever had. I begin to consider how I will give my gift.

When I get home, my father greets me and opens the door. When he sees the oranges, he is astonished, so we decide to keep them hidden until supper. That night, after dessert, I give my brother the gift. There is complete silence in the room. They can’t believe what they’re hearing.

They are not touched by my brother. He is terrified of simply looking at them. It’s possible they aren’t genuine. Perhaps, like everything else these days, they are an illusion. Before he may touch one of the oranges, we have to inform him that he can eat them.

I look at my brother while he eats the fruits. They are oranges that belong to me. My parents are pleased with my accomplishments.