Don't let my answer stop you from reading this great story about memories of Christmas. Really, the big theme of this story is all about the inevitable and inexorable passing of time and how life moves on, how the young grow up and the old get older and die. Unfortunately, this is what happens to the narrator's "friend," who gets older and older and more confused until, as the narrator writes, "the inevitable happened." Of course, this sad ending is linked with the narrator's own growth and development into the man that he becomes as he goes to military school and becomes separate from his past. As Buddy writes, "Life separates us," realizing the way in which no moment is forever and how outside forces inevitably move us on into different stages of life. However, this story is above all a pageant to the powers of nostalgia and the importance of memories of good times to sustain us in the bad times ahead.
Buddy's friend dies at the end of the story when he is at military school.