The Christmas holidays were on my mind as the class mates
at our little rural school began to talk of what they hoped
to receive for Christmas gifts.

We lived in a small village where most all of our folks were
poor, but as the 1950's progressed, there was the ability
to better ourselves financially if only a little. I noticed
that my Dad often helped area farmers when he could &
accepted no pay from them. He was a big man of six feet
tall and around two hundred pounds. He made hard work
seem easy, but always taught me that working hard was

As Christmas time drew closer, I was not permitted to
go up into the attic of our house. Little did I know that
my Dad & Step- Mom were storing gifts there. You see,
my Step-Mom came from a very large family of 15
children. They were a fairly close family & we always
had company at Christmas.

Usually, we had at least five to eight guests spending the
night with us. The days leading up to this event were
magical for our little family of three. Cookies of many
kinds were stored in tin cans and our house was decorated
to capacity. There was not a window or door that did not
have some type of decoration.

We had a huge fireplace mantle and it held stockings
hanging from little nails, there were beautiful candles of
assorted sizes mingling with fresh greenery that had been
brought from the forest nearby. Wherever the eyes looked,
there were bright shining colors of the season.

We had a ritual in our family of going into the forest &
hunting the prettiest pine tree that we could find. My dad
would tie a red piece of cloth around the trunk of the tree so
we would know that was the one we would cut down exactly
7 days before Christmas. He marked the area that we had
been in and as the day came for chopping the tree arrived,
we three eagerly put the tree on the roof of Dad's car and
drove home.

The massive tree filled the corner of our living room and
reached to the top of the 11 foot high ceilings. One was nearly
overwhelmed with the delightful scent of pine as you entered
our home. We carefully took the glass ornaments from their
boxes ,being cautious not to break them and gingerly placed
them on the tree. Oh what a breathtaking sight that was to my
little girl eyes.

The relatives arrived bearing gifts for everyone and the gifts
from the attic were brought down and added with all of the
others. We did indeed feel rich materially at that time. I
had never seen so many presents under a tree.

I was telling some school mates about all the gifts and with
much excitement we shared our wishes and dreams. I noticed
a girl that had not gone to our school for long, she was
standing sort of by herself and not giggling like the rest of 
my class mates. I asked her what she was getting for
Christmas, and she said, I don't think we will have

The next day, a note was sent home with each student in our
class. The teachers explained about the plight of this little
girl & her siblings. Mother's began sending things to school
with no names of the donors. My Step-Mom gave my new dress
to that girl and she looked so pretty when she wore it.

I was taught a valuable lesson that year, give to others and
the giving will be one of the best gifts you will ever get.
I have long since forgotten the little girls name, but I will
never forget the total happiness and joy on her young face.

Ann Marie Fisher
November 2006

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, and running over
will be put into your bosom. For with the same
measure that you use, it will be measured
back to you.





Song "Holly Ivy" Courtesy of Christmas Midis


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