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A little boy lay upon his bed playing with one of those old time games where you write on a cellophane sheet then pull it up to remove the writing. The little boy had been playing for some time while his mother was sitting nearby reading some holiday books to the other children. The family had little money. Their father, the breadwinner in those days, was paid a meager salary, yet the children never knew of that fact. The children loved their parents and believed that they had the most wonderful family, because they all felt cherished. Clothes were always available for the children, although not always in style; and there was always enough food, even if that meant an occasional meal of Brussels sprouts with liver. This overall was quite an accomplishment, as the family was quite large, six children total at the time, with more to come. Christmas was coming, however, and the children’s eyes were bright and eager. The boy asked his mother, “Why is Christmas just once a year, Momma?” His mother stopped her reading, smiled at her son, and said, “Christmas is all year long, but we take this one day to celebrate what Christmas means to us all.” The boy smiled, and the mother kept reading the book, The Littlest Angel, to the children.

The next day at school, “What do you want for Christmas,” was the question of the day for all the children. Later, children were shopping with their parents, talking about what they’d seen on the television, wishing to receive the best gift of all. The children in this family were somewhat different. “What can we do for grandfather this year?” one child asked, while another stated, “I wish to make some potholders for Granny Grace’s present.” Mother smiled and suggested that this year they make some paperweights for all the grandfathers and uncles. The children were delighted. First mother had saved a number of Gerber baby food jars, and they were all placed on the table, clean and shiny. The children were offered an assortment of plastic flowers from which to choose, and then Mother offered each child a ball of clay. The children molded the clay ball and placed it firmly on the baby jar lid.

As the children sat around the table with their mother, they talked about upcoming school events, what they plan to do on Christmas vacation, particularly Christmas Eve. “Will we have shrimp again this year for dinner?” one boy asked. “And, ice cream cake roll, too?” asked another. “Yes,” said their mother, “and, ice cream cake roll, too.” The children took the flowers they had chosen, and as they had observed their mother do, they placed them carefully into the molded clay on the baby jar lid, with the result looking like some small but pretty garden. The mother then assisted each child, as he or she filled the baby jar with water and carefully squeezed in beautiful Christmas glitter. Once that task had been completed, the mother assisted the children again when necessary, and the lid with the clay and flowers was carefully inserted into the jar filled with water and glitter and screwed on snugly. Presto, a beautiful paperweight snow globe with glitter to give to the grandfathers and uncles for Christmas! The children were delighted with their handmade gifts. The children all felt a sense of completion and very real sense of giving as they looked at their completed gifts, accomplishments of a family working together.

Many years later, one of the children had gone to visit the grandfather and grandmother. He was an adult now as well. Entering into his grandfather’s study, he smiled as he looked upon his grandfather’s desk, while his grandfather sat in his high-backed chair smoking his cigar. There on the desk was the snow globe he had made as a child. He remarked to his grandfather, “I’m surprised that you still have thing, Grandpa.” His grandfather smiled and said, “It’s one of my most prized possessions,” and stood up, taking his grandson by the hand. He led him into the kitchen where his grandmother was making coffee. The grandfather pulled open a drawer near the coffee pot and pulled out the coasters that the children also had made many years ago. “Your grandmother won’t use any coaster except for these, son. These must be over fifteen years old, too,” grandfather smiled.

Later on, following his visit, he thought about Christmas when he was a boy. He could not remember the gifts he had purchased as a child, but he could remember all the gifts he and his siblings had made for others with their mother’s gifted guidance. Thus, as was noted in The Littlest Angel book, it is sometimes the smallest gifts that are the most human and most sincere. Remember Christmas as a time for giving, and give from the heart. Help your children to learn to do so as well. They and others will remember it always.

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