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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

By Norma-Anne Hough


“I don’t want you to have a Christmas tree,” Jamie announced as he stormed into my bedroom.
Putting my arms out I pulled him onto my lap and held him as he burst into tears. My tears too were silently falling, as I knew very well what had prompted this outburst. Jamie’s parents, my sister and her husband had been killed last Christmas in a horrific accident, caused by a drunken driver.

“Jamie, I know how sad you are and if you do not want a tree we shall not have one.”
“It’s not fair Aunty Anne” he sobbed, “all the kids at school talk about these days, is Christmas trees, lights and presents.”
I smiled as I remembered Jamie being amongst the first to boast about his Christmas tree.

“I miss them as much as you do,” I gently told him.
Looking up into my eyes he said, “You even knew them longer.”
“Yes I sure did.”
“Do you think they have trees in heaven?” he innocently asked.

Laughing I hugged him and suggested we go into the kitchen for some lunch. As we walked through to the kitchen, I wondered how to deal with this issue.
“Father please give me wisdom,” I silently whispered.

The back door burst open and Dylan my eldest son entered, closely followed by his three best friends.
“Hi big boy” he greeted Jamie giving him a high five.
Planting a kiss on my cheek, he walked over to the fridge, looking for food.
“Dylan, I told Aunty Anne I didn’t want a Christmas tree.”
Jamie said.

“NO YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS” cried Dylan in mock horror.
“How will Father Christmas know where to put our presents?”
Peter gently bent down and lifted Jamie up onto the counter.
“We thought you might like to come with us to find a tree.”
“We could really use your help.” Cal added.
“Perhaps even go to the Milky Bar for a double shake.” Brian added.
The door opened and Gaby and Mandy walked through.
The twins were happy to see Dylan and his friends.
“What’s up?” they asked, walking up to Jamie and hugging him.

“He want’s to steal our Christmas tree,” Dylan said rolling his eyes back.
“Stop being an idiot Dylan,” Mandy replied. “I’m sure Jamie has a good reason.”
“Mummy might be sad if I have a tree” Jamie replied, his little lip quivering.

“No baby, mummy would not be sad. She would want you to be happy.” Gaby told him, trying herself not to cry.
“Why don’t you all go and have a look at the trees, if Jamie is still sure he doesn’t want a tree then we will leave it.” I suggested.
They agreed and off they went.

“Father God, please help Jamie through this. Surround him with your love. This will be a difficult one for us all, yet I know we can get through this.” I prayed. Losing my twin sister had taken a part of me, yet caring for Jamie had healed my heart. Marion and her husband had traveled extensively before settling down hence the huge age gap between Jamie and his cousins.

Hearing laughter I went to open the door, there they were with the biggest tree I had ever seen. Dylan also had also taken Jamie to buy some special decorations that he wanted. They had also brought him a red Santa Claus hat.

They took the tree into the family room and got the old decorations out. Soon the sound of happy laughter accompanied by the singing of Christmas carols rang out.

“Here’s to Jamie our own Christmas Grinch who tried to steal our tree” Dylan toasted.
“Hooray for Jamie,” they shouted.

Later that evening once Jamie was asleep I crept back into the family room. The Christmas tree was truly beautiful. Sitting beneath the tree, I felt a peace descend upon me. I suddenly became aware of Dylan, Gaby and Mandy.
“Thank you all for what you did today.”
Looking at them, I saw tears running down their cheeks.
“Mum it could so easily have been you,” Gaby whispered.
Holding her close I realized how blessed I had been, not only to have not gone with that night but also to have the children I did.

Dedicated with love to all those who have lost loved ones over the festive season. May God fill your hearts with His love and peace this Christmas and always.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Hannah Hunter10/18/08
This is a good reminder that not everyone has a happy Christmas.
Leslie Schonfeld10/19/08
Beautifully written. I felt your compassion for all who have lost a loved one.
Marijo Phelps10/20/08
Very well done - you took us with you into the emotions and the healing - I'd like to adopt those kids! Real and touching.
Sharlyn Guthrie10/20/08
This is a touching tale. I enjoyed your telling of it, however I think you could improve it with better paragraph divisions and more careful placement of commas. I'd like to read more about the kids. Keep up the great work!
Celeste Ammirata10/20/08
This is a touching story of grief and moving on. I felt drawn to this family. Nicely done.
Valarie Sullivan10/21/08
Bittersweet, and very touching.
Kenneth Heath10/23/08
Hi Norms,

Congratulations on your placement.I really enjoyed this story. It is nice to see you getting back into the swing of things. Love to you, Dave and the family,