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

TITLE: For Mom
By Amanda Ewing


It was two weeks until Christmas, and our family was the only house on the block without fancy lights and blowup characters decorating the outside. My mother, was a single mom, just trying to take care of her two girls the best she could. She worked two full time jobs, just to make ends meet, and I knew money was tight. It looked like there probably wouldn’t be enough in the budget this year to buy presents, yet alone a tree, which happened to beLayla, my little sisters’, favorite part of Christmas, decorating the tree.

Mom was working late that night, so I picked up Layla from school on their last day before Christmas break. She had a whole backpack full of Christmas crafts her first grade class had made, and she was full of excitement as she told me about each one and how she made it. Then she got to the tree ornaments, and the question I had been dreading finally came. “O, Bailey”, she said dolefully, “How am I gonna hang these up on the tree, when we don’t even have one?”. I knew it would break her heart to tell her we wouldn’t be able to get one this year, so I didn’t. I stared ahead at the road, as I quickly prayed to God, asking him for some kind of idea or suggestion. Then I turned to Layla and told her “Let’s listen to God and maybe he’ll let us in on a secret to help us out.” She smiled and sat with her hands in her lap, eyes shut, listening closely.

I looked over at Layla and smiled, so proud of her faith, and glanced down at her backpack on the floor zipped open and full of her creations. Then I heard a whisper in my heart, “Make a tree.“. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? We had lots of scraps lying around the house, and Layla needed to see that we could use our own imagination to create things.

We pulled into our vacant lot and I let Layla in on the secret God gave me. I told her that we were going to make a tree. “Bailes”, she giggled, “I don’t think that’s going to work. Christmas is really soon. Don’t trees take forever to grow?” I chuckled and said, “No sweetheart, we’re not going to grow one. We’re going to use different things we have lying around the house to create a tree.” .

I could tell her head was swarming with ideas because she smiled real big and ran into the house to get to work. I had my own thinking to do. What in the world was I going to use for the tall brown trunk thing in the middle? I went to have a look in the shed, and I glanced around looking for something tall and brown, and there it was, standing in the corner, a rake! Perfect! I grabbed it and went to find Layla.

Layla was sitting in the middle of her room with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” propped open to the page of the decorated tree. Piled all around her was red and green construction paper, all different shaped scissors, glue sticks, tape, and glitter. “Good job Layla. You’re on the right track!” I told her.

I cut out a bunch of strips of green construction paper while she glittered them up. After we were finished creating the “branches”, we taped them on the rake. Then I made red paper chains, while Layla popped some popcorn, and we sat on the couch singing Christmas carols, as we strung the popcorn on the string. We wrapped the popcorn and paper chains all around our tree, and Layla hung up her ornaments the best she could.

By the end of the night we had finally finished, and were blissfully exhausted. We stepped back to look at our creation propped up in the corner, and we were so proud of our little paper tree. I knew it would be a great surprise for Mom to come home to. Layla and I fought to stay awake for Mom’s reaction, but were unsuccessful and both fell asleep on the couch. Mom walked in the front door that night, and a tear started rolling down her cheek as she saw her two beautiful daughters sound asleep, in front of the most precious tree she’s ever seen.

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Member Comments
Member Date
lynn potter10/18/08
glourious, inspiring, wonderful
Coryn Princevalle10/20/08
oh this was just sensational, very heartwarming. you've got talent kiddo. I just hope you don't have to make a Christmas tree this year ;)
C.L. Holcomb10/23/08
Beautiful story. Iwas right there with them.