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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: Family Tree
By Chrissi Dunn


Thereís this really weird smell of cinnamon and pine in family number nineís lounge. Stephen brought a huge, real Christmas tree in and propped it at the bay window. Apparently itís some tradition in the Campbell house to spend the whole evening as a family decorating the tree. Such fun (not!). They took down loads of boxes from the attic, and put Christmas music on. Little Lauren was dancing around. She was so excited about it.

Iíd never helped put up a Christmas tree before. My job was to open boxes, and unwrap all the decorations from the tons of tissue theyíd been wrapped in. Every time I unpacked one, Emma, my new foster Mom would point out some story about it. They were all old, and had been carried down through the generations of her family. Some of them were even hand-made by her grandmother - not that I really wanted to know. Iíll not be here long enough for it to mean anything.


No change with Moody Judy today. She couldnít even get into the festive spirit, decorating the tree. She just sat on the floor, sighing every time she had to unwrap a decoration, like it was the most boring chore in the world. I even heard her say a bad word under her breath.

All I wanted was a sister I could play with. I donít know why Mom and Dad brought her here. At least sheís going back to her own house for Christmas day.


Well it looks like Iím going to be staying with the Campbells over Christmas, since Momís in hospital. The neighbours found her lying comatose in the middle of the street, an empty bottle in her hand. I wonder if I even care if sheís okay or not. For some strange reason, I still do.

Stephen, Emma and Lauren are out Christmas shopping at the minute. I declined the offer to tag along. Iím just sitting here listening to my music, trying not to imagine what state Mom is in.


Judy has just ruined Christmas. We arrived home from shopping only to be met with the most horrible sight. Every single one of our beautiful Christmas decorations have been smashed to pieces on the floor! Even Great-Grandma Johnsonís porcelain cherubs lie in smithereens. I canít do anything but cry. New decorations can be bought, but a rich family history of Christmas tradition canít.

I really hope Judy goes soon.


I feel pretty bad about doing it. Stephen and Emma are a really nice couple and I donít like hurting them. I know thereís no excuse but I was in a bad mood after hearing about Mom. When I went into the lounge and saw that perfect tree, all of a sudden I just wanted to destroy it. So I took every single perfect little bauble and threw it on the floor. They shattered just like the bottles Mom once threw at me. Seeing that tree completely stripped bare somehow made me feel good, until I considered what Iíd done.

I know whatís going to happen next. Iíve packed my bags already. Perhaps itís better that I leave now anyway, before I get to know this lot.


Stephen and Emma came to talk to me. I asked them if Iíd be going back to Fairlawns home, and I was surprised when they said no. They said they werenít going to give up on me that easily. The other families once said that too. Stephen and Emma seem different though. They told me that they were called to be like Jesus. For once I didnít roll my eyes when they started the religious stuff. They said that Jesus hadnít turned his back on them, so they wouldnít do the same to me.

I feel so sorry for what Iíve done right now.


Judy has been given extra chores as a punishment. Mom and Dad spent ages talking to her in her room. Mom says I have to understand that she hasnít been taught all the good things that I have. She says God is teaching us a lesson in forgiveness.

Mom and I made new decorations from paper mache. I painted stripes on mine, then put family names on each one: Stephen, Emma, Lauren - and Judy.

When I gave Judy hers to hang on the tree, she looked so shocked. Then she actually smiled and thanked me, before placing her bauble next to mine.

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This article has been read 474 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke10/17/08
OOh, i really liked the two different prespectives as seen through the eyes of the children. Makes those of us who 'have' really appreciate the loss for those who 'have not' Great story!
Deborah Engle 10/20/08
Aside from wondering who was who, I found this to be a heart-tugging depiction of what Christmas can do to hurting peaople. Nice story.
Celeste Ammirata10/20/08
What a tender story about the miracle of love and forgiveness. I found it easy to follow who was talking. I like how Judy smiled when the other little girl handed her a bulb with her name, and how she hung the bulb next to her foster sisters. A very sweet, well written story.
Sheri Gordon10/21/08
I, too, got a little confused as to who was speaking. It was going back and forth, and then Judy spoke two times in a row.

I really like the format, though. The two perspectives is really good. And the thoughts of both girls seem very real.

Nice job with the topic.
Leah Nichols 10/23/08
It could use a little work, but it's well-written anyway. Nice job on this one! I enjoyed it. :)