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

TITLE: A Wild West Christmas
By Jan Christiansen


I sat on the steps of my mobile home and let the tears fall. Christmas was just two weeks away, we were broke and I was in the mood for a full-blown pity party.

Living in Arizona made it hard to work up any Christmas spirit. Back home in Ohio the snow would be falling, fireplaces would be roaring and family would be gathering regularly to celebrate the holiday season. Our church would be preparing for the Christmas Cantata, but unlike the previous 7 years, I would not be a part of it.

Our first Christmas since moving out west was a real shocker. Warm, sunny days, plastic snowmen propped up next to saguaro cactus and the local Santa Claus dressed in a cowboy hat and boots were not my idea of an idyllic Christmas.

I had managed to sneak enough money from the budget for one small gift each for my daughter and my husband, but we didn’t even have enough money for a Christmas tree.

“Stop it, Jan.” I scolded.

I reminded myself that I had a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, a home to live in and a God who love me. Still I whined

“God, can’t you at least help us to get a Christmas tree?”

Hearing no reply, I picked up my sagging spirits and went inside.

That night I was awakened by a wild dust storm. I could hear the wind whipping the dirt against the metal siding on the trailer and a horrible scratching sound that I couldn’t identify.

In the morning we went out to survey the damage. I laughed out loud when I saw the source of the mysterious scratching sound. A huge tumbleweed had blown up against the house. I picked it up and took it inside.

“Mom, what are you going to do with that?” my daughter asked.

“It’s our Christmas Tree,” I said. “God answered my prayer.”

I ignored the obvious eye-roll that passed between my husband and my daughter. I was going to make this work.

We dug out the box of Christmas decorations and put on some Christmas music. I hung the tumbleweed from the ceiling with red yarn and we proceeded to wind a strand of mini-lights among the thorny branches and finished it off with some hand-made decorations.

We were on a roll.

I mixed up some cookie dough, popped it into the oven and soon the house was filled with the wonderful aroma of Christmas cookies.

It was a strange Christmas, to be sure, but the three of us often look back on it as our all-time favorite.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform."

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This article has been read 405 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart10/16/08
A tumbleweed for a Christmas tree? Unique idea and love it! I enjoyed the mc's voice and spirit.
Seema Bagai 10/16/08
Quite a unique tree you wrote about. I enjoyed thispiece.
Gregory Kane10/20/08
Hey, I was expecting a decorated cactus!
Great sense of contrast between Ohio and Arizona - guess that Jesus didn't have any snow either
Christine Dunn10/21/08
Well written. I liked the description of the plastic snowman standing next to the cactus. It gave me a real picture of what this Christmas must have been like.