Dixie Darr

My Literary Advent Calendar, Day Twelve

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2016 at 8:25 pm

little-houseThursday, December 8, 2016

Many years ago I spent Christmas Day with a friend who had three little boys. I have rarely been as disgusted as I was watching the kids open their gifts. They would rip the wrappings off in a frenzy, and as soon as they saw what it was, throw it aside and reach for the next one, showing no appreciation for either the gift or the giver. When they had opened the last gift, they tore through the discarded wrapping paper frantically searching for more.

Okay, they were little kids, all under six, but I never wanted to see that behavior again.

I almost felt as if I never wanted to see that family again.

Contrast that with the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Christmas on the Prairie when she was six. Pa brought home a big turkey for their dinner, but heavy rains swelled the creek, making it impassable for Santa or even Mr. Edwards who was invited for dinner to come. Ma reminded them that “they were lucky little girls, to have a good house to live in, and a warm fire to sit by, and such a turkey for their Christmas dinner.”

“Laura and Mary tried not to mind too much,” so it was a great surprise when Mr. Edwards arrived the next morning, shivering and teeth rattling. He had carried his clothes on his head to swim the freezing creek.

“Your little ones had to have a Christmas,” he explained, so he had met Santa in Independence and brought the girls’ presents. The closed their eyes while Ma put the gifts in their stockings.

Each girl received a shiny tin cup to drink from so they would no longer have to share. The stockings also contained a stick of peppermint candy, and a heart-shaped cake, plus in the toe was a bright new penny. The girls could not even imagine such riches.

Now, I know things have changed since the nineteenth century, and it’s a rare child today who would be thrilled to receive a tin cup and a penny from Santa. I also know there are children in our town today who don’t get much more than that.

Nothing warms my heart more than children who understand that they have more than enough, feel grateful for that, and want to share their bounty with others.

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