Judy’s Christmas Present
Judy held open the door to the sitting room and watched Dad carefully place the pot with the green fir tree, in the open space where it stood each Christmas.
“Come on, Sam”, Judy called to her younger brother, “let’s help Dad decorate the tree.”
“How many more days left for Christmas?” Sam asked.
Mom joined them, carrying the decorations for the tree. After placing them on the side table, she tousled Sam’s hair, and putting up three fingers, said, “This many, Sam.”
“One, two, three,” he said, counting aloud as he touched each finger.
“Dad, can I pass you the tinsel?” Judy asked, her eyes glowing as she draped strings of coloured tinsel on her arm.
“Yes,” Dad replied and added, “and then you and Sam can hang the coloured balls on the lower branches.”
“Daddy, I love Christmas time. I wish we could keep the tree here all year,” Judy said.
“If we saw it all year round,” Dad said, “we wouldn’t have fun decorating it next Christmas.”
“I think it’s just as much fun to undress the tree when Christmas is over and put the decorations away for next year,” Mom said.
When the tree was fully decorated, Dad turned off the overhead light and switched on the lights of the tree.
The family stood silently in the darkened room to watch the tiny lights glow and dim in turn.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow, Mom,” Judy said on Christmas Eve, when Mom tucked her into bed.
“I know,” Mom replied before turning out the light, “but get some sleep now because tomorrow will be a busy day. Look! Sam’s already fast asleep.”
Judy snuggled under the blankets. I wonder if Father Christmas will bring me what I asked for in my letter, she thought.
She was so excited and could hardly get to sleep, but presently her eyelids drooped and she fell asleep.
Next morning Judy and Sam crept out of bed and tiptoed to the living room.
“Hush!” she whispered to Sam, putting her finger to her lips and quietly opening the door.
She smiled when she saw the neatly wrapped presents lying around the tree. She spotted her presents for Mom and Dad. “I hope they like the things I made at school,” she said to Sam.
“Do you think those two, big presents are for me?” Sam asked.
“I don’t know Sammy, but we better not spy. Let’s get back to bed before Mom comes,” she said.
Both children crept back to bed and snuggled under the covers. After a few minutes, they heard Mom’s footsteps in the kitchen and then climb the stairs to their bedroom.
“Mom’s coming! Mom’s coming!” Judy said, and pulled the covers over her head. Sam did the same.
“Merry Christmas, my darlings,” Mom said, bursting into the room.
“Merry Christmas, Mom,” Judy and Sam said together, sitting up to hug her.
“Come on, my angels, let’s go to the living room”, she said, and helped Sam put on his dressing gown and thick socks. Judy was quick to wear her gown and stood by the door to follow Mom and Sam to the living room.
“Merry Christmas,” Dad said, bending down to hug them. “Shall we have breakfast first and then open our presents?” he asked, looking form one to the other.
“No, no,” they said together, “let’s open them now.”
Mom and Dad sat on the couch as Judy and Sam took turns to fetch one present at a time. Mom read the note and handed the present to the owner.
There were three presents for Sam, three for Mom and three for Dad, but just one for Judy, from Sam. She looked around the tree and under it, and no, there were no more presents.
Judy bit her lip and tried to smile. “I think Father Christmas forgot to read my letter,” she said, near to tears.
Dad unwrapped his presents. “Thank you, Judy for this lovely pencil holder,” he said, turning the painted clay pot around in his hands. “Did you make it?”
She nodded. Then Mom opened her parcel, which Judy had wrapped in shiny, red and green paper. “Thank you love,” she said, admiring the green felt spectacle case. “I know you made it. It’s lovely and I needed it.”
Sam thanked her for his metal mini cars.
Judy opened her present, from Sam, which was a pair of blue, woollen gloves. “Thanks, Sammy,” she said, putting them on the table without looking up.
“Is there another present for Judy?” Dad asked, looking puzzled.
Mom looked around and shook her head.
“You can play with my train and draw with my coloured pencils,” Sam said, coming to her side.
Just then, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll see who it is,” Mom said, going to the front door.
When she returned she was holding a basket. “It’s for you, Judy. The note is from Father Christmas. One of his helpers brought it,” she said, handing the basket to Judy.
Judy took the basket and lifted the soft, wool blanket. She was speechless from surprise as she looked into the basket.
“What is it, love?” Mom and Dad asked together.
“It’s the most beautiful kitten in the world!” Judy exclaimed. “I love her!”
She put the basket on the floor and held the tiny black kitten to her cheek.
“Isn’t she cute,” Mom said.
“Is it the present you asked Father Christmas to bring you?” Dad asked.
“Yes, Dad, it’s what I really wanted,” she replied with a bright smile. “Father Christmas did read my letter.”
“He is very wise to have it delivered it this morning because the kitty couldn’t have stayed in the basket under the tree all night long.”
“This is the best Christmas present, ever,” Judy said with the kitten cuddled on her lap.
“Dad and I have another present for you, love,” Mom said, handing her a flat parcel wrapped in Christmas paper.
“What is it, Mom?” Judy asked.
“Open it and you’ll see,” Dad urged.
Judy carefully untied the gold ribbon and read the book title.
“How to Care for Your Kitten,” she read aloud. “How did you know that Father Christmas would give me a kitten?” she asked.
“Well, you remember you told me what you asked Father Christmas for in your letter?” Mom said. Judy nodded. “Well, I know that children who’ve been good always get the presents they ask for, so I thought I’d buy you a book to for you to learn how to care for your kitty.”
“Can we read it together, Mom?” Judy asked.
“Of course, love. We’ll read it with Dad and Sammy when we’ve had our Christmas dinner,” Mom agreed.
Judy showed the kitten to Sam and allowed him to caress it before she gently put it in the basket. “I’ll call her Lucky,” she said, “because black cats bring good luck.”
“This is the best Christmas present, ever!”she said once more.
Story by: Lilian Gardner
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