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WHO STOLE THE CHRISTMAS COOKIES?
My brother Joey and I had just finished hanging our stockings by the fireplace one Christmas Eve, when the most disturbing thought crossed my
“Joey!” I shrieked.
“Did you know that we forgot something?”
“No we didn’t,” said Joey crossly. “We’ve got both our stockings hung up. What could we possibly have forgotten?”
“We forgot the cookies,” I explained to my seven year old brother, who happened to be older than me and who also happened to be more selfish than
“Cookies!” Joey laughed. “Why would you want to have cookies just before you go to bed?”
“They aren’t for me silly,” I declared. “They’re for Santa Claus.”
“Oh my!” Joey suddenly clued in. “Mom! Mom! We forgot to leave a snack for Santa! He’ll never leave me the racing car set if we don’t leave him a
snack. How could we have forgotten something so important?”
Mommy came running into the family room. She had flour allover her face and in her hair. She looked very funny.
“Children!” she cried. “What is all this screaming about? I’ve got to finish my pies. This had better be important.”
“Oh Mommy,” I said very seriously. “We forgot something.”
“Now Missy,” Mommy said, a bit impatiently. “What did we forget?”
“We forgot Santa’s snack,” Joey and I cried in unison.
“Oh my!” sighed Mommy. “Santa’s snack! How did we ever forget that? Come on children, let’s go into the kitchen.”
Joey and I followed Mommy into the kitchen. We both sat down at the table while she got out the milk and poured Santa a big heaping glass full.
Then she went to the pantry to get the cookie jar and she set it on the table.
“Now,” said Mommy. “You two each pick out a cookie for Santa and put them on the saucer.”
I let Joey pick out the first cookie. Very carefully, he took the lid off the ceramic jar and set it on the table. He reached deep into the jar
and then he let out the loudest scream that we had ever heard.
“There are no more cookies left!” he cried.
“That’s impossible!” Mommy said, as she picked up the cookie jar and examined it. “I just baked a fresh batch this afternoon. Where could they
be? Who stole the Christmas cookies?”
Just then, Daddy walked into the kitchen. He had a plate full of Christmas cookies in one hand and an empty glass in the other.
“I just came up to get another drink of milk,” he said as he walked over to the refrigerator. “These cookies are really great!”
Mommy dropped the cookie jar onto the floor.
“No!” she cried. “Don’t eat those cookies! We need them for Santa Claus!”
Daddy gladly gave up his cookies for such a worthwhile cause when he saw the look of anguish on our faces. Joey and I put the cookies on the
table beside the glass of milk and then we went to bed to dream of sugar plums, Santa Claus and those cookies, all night long.
THE TALE OF MAD DOG’S CHRISTMAS
Christmas Eve was falling over the Big Dark Forest. It was so peaceful and quiet. The peacefulness was enough to put everyone into the Christmas
spirit, no matter how big, bad and mean they were.
Mad Dog, the wolf, was sitting all alone in his dingy old den. All he had in his den was a bed, table and a little lamp. He had no room for anything
else. His den was too small.
Mad Dog sat on his bed, singing Christmas carols out of a school book that he had stolen the previous day from Racum Raccoon. Mad Dog had tears in his
eyes as he sang.
“Here it is Christmas Eve,” he sobbed. “I am all alone again. Every year it is the same old thing. I have no-one to care about and no-one cares about
me. I wish that just once, someone would care about me.”
He sang the Christmas carols until he sadly fell asleep.
Meanwhile, far off in another part of the Big Dark Forest, Racum Raccoon and his parents were putting the gifts under their Christmas tree.
“Well, I believe that is all the gifts until Santa comes,” said Mr. Raccoon.
“No, it isn’t,” spoke up little Racum. “There is just one more gift. I didn’t know what I should do with it, so I just left it under my bed.”
“Well dear,” Mrs. Raccoon said. “Why don’t you bring it down? I’m sure we can find some room for it under our tree, somewhere.”
Racum went up to his bedroom and crawled under his bed. Amongst all the dust and his toys, Racum found the gift. It was a beautifully wrapped gift
with shiny red foil paper and a nice big gold bow and ribbon on it. Attached to the gift was a tag marked: “To Mad Dog”.
Every Christmas, Racum had always wondered what Mad Dog did over the Christmas holidays. Christmas was meant to be spent with your family and friends.
Mad Dog was short in family and extra short on friends.
Mad Dog’s family deserted him when he was just a pup, because he was just too big and too bad and too mean. He used to beat his brother up for no
reason at all. He also used to pull his little sister’s hair. He was told by his father many times to stop picking on his brother and sister but he
would not listen. Mad Dog came home one day from fishing and found his family had left him. As for friends, Mad Dog has never had one.
Racum felt sorry for Mad Dog. He knew it must be terribly lonely going through life with nobody to care for. He just could not imagine anyone not
having a Christmas. As far as Racum knew, Mad Dog had never had a real Christmas, EVER!
“Well, isn’t that sweet,” Mrs. Raccoon said when Racum returned with the parcel in his arms. “Imagine buying a gift for Mad Dog Wolf. I would never
have thought about getting him a gift.”
“That’s the reason I got him a gift,” explained Racum. “Nobody ever thinks about Mad Dog. He must be so lonely. I just bet that if Mad Dog had
somebody to care for him, then he wouldn’t be so mean to everyone.”
“You know, Racum,” Mr. Raccoon said. “You are probably right. Why don’t you go over to Mad Dog’s den and give him his Christmas gift? I’m sure he’ll
appreciate it. You may be right about him being so mean to everyone. If somebody would only take the time out to show him that they care, he just may
not be so mean.”
“While you are there, Racum,” added Mrs. Raccoon. “Why don’t you invite Mad Dog to spend Christmas with us? There is plenty of room and lots of
“Oh Mother!” Racum exclaimed. “Could I, could I really?”
“Yes Racum, I think that would be the best gift Mad Dog could ever receive,” said Mr. Raccoon. “Well, the second best gift.”
Racum Raccoon walked the distance to Mad Dog’s den. He was cold but very happy when he knocked on the door.
“Ah, who is it?” Mad Dog said sleepily.
“It’s Racum Raccoon. Please let me in. It’s cold outside.”
“Come on in,” Mad Dog said.
Racum entered Mad Dog’s dingy old den. It was smaller than Racum’s bedroom.
“Hi Mad Dog,” said Racum. “I have brought a Christmas gift for you.”
“For me? You must be mistaken,” sobbed Mad Dog.
There were tears in Mad Dog’s eyes as Racum handed the gift to him.
“Nobody has ever given me a gift before,” sobbed Mad Dog.
“Well, I suppose that nobody has ever given you a second thought, besides me. Every Christmas, I have wondered about you. Everyone else thinks that
you are just too mean to care about Christmas,” explained Racum.
“I really don’t like to be mean,” Mad Dog said honestly. “I just act mean, hoping that somebody will care enough to ask me to stop.”
“Well,” said Racum. “I care. So, I am telling you to stop being mean to people and then they would be nice to you.”
“I’ll try,” said Mad Dog. “I’ll really try.”\
“That’s all we can ask from you, Mad Dog,” commented Racum. “As long as you try your hardest, nobody will mind at all. Now, wipe those tears away and
open your gift.”
Mad Dog opened his gift. Inside the parcel was a bright orange lunch box with his name printed in big black letters.
“Oh Racum!” sobbed Mad Dog, once again. “Thank you. Now, I’ve got my own special lunch box. It even has my name on it!”
“You won’t have to steal anybody else’s now that you have one of your own. Open it up. There’s something else inside it.”
Mad Dog opened his new lunch box. Inside it was a pen, a pencil and eraser and a box of crayons, too.
“This is great!” exclaimed Mad Dog. “Now I have my own things for school. Thank you very much Racum. Oh, by the way, I have something to give you.”
“What is it?” asked Racum.
“It’s your Christmas carol book,” said Mad Dog as he handed the book to Racum. “I’m sorry. I stole it from you.”
“Thank you for returning it. You see, you are learning not to be mean already. Oh, by the way, my parents would like you to be our guest for Christmas
“I would love to!” said Mad Dog, overjoyed.
Racum and Mad Dog walked hand in hand through the Big Dark Forest to the Raccoon family’s house. They sang Christmas carols all the way there.
Mad Dog never had to steal from anyone ever again. Everyone in the Big Dark Forest learned to respect Mad Dog and he learned to respect them. They
also began to trust him and he in return, also trusted them. He became close friends with everyone in the Big Dark Forest and he is now living in a
bigger den and is very happy.
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O. Henry
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer
and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times
Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is
made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It
did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also
appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”
The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the
income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young
came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which
is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence
in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could
for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to
buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something
just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by
observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had
mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty
seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his
father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her
hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures
piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a
garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on
the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out
the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too
white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”
“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.
“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”
Down rippled the brown cascade.
“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
“Give it to me quick,” said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them
inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious
ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him.
Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that
chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on
account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work
repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her
reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could
I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”
At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard
his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the
simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a
family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that
she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been
prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving
you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s
be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”
“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”
Jim looked about the room curiously.
“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe
the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object
in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer.
The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me
like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears
and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell,
with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and
yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”
And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a
reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to
see how it looks on it.”
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the
money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”
The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas
presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely
related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their
house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive
gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
Danny Blessing was the youngest child of Daniel and Margaret Blessing who had 5 other children. Daniel and Margaret loved each of their children dearly and even though they did not have a lot of money they tried their best to make sure their children had everything they needed. Christmas was a very special time in the Blessing house and Margaret would do her best to make the holiday a very special time for her family. She would tuck away a few pennies here and there so that at Christmas time there was a little extra money to spend at the grocers on ingredients to bake Christmas cakes, cookies and squares with her children. None of them were sure what they enjoyed more the time they spent together creating the goodies or the time they spent eating them. While the family could afford little in the way of gifts, Daniel and Margaret would always manage a few gifts under the tree for each child. Margaret Blessing would often knit them new hats, mittens and scarves to unwrap at Christmas and Daniel would spend hours in his workshop making them something exciting like a go-cart or a rocking horse.
The entire Blessing family knew the true meaning of Christmas which is spending time with those your love and celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. The family would even volunteer their time to help those in need during the holidays and always had room at the Christmas dinner table for someone who was far from home or had no family to share Christmas with. The lives of this close knit family suddenly changed when their youngest child Daniel was diagnosed with cancer. Daniel would often pass by his mother’s room and hear her crying during those first days of hearing the diagnosis, he tried to be brave for her, and besides, cancer didn’t sound so bad, he would probably be over it in a few days just like every other time he got sick. Doctors in the small town Daniel lived in didn’t have much to offer the blessing family; they simply did not have the expertise to handle Danny’s needs. The doctors mentioned that there was a hospital over 6 hours away by train that had a very good success rate, but it was expensive, and very far away.
The Blessing family decided that no matter what it took they would find a way for Danny to get the very best treatment possible, so off they went to the children’s hospital by train. It was the first time that any of the Blessings had ever been on a train, in fact, none of them had every gone more than 50 miles from home before. Danny watched in amazement out of the train window as the train passed farmers fields, and crossed bridges and made short stops in small towns along the way. Danny felt like the luckiest boy alive on that trip into the big city because he was yet to understand what lay before him.
Danny’s mouth dropped when the taxi cab dropped them off at the front doors of the hospital. Never in his life had he ever been in a building this big! Mom grabbed Danny by the hand and went inside to the receptionist to ask for directions. The receptionist was very nice and gave his mom a map of the hospital and explained where she needed to go. The first stop was for blood work. The woman who took Danny’s blood explained everything she was going to do and asked him to be brave and he would hardly notice the prick of the needle. Danny didn’t even wince when she slid the needle into his vein, he was so proud of himself, and so were mom and dad! In fact, Danny’s mom and dad told him that they had never been so proud of him so he made sure to be extra good and not complain as they went from department to department getting tests. Finally it was time to go see Danny’s new doctor. Danny was a little upset when his mom and dad were whisked into the doctor’s office and he had to stay in the waiting room. That upset quickly disappeared when 16 year old Molly rushed into the room breathless and said “I’m so sorry I’m late, Molly smiled and walked over to Danny and said “Danny, my name is Molly and I am going to be your buddy while you are here. If you have any questions you can ask me and I will do my best to answer you as honestly as I can. In the meantime, come over here, they have a bunch of toys set up that you can play with while your parents are in meeting Dr. Foster.
Over an hour later, Dr. Foster’s office door opened and he called Danny over and asked him to come into the office. Molly quickly got up and followed Danny in. Dr. Foster’s office was big and had a lot of shelves with books on it and a big leather couch. Danny went to go sit on the couch and Molly sat beside him and grabbed his hand and smiled at him. Danny looked over at his mom and could tell she had been crying. At that point Dr. Foster went to sit beside Danny and started talking to him in a soothing voice. The doctor explained to Danny that he had leukemia and it was very serious. He explained to Danny that he would be need to spend a lot of his time here, but it would be ok because Molly would be his friend and all of the doctors and nurses would work very hard to make Danny well again. Danny’s mom then came over and knelt down in front of him. He could see the tears welling up in her eyes and begin to trickle down her face. She told him that he was much loved and sometimes things in life are not easy and sometimes people get sick and it doesn’t just go away on its own. She went on to say that Danny would need to spend time here at the hospital, away from home, but that they would visit as often as they could, and that being apart was not what they wanted, but rather it was their only option.
After many tears and hugs Danny waved goodbye to his parents and Molly grabbed his hand and walked him to his room. Although Danny’s room had all the normal medical equipment you would normally find in a hospital, the walls were painted a lively yellow and it had a blue border with rainbows along the top. There was a little table and chair set, a little wee couch built for someone his size and his very own TV.
It wasn’t until the next morning when he awoke in the hospital did Danny truly understood what being along felt like. He missed him mom and dad and his siblings too. He didn’t want to stay, he wanted to go home that very moment, but there was no way home and he just had to wait until his parent’s next visit. Surely they would take him home then. The next 3 weeks were very hard on Danny, he was adjusting to life without his family and he the doctors and nurses were always poking him with needles and the special medicine they gave him made him sick to his stomach. By the time Danny’s parents arrived, they hardly recognized their little boy. His hair was gone and his face appeared all puffy from the chemotherapy, but he still had a smile on his face and ran as fast as he could into his mother’s arms.
His mom sat him down and updated him on all the things that had happened at home since she last saw him. She explained that life was very hard without him, how deeply he was missed and how everyone was pulling together as a family to make sure Danny had everything he needed. Dad went out and got a second job and spent every spare moment building bird houses that he sold to local stores. Mom worked at the diner in town a couple of nights a week in addition to her other job and cleaned people’s homes whenever she could for extra money. Even his siblings took on jobs after school to help out with the enormous debt being incurred by Danny’s treatment. They had paper routes, made and sold cookies, but lawns and babysat. Everyone was pulling together for Danny, and all Danny needed to do was to rest and concentrate on getting better. The train fare to go and see Danny was expensive so this would be the last visit with both of his parents together. From now on, every other week Danny’s mom or dad would visit, but never both, and although his siblings loved him very much they simply could not afford train fair for them.
Danny was so sad, but he dared not show his parents. He kept telling them it was ok, but what he really wanted to do was hug his mom and never let go. Mom and Dad’s visit was short, and when they left he started to cry but soon enough the touch of a familiar hand was on his shoulder and he looked up, and there stood Molly, his buddy and new best friend. Danny buried his face in her shoulder and wrapped his arms around her and cried. Molly never said a word, she just hugged him back. What would he ever do without Molly? She was always there for him, always seemed to know when he needed her most, he could look in her eyes and know she understood and he never had to say a word. Finally Danny pulled back and Molly grabbed some tissue and gently wiped the tears from his face, then got another tissue and wiped them from her own. Danny looked at her for a long time and then finally said “Molly, why do you come here to see me and be my friend?” She smiled and said “everyone needs a friend in their lives and I want to be yours. That wasn’t good enough for Danny, so he pressed her, “but why me? Why would you want to be best friends with a boy with cancer” Molly looked down at the floor, she was trying to find the right words but knew there were no right words, only the truth so she said “Danny, have you ever wondered why I always seem to know the answers to your questions?” Danny nodded yes. “Danny, when I was your age, I too was in this hospital, I too had cancer. When I got better I decided that I wanted to be there for kids that went through what I did.” Danny looked at her long silky dark brunette locks and said “you were bald? I can’t believe that. She laughed, rubbed his bald head and said “Don’t let this hair fool you, I looked cute bald”. At that point Danny started to laugh, and so did she, and he knew things were going to be ok; he just needed to be patient.
The months came and went and it seemed with each passing day he missed his parents more. When the nurses started decorating the playrooms with Christmas decorations, he was eager to help out. One Saturday a nurse came into the hospital on her day off and together with Molly gathered up some of the children and baked Christmas cookies in the kitchen. It brought back memories from home and he walked with an ache in his heart, he missed home. When mom came to visit Danny got up the courage to ask her about Christmas, certainly Danny could go home for Christmas? The answer he got devastated him and sent him into uncontrollable sobs. Danny could not come home for Christmas, and not only that, but his parents would be unable to take the train up to see him. The cost of traveling during the holidays was so much that they simply could not afford a train ticket. Danny would be spending Christmas alone in the hospital.
There was nothing Molly could do that day to comfort Danny. No amount of hugs could take away the pain he felt in his heart about being alone. That night he cried himself to sleep. When he woke up his eyes were swollen from a long night of crying but he decided that he was going to be a big boy about the entire thing and try to get into the Christmas spirit. He started to make paper snowflakes that his older sister had taught him how to make and with the help of the nurses he managed to get snowflakes in every room on the ward. He even got some of the kids together to sing Christmas carols in front of the staff. Molly was always by his side, helping him, giving him inspiration and suggestions. The entire ward was alive with the true Christmas spirit, but one by one the children well enough to leave went home to spend Christmas with family and only a few children remained.
Christmas Eve arrived and the staff told Danny they had a very special surprise for him. He was so excited, what on earth could it be? They gave Danny some brand new clothes to put on and brought him down to the front of the hospital all bundled up against the cold. What on earth was he doing outside? Slowly a very large car pulled up and a man in a suit came out and walked around to open the car door for Danny and he said “Young Blessing, your ride awaits you”. Danny got in and motioned for Molly to follow him and she climbed in beside him. The car drove slowly through the streets and then to the outskirts of town. The car started to slow down even more and he looked outside to see a winter wonderland. Every tree was light up, the house shone like a star in twinkling lights; it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his life. Molly pulled Danny close and said “Did I ever tell you I was born on Christmas Day and it is my favorite day of the year? I have always loved Christmas lights, lots of them, everywhere, and so they light up the heavens. Danny smiled and rested his head on her shoulder as they turned into the driveway.
A few moments later the car had pulled up to the huge mansion and just as he was exiting the car the front door swung open and out rushed his mother, his father and his 5 siblings. They rushed him into the house and everyone hugged each other and cried. Danny was in shock. How could this be? How did his family get here, where were they? Danny then noticed a gentleman with a warm smile on his face. The man looked familiar somehow but Danny was sure he had never met the man before. The man said “Welcome to my home Danny, Merry Christmas” He then sat down next to Danny and said “I want to tell you a story of how you came to be here” Danny listened intently as the man continued. I once had a beautiful daughter. She was the most special person in my life. Ever day I would wake up and thank God for bringing such a special person into my life and thanked him for allowing me the privilege of being her father. When my daughter turned 14 we discovered she had cancer. She fought a brave battle and never once complained. She spent her remaining time on earth helping other children like her feel not so alone. When she was 16 years old she lost the battle and died peacefully in her sleep with me at her side. It was the saddest day of my life. Christmas was her favorite time of year, and that Christmas I was so sad thinking about facing the holiday alone that I decided not to celebrate it. However, my daughter appeared to me in a dream and told me that I should celebrate her life not mourns it. When I woke up I realized the best way to celebrate her life was to carry on the work she started and that was to help children with cancer and make sure they know they are not alone. I talked to the people at the hospital you are at and wondered if there were any children who could not go home for Christmas and whose parents could not make the trip to see them and they told me about you. They told me how helpful you were, and how you decorated the ward and how very special you were. I then contacted your parents and brought your entire family here so that you can spend Christmas together” At that moment Molly got up and walked over to the man and stood on her toes and gave him a kiss on his cheek and then stood beside him with her head on his shoulder.
The man then said, “My hope is that Molly, wherever she is can see that I am celebrating her life just as she would want me too”. Danny frantically looked around the room, his eyes darting everywhere, trying to grasp the situation. He saw pictures of Molly everywhere, he did not understand…then he looked at Molly again and thought about all the time they had spent together, and could never recall one instance where anyone ever spoke to Molly. He then said to the man “Kind sir, you are mot alone, Molly knows what you do, in fact, Molly is here with us now. She has been by my side since I first came to the hospital, she is my best friend”
No one said a word; they just gasped and did not know what to say. The man said “perhaps you are mistaken and know a different Molly” to which Danny replied “No, she is the girl in all of the pictures, she is standing by you now. Her birthday is on Christmas Day isn’t it?” The man started to cry and knelt in front of Danny and hugged him. “Yes Danny, her birthday is on Christmas Day, Thank you so much for being my daughters’ friend and letting me know she is still with me. Merry Christmas Danny and Merry Christmas to Molly too”
And with that, the celebration started and it was the best Christmas the Blessing family ever had. There were more presents than any of the children had ever seen and the laughter and love echoed through the house. Danny grew up to be a fine man, a man that loved Christmas and when he had a daughter of his own, he named her Molly after his very best friend and made sure his house was lit up like the stars every Christmas to celebrate her life!