How to Maintain and Repair Your Garden Hose

Knowing how to maintain and clean your hose is an important step in increasing its efficiency and longevity. You can learn a lot about gardeners from the condition of their hoses. Smart ones know the value of hoses. They properly maintain and clean them because they appreciate the job that they do

No gardener wants the hustle of a leaking or cracked hose. They also do not want to be exposed to the danger of falling over a tailing hose. However, only skilled ones know that they can avoid the risk by doing a few simple things. Read on for the common tried-and-tested ways that can save you from all the headaches.

Prevent Damage by Coiling and Uncoiling

Skilled gardeners know that the way they coil or uncoil the hoses directly determines how long they will use these tools. As such, they do not leave this simple task to chance. If you look at the various gardening hoses here, you will appreciate that the experts have carefully coiled them. Once you buy a garden hose, you should follow the same procedure to preserve their value. 

What procedure should you follow? If you want to prevent your garden hose from damage, always carefully look for kinking when uncoiling it. Whenever necessary, take your time and get all of the kinks. You will learn that many hoses do not kink too often. Others, such as the metal garden hoses, hardly do. And, this is a good thing since it prevents the possibility of tearing or splitting open. 

For enhanced safety, always connect the end of your garden hose to your faucet before you uncoil it. This will enable you to pull on it with great ease. Once you connect, turn on the water. As it fills with water, you will find it incredibly easy to remove the kinks.

When you want to coil, however, turn off the water, hold the garden hose, and bend a loop. It is okay to ensure it is about three feet in diameter. As you keep hold of it, make another loop about two feet from the spigot. Ensure the second one is stack on top of the first. Finally, start making loops and stacking on top of each other until you coil the entire hose.

Preserve Value by Cleaning

If your garden hose is covered in dirt or spider web, you can save it and make it look new again. Get natural bleach and soak your hose in it. Use a large bucket or a small kitty pool to ensure you can immerse the entire of it into the solution for about 24 hours. In case your hose is something more than 50 feet, you may be forced to look for a larger container. By using natural bleach this way, you will be able to remove all the dirt without exposing your hose to toxic chemicals. 

Once you are sure that your garden hose has been socked in the tub for the required amount of time, scrub it with a strong brush. If necessary, add more bleach as you do this. You can also soak it with natural bleach again and then repeat the whole process. After doing this for a while, you will regain the original color of your garden hose.

Repair Leaks to Save Money

Garden hoses, just like many other products, can get leaks. This may not have anything to do with the way you use it and the time you have spent caring for it. When you notice it is leaking, you should not necessarily rush to replace it. Instead, assess the size of the hole and look for a solution. 

You will find that it is very easy to repair some of these leaks. You can only use a rubber patch and super glue, and that it is. If you have a rubber tube patch kit, you will be able to fix the problem on your rubber garden hose within minutes. However, if you are using an expandable hose, you may need a little more skills to do a good job. In this case, place the tube patch on the inside part of your tube. After that, move on and seal up the outside polyester.

Turn off the water as soon as you notice a hole in your garden hose. If you buy more time, the size of the hole may increase due to the internal pressure and cause more problems. Before you apply the tube patch, also remember to sand down the area using fine-grit sandpaper. Leave it for several hours to dry up.

Final Thoughts

It is only in the perfect world where your hose will always perform perfectly each time you use it. Leaks, kinks, and splits, unfortunately, may affect the efficiency of your hose in the real world where we live. Dirt can also make it look too dangerous. However, if you use the above care and maintenance tips, you will be able to avoid many of these problems and create an ideal world of your own for years.

Celebrate Christmas the Old- Fashioned Way

Maybe this is rosy retrospection, but it seems to me that the manner in which we celebrated Christmas back in the good old days was more wholesome and meaningful than the way we do it. Back then, Christmas was a legitimate opportunity to bring the family together, to really reconnect. Maybe it’s the increased consumerism that has changed things or the modern smartphone that everyone has their eyes glued to, but nowadays, the way Christmas is celebrated feels a tad bit diluted. This article is for people, who like me, want to go back to the old ways. Keep reading for some amazing activities that you could introduce to your Christmas festivities, to bring back the old-fashioned vibe!

Having a Real Christmas Tree

This recommendation reminds me of that scene in Daddy’s Home 2 where Brad cuts a fir tree housing communication hardware to prove his mettle. No, don’t do that! That being said, you don’t have to avoid real trees altogether. Plastic has made our lives easier, but it has taken out a lot of authenticity in many things we do- including Christmas. I mean the phrase “plastic” is used to describe ungenuine people and products! Christmas should be as genuine as the message it embodies. This means that the tree too should be real! I mean, you cannot get the fresh smell of a real fir tree from the plastic variants.

Getting a real Christmas tree provides an opportunity for the entire family to bond. This is something that Christmas in the olden days emphasized. Also, turns out that there are plenty of environmental benefits in promoting real Christmas tree farmers as opposed to buying the plastic imposters!

Making Decorating a Family Affair

We leave in a world where no one has time for the things that really matter, like family and friends. Instead of outsourcing decorating duty, why don’t you turn this chore into a fun affair? Invite family and neighbors to decorate your house. Go ahead and have a small decorating party themed around decorating the house. Not only is this a great way of bonding with family, but its also an amazing way to get to know your neighbors. To give the decorative affair a more old-fashioned vibe, consider using chains of colored popcorn garlands instead of the modern lights. While this may be time intensive, what better way to reconnect with the family?

Making a Traditional Christmas Feast

Traditions have great significance in our lives. They reinforce familial bonds over time. That being said because many people simply don’t have the time, many traditions are slowly dying. This reminds me of the Blackish episode where grandma pretends to make the “Christmas Feast” from traditional recipes passed down over generations, only to outsource the job to a catering service! Oh the travesty! Purpose to make enough time to bring back some intentionality to your Christmas meals. And so what if you don’t have a Christmas food tradition, make your own! Needless to say, this too can be a great opportunity to bring the family together through cooking. It takes time, but it’s completely worth it!

Holiday Best Wishes Card

With instant messaging, social media and email making communication so convenient, few people have kept this tradition going. Remember the days when Christmas Cards were well thought out and planned well before the actual event. Some family’s even used to send specialized cards with a family photo attached. There’s a certain connotation of care and love that is reflected when someone hands you an actual handwritten card. Unlike instant messages, with cards, you have to go out and buy the card, then hand write it. Going back to this amazing tradition is a great way to bring back the love in Christmas.

The Christmas Carols

In the olden days, people looked forward to Christmas carols. They were practiced way in advance in readiness for the big day. This tradition is a rarity nowadays. You don’t need to be a family of crooners and songbirds to enjoy this tradition. Also, you may choose to go door to door or have a more private and warm affair at the comfort of your home. Either way, this is a fun tradition that reinforces family bonds. There are many Christmas carol books available online that may help you prepare for your next old-fashioned Christmas!

Amazing Old-School Christmas Cookie Recipes

A huge part of the Christmas festivities is sharing in amazing food. If you’re looking to have an old-fashioned Christmas party, complete the old-fashioned look with some amazing old-fashioned recipes. This article will share with you some incredible old-fashioned cookie recipes! Keep reading to find out more.

Old-fashioned Gingersnaps

As a desert, gingersnaps go way, way back. In fact, their origin can be traced back to Franconia, Germany where they were invented by Medieval monks. Recipes dating back to the 13th and 14th century have been found in Nuremberg and Ulm. Today we share with you a variant of those recipes, for your old-fashioned Christmas festivities.

For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients: 2 cups of all purpose flour, a large egg, one cup of sugar, a ¾ cup of shortening, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, one a half teaspoons of powdered ginger, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a quarter cup of molasses.

The Instructions are as follows: First, preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Stir the shortening together with the sugar until the mixture is light. Following this, incorporate the egg and molasses. Stir the mixture until all ingredients are properly incorporated.

When that is done, measure equal balls of the mixture and dip one side in sugar. Place the balls onto your baking sheets and bake. They should take approximately minutes in the oven. When cooled pack in a cookie jar!

Delicious Old World Cookies

Like gingersnaps, cookies, in general, have a history that dates back to the 7th century AD, particularly in Persia. Because sugar also originated in the Persian empire, cakes both small and large were common in Persia way back then. When this sugary delights arrived in Europe they became an instant delicacy, so much so that they were incorporated into major festivities, including Christmas. This variation is called the Old World cookie, a round thicker than a usual cookie but nevertheless scrumptious! Here’s how its made:

For this cookie, you will need a teaspoon of powdered cloves, confectioner’s sugar, a cup of ground walnuts, two eggs, a cup of sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, 1 ½ cups of flour, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a cup of softened butter.

To make the cookies, first, preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Combine the butter with sugar, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Incorporate the eggs and nuts and stir. Using a separate bowl, sift the flour together with the powdered cloves and powdered cinnamon. Incorporated these dry ingredients with the first mixture, also adding the vanilla extract. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge for approximately one hour.

Fill thirty-five muffin tins up to 1/3 of the depth of the tin with the mixture. Spread the dough on the walls of the tin leaving a depression. Bake for 18 minutes then sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar.

Christmassy Wreath Cookies

These delicious cookies remind me of the famous circular Christmas garland. They will definitely contribute to the old-fashioned Christmas mood! Here’s how to make them:

You will need one cup of sugar, a cup of instant oats, two eggs, ¾ cups of softened butter, ½ a teaspoon of allspice, confectioners’ sugar, a jar of your favorite red jam, 1 ½ cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, ¾ cup of finely diced walnuts, and a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon.

As with the previous recipes, begin by preheating your oven, this time to 400º Fahrenheit. Mix your softened butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and stir well. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, allspice and baking powder). Add the dry mixture to the wet one and stir adding the crushed nuts. Leave to cool in the fridge for three hours.

Apply some flour to a clean flat surface. Flatten the dough to an eighth of an inch in thickness. Cut out circular shapes using a 2 ½ in. cookie cutter. Place the cutouts in a baking pan and bake for approximately eight minutes. Once cooled, sandwich two cookies by applying jam on one and placing the other on top. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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 Dogs 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
, 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. 

Christmas Blessings

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!