Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Spirit

I can still feel the joy that the generosity of strangers brought to me one Christmas past, when Salvation Army volunteers paraded into our family's living room bringing boxes of gently used gifts to complete our Christmas. The memory inspired me this year to give Kelly a small gift this week. It is a musical ornament that pops open and plays Jingle Bells as the inside scene turns around; perfect for a little girl. I paid nothing for it; it was a handout from my mother-in-law, who impulsively bought four of them on The Shopping Network and was thrilled that I had someone in mind who would appreciate it.

Kelly was thrilled when she opened the package, alone with me in my classroom. I told her that I would find a place to leave it for her to pick up later, since I didn’t want her to have it when everyone else was there (and didn’t want to risk hurt feelings in the boys). Unfortunately, her little A.D.D. self caused her to space out where I had told her she should pick it up later, and she had to go home without it (or miss the bus). I later learned that she started to cry when it wasn’t where she expected it to be. She also sobbed when she got home and called her dad at work, begging him to take her back to school to get the gift. He convinced her to wait til the next day (last day before Christmas break). Another of Kelly's teachers told me that she brought it to class the next day and spent the entire time during their holiday gathering walking around the room, in her own little world, the ornament up to her ear, singing along to the tune.

What a treat it was to make such a big difference with just a small gesture. Never mind that she brought it to my classroom at the end of the day (when everyone else was there) and took it out to show everyone. Never mind that when a student asked, “Who gave you that??” and I waited to hear our rehearsed “My Secret Santa,” she instead chirped, “Mrs 4444!” with a pride-filled grin.

For some reason, the boy’s face did not register hurt or anger. It instead registered, “Oh. That’s nice. I get it.”

I guess the Christmas spirit is alive in my classroom.


  1. Great story. Ornaments are great because with the right type of care they are around for a long time. I still have ornaments that get put up from more than 25 years ago, and my Mom tells me the same stories every year about the people (teachers included) who game them to me. Small gestures but big impact.

  2. This is a great holiday story. Nothing makes me feel better than making someone (especially a child) happy at Christmas time. I'm sure Kelly will be sharing the story of this ornament for many years to come.

  3. Merry Christmas!!

    I love that ornament!

  4. Oh, great story! And thanks for sharing. I do love the Christmas spirit.

  5. What a great story. Made me teary. I love your classroom kids. What amazing little creatures they are.

  6. A very unique ornament! I love it!

  7. So great that boy "got it" and that she loved the present so much. Good job "secret Santa."


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