Night had fallen and little blobs of light dotted the night sky. The Season of Joy had dawned and the festive cheer held the city in a warm hug. Little Abbie sat on a stool by the window, alternately doing her math homework and counting stars, the shining stars that dotted the windows of the little flats in the big apartment complex opposite to her home.
She had counted twenty eight stars, when, she saw a huge Christmas tree being carried down the street. She jumped up and ran to the door, holding it ajar, she stared longingly after the tree till it vanished beyond the ramparts of the apartment complex. Her field of view was replaced by noisy, boisterous and harried Christmas shoppers. Abbie closed the door and turned around. Staring her in the face was a magnificent fir tree, draped with ribbons, tiny balls, little stars, bells and glittering lights, and lying at the foot of the tree was a heap of gifts. A thrilled Abbie climbed onto her father’s shoulder, holding up the Star of David. Abbie closed her eyes… when she opened them, the place that would hold her tree was empty.
“The tree has already left North pole, Abbie.”, her father had quipped the previous night. “… But since the little reindeers got tired carrying the gigantic tree, they had to stop for rest. Santa has promised to deliver it in time for next Christmas.” Abbie had giggled and gotten back to helping her mother make little stars for her toy tree. But she knew that the tree was still a distant dream. Her father was a barber and her mother made little dolls, bells and stars to decorate trees and homes with during Christmas. They worked very hard to make ends meet. So, a Christmas tree was more than just a luxury, it was a privilege.
“Abbie, baby come here!”, she heard her mother call. She found her mother wrapping up a parcel. “Darling, can you please deliver this package for me? It’s for the Smiths’ in the apartment complex opposite.” “Sure Mother.”, chirped the little girl. She pulled on her scarf and took off.
The outdoors was chill and many shoppers, weighed down by numerous packages passed by her. She walked through the gates of the complex. The festivities were evident. Holly, mistletoe, stars and bells were generously displayed and every wall reflected the flavours of the season. She walked slowly, taking in the sights, one at a time. Finally she reached number five-sixteen, the Smiths household. She set the parcel aside and stood on her toes. Her finger tips barely felt the knocker. She jumped up and knocked on the huge mahogany door.
The door opened and there stood a little boy, of about the same age as Abbie. Abbie smiled and stepped in. “Oh! It’s the Christmas decorations I ordered for! Thank you my dear.”, said a lady, who Abbie took to be the boy’s mother. “Oh my! They’re fabulous. “, cried the lady. “ Eddie, Liza, look at these! They’re brilliant.” The boy and the little girl named Liza ran to the table where the parcel lay. They pulled out the various items and chatted animatedly. Liza suddenly picked a big star and ran. Abbie watched amused, her gaze followed the little girl and… she was transfixed.
It was a gigantic mass of green. Occupying the entire height of the room was a humungous tree. Liza hung the star on one of the lower branches. She was joined by her mother and brother. The mother then rose and came up to Abbie. “Thank you very much my dear! Hope you have a very merry Christmas.” “Would you like some chocolate?”, queried a jolly voice from behind the lady. Abbie drew her eyes away from the tree and stared at the jolly looking man offering her the chocolate. It was one of those expensive ones, with caramel, nuts and wafer. She took one and politely thanked him. With one last glance at the tree, she turned to leave. Barely had she moved her feet when someone tugged at her dress. She turned around to see Liza. “Come and play with me, please, please…!”, chirped Liza. “Daddy, please, can she come? I won’t have a Christmas friend otherwise… please Daddy. She can help us decorate Mr. Green too!”
“Very well, would you like to?”, queried Mr. Smith. Abbie was mesmerized. She just let herself be pulled in by Liza.
As it turned out, Mr. Green was what Liza called the Christmas tree. It was like a dream for Abbie. She blinked, yet nothing changed. Eddie, Liza and Abbie hung the various dolls, mini- Santas, candies, balls, bells and stars from the tree. Time flew by and before Abbie knew it, the tree was decked and ready for Christmas… almost. The icing on the cake, the Star of David was sitting in it’s satin lined box, waiting to go up.
Meanwhile, Eddie and Liza had gotten into an argument about who should put up the star. Abbie stood beside the tree, admiring their handiwork, unaware of the argument. What a beautiful dream, thought Abbie. …Someone was talking to her. She turned, and Eddie thrust the star into Abbie’s hand. Her eyes sparkled with glee.
Mr. Smith hoisted her into the air and… Abbie stretched and put the star in it’s place, on top of the tree of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!!!