The first of November Christmas trees began to appear in department stores.
“Let’s decorate our tree!” cried Sandra.
“Let’s not,” said Mother. “It hasn’t even snowed yet.”
The middle of November the first flecks of snow fell.
“Let’s buy the tree,” Sandra urged. “Come on, everyone. It’s snowing. It’s time to decorate the tree.”
Daddy kneeled down so he could look his daughter right in the eyes. “Look, honey, there has to be lots of snow—real deep snow. When it snows so much that you must wear your boots, we will buy and decorate the tree.”
The first of December Mother could sweep the snow from the walk with a broom. It was just a little snow.
The middle of December it really began to snow. And it snowed and it snowed. The fence posts wore tall hats, and the red flag was almost hidden on the mailbox. Sandra’s older brother and sister got out the toboggan and searched for their mittens.
“I want to play in the snow too. Wait for me,” pleaded Sandra.
“Susan, Larry, wait for your sister,” Mother instructed. “Sandra, get your boots on.”
“Boots and snow? Boots and snow!” squealed Sandra. “Now can we buy our Christmas tree?”
“Yes,” said Mother, “we’ll talk to Daddy about it tonight.”
After supper Daddy agreed that it was time to get a tree but suggested that they wait until family night to buy it.
So on Monday night, Daddy, Mother, Sandra, Larry, and Susan all dressed in warm coats and cozy snow boots and got into the station wagon. They drove to the vacant lot near the school that was now filled with trees and chose a very big one.
“Now can we decorate it?” asked Sandra.
Daddy laughed. “Not until it’s set up. And I’m going to have to saw off some of the trunk first just to get it into our living room. Give me a little time and it’ll be ready.”
Even when the trunk was cut shorter, it was a close squeeze to stand the tree upright in the living room.
“Now?” asked Sandra.
“Yes, now,” answered Daddy. “You kids run up and get the boxes from the attic.”
There were lots of boxes. Dad opened one box and began stringing the lights.
Mother opened a box of large red glass balls and gently began hanging them.
Larry opened a box of assorted wooden toys and identified each one as he hung them—“Here’s a rocking horse. Here’s a soldier. Here’s a drum.”
“Look what I have!” shouted Susan as she held up beautiful strands of colored tinsel.
Sandra had peeked into each box and then stood very quietly, watching.
“Hey, why aren’t you helping, Sandra? Look, at last we’re decorating the tree just as you wanted,” said Daddy.
“Why the long face, Sandy, honey?” asked Mother.
“It’s not here,” said Sandra.
“What’s not here?”
“These are all decorations, dear. Here, you take this bell and hang it on the bottom branch. Maybe the kitty will play with it and not bother the rest of the decorations.”
“I don’t want the bell. I want the decoration.”
Susan said, “I think she’s looking for some special decoration. What color is it, Sandra?”
“Here’s a white foam ball,” called her brother. “Is this it?”
“This white star?” asked Mother.
“Here, I’ll open the rest of the boxes and you search until you find it,” said Daddy. “You better hurry, though. We need you to help us get this big tree decorated before bedtime.”
While the others worked and worked, Sandra hunted and hunted.
Finally the tree was full of colored balls, small trinkets, streamers, lights, and topped with a glittering star. The boxes were empty. Everyone’s face was smiling except Sandra’s.
“It’s gone,” she whispered.
Mother brought in the family night treat of hot cocoa and yellow cheese on round crackers. “Here, now, let’s put on a happy face.”
Sandra shook her head.
Daddy picked her up and said, “Come with me to take these boxes back to the attic. I’ll let you ride piggyback.”
Sandra had to duck low as they left through the door. It almost made her laugh. She loved being high. Both she and Daddy had to crouch low so as not to hit the ceiling in the attic. But something did hit Sandra’s face.
“The decoration! The decoration! I found it!” Sandra shouted.
She took hold of a white paper chain hanging from the attic ceiling that she had made last year in primary. Daddy unhooked it for her, and she carried it very carefully down to the Christmas tree.
Sandra placed it around the bottom branches right above the bell.
“There,” she said, “now the tree is decorated.”