Emilee’s Gift: A Christmas Story

Poignant look at the spirit of generosity through the eyes of a perceptive youngster

After hanging the last ornament on the Christmas tree, Emilee stepped back and stood beside her father.  “We’re done, Daddy.”

Her father scooped her up in his arms.  “Not yet my little angel.”  Emilee looked at the tree with a thoughtful frown.  Her father said, “What’s the matter … my … little … angel, can’t you see what’s missing?”

Emilee glanced up at the top of the tree and then looked into her father’s eyes, moving her face closer and closer until their foreheads touched.  “We forgot the Christmas angel!”

“That’s right!”  Her father spun around several times before dumping Emilee in a giggling heap on the sofa.  Then he stood on a chair and attached the silver-winged angel to the top of the tree.  “What do you think, Emilee?”

“She’s beautiful, Daddy.”

While her father packed a large cardboard box with the bits and pieces leftover from decorating the tree, Emilee sat on the sofa gazing up at the angel.

When her father returned from taking the cardboard box downstairs, Emilee said, “I don’t think we should leave Santa any cookies.”

“Why not?”

“If Santa eats too many cookies, he might get stuck in a chimney.”

“That’s never happened to him before.”

“I think we should leave something for the reindeers instead.”

“All right. I bet they like carrots.”

“Yeah, carrots would be good. Reindeers don’t eat cookies do they, Daddy?”

“They might, but carrots would be better for them.” Emilee agreed.

Emilee watched as her father vacuumed up the pine needles that had fallen on the carpet.  As soon as he turned off the noisy machine she asked, “Why don’t all children get presents from Santa?”

“Well, some families don’t celebrate Christmas.  Why are you asking?”

“One of the Christmas songs says Santa always knows if you’ve been bad or good.  He puts your name on a list.  And if you’re bad he won’t give you a present.”

“That’s just a song, Sweetie.  Someone wrote those words to be funny … sorta like playful teasing.  Santa brought me presents and I wasn’t always good when I was your age.”

Emilee reached for her doll and held Hannah tightly in her arms.

Her father was returning to the room after putting the vacuum cleaner away when Emilee blurted out, “I want to give Hannah to Santa.”

Her father sat down on the sofa. “You want to give Hannah away? Hannah is your favourite doll.”

“Daddy, I love Hannah so much … that’s why I want to give her to somebody else.”

“I don’t understand.”

“If I give Hannah to Santa, Santa can give Hannah to someone who isn’t going to get a present. Someone who isn’t … won’t have anyone to love on Christmas morning. Can we Daddy?  Please.”

“Sure we can, if that’s what you want.”

“Do we leave Hannah with the carrots?”

“Let’s see…. Oh, I know. We’ll take Hannah downtown and leave her with the people who work in the Salvation Army building.  They will tell Santa they have a gift waiting for him. On Christmas Eve Santa and his reindeer will stop there and pick up Hannah. Santa will know a special girl who will love having Hannah to play with.”

“Daddy, why do you have tears in your eyes?”

“Because you’re a real Christmas angel.”

“I’m not an angel, Daddy, I don’t have any wings.”


-Lloyd Atkins,

Vernon, BC



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