Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Christmas Eve - the Little Silver Tree

The Little Silver Tree by Peri Lainchbury (c)

The little silver Christmas tree was looking rather forlorn and battered. It had been found stuffed at the bottom of a box of donated decorations left outside the charity shop. There wasn’t much hope of it being sold this close to Christmas, but you never know. So they’d put a price of a pound on it and put it in the front of the window. Someone might need a little tree as a last minute addition. It sat there next to two chipped pottery robins, one of which was missing a beak, and a musical dancing Santa, who still wobbled from side to side when switched on but who had been struck dumb. It wasn’t the most inspiring display of festive cheer, but this was a small charity shop, in a fairly remote village.

A group of children, who had run on ahead of the adults, stopped in front of the window and looked in. The little shop was sometimes a good place to find cheap toys and dressing up treasures. The boys laughed at the wobbling Santa and the forlorn little tree but the girl didn’t. She’d never had a tree of her own for her room and that little silver one looked the perfect size. She ran back and grabbed her Mum’s hand explaining what she wanted.

Her Mother tried to dissuade her, the tree was dirty, dusty and had seen better days. But the girl was adamant and she had enough pocket money left after her Christmas shopping. Eventually her Mum capitulated and the little silver tree was carried home with pride.

The girl made space on her window ledge and the tree sat there perfectly, if a little lop sided. In the light of the late Christmas Eve afternoon sun, the silver sparkled all on its own, not needing any decorations. She placed her favourite teddies and other prized cuddly toys around its base and sat back with a sigh of satisfaction.

Her very own tree. Hers, not to be shared with her brothers or anyone else. A perfect little silver ree, just for her. Sometimes having to share everything got tiresome when you were the youngest, and her brothers had hogged most of tree decorating to themselves again this year, so this little tree, bare as it was, made up for that.

Her Mum tapped on her bedroom door and came in carrying some of the homemade biscuit star decorations from the tree downstairs and also the old fairy, who had seen better days, and who had been replaced by a big gold star this year. They added them to the tree together, with her being given strict instructions not to eat all the biscuits at once. It looked even more perfect now. The last of the sunset flashed in through the window and the tree sparkled as if on fire in the dwindling light. It was almost Christmas Eve night. The girl took one more delighted look at her little bargain tree and almost danced out of her room with childish excitement.

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