It was the first day of December. The afternoon was cold, and snow fell softly outside. Tristan and Derek were busy putting together a Christmas calendar. It was a picture of a manger scene, with little flaps for each day of December, and underneath each of the flaps was written a little activity or project.
Parts of the calendar were a little tricky to put together, and Derek tried to get it to work. Tristan watched impatiently. “Let me do it,” he said. Then a few minutes later, again, “Let me do it!” And on it went. But each time, Derek would shake his head and keep trying.
Tristan finally got angry. “You're not doing it properly!” he said. “It's my calendar, and you need to give it to me, now!”
“But I'm working on it,” Derek answered.
“It doesn't matter. I want it now! I shouldn't have invited you to help me.”
The argument continued with the two boys getting angrier and angrier. Soon they were shouting and saying nasty things to each other.
“Boys, that's enough!” Grandpa Jake said, entering the room. “I was listening to you argue as I came down the hall. You need to work things out nicely. Arguing doesn't solve the problem and just makes you more upset with each other.”
Tristan and Derek looked at each other sadly.
“Did I tell you the story about the Christmas chest?” Grandpa Jake asked.
Both boys' faces brightened. “No,” they chorused. “Can you tell us?”
“Yes. I think it just might help you.”
Every Christmas, Dixie and Crispin's mother would pull out their family's Christmas chest. The Christmas chest was a large box with a lid, in which their mother would gather different items she found throughout the year. Dixie and Crispin could then use these items in their Christmas projects and decorations. This year, the box was exceptionally full with interesting bits and pieces.
Crispin and Dixie had invited their friends over, and each one gathered around as Crispin lifted the lid off. Dixie reached in and pulled out a colorful piece of ribbon.
“It's so pretty,” Suds said.
Soon all the friends were sorting through the items and talking about what they'd make with what they found.
“Look at that!” Wesley said, spotting a large shell.
“I found it first!” Milton said, and grabbed the shell.
“Oh no, you didn't,” Wesley replied, trying to grab it away from Milton.
Before long the others were also quarreling among themselves, each wanting what the other one had.
“This is my Christmas chest,” Crispin said, “and if you take the things I want, then you can't be here.”
“It's my Christmas chest too,” Dixie said. “It's both of ours.”
“That's not fair,” Wesley said.
“You're being very mean,” Milton said.
And on the arguing went.
“Everybody, stop!” Suds said in a loud voice.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at her.
“Christmas is a time when we're all supposed to be extra loving and kind to each other,” Suds said.
“Suds is right,” Milton said. “I'm sorry for taking the shell away from you, Wesley. You can have it back.”
“I'm sorry too,” said Wesley.
“Me too,” said the others.
“I have an idea,” said Suds. “We could work together to use all the things in the chest to do nice things for other people.”
“We could use some of the stuff to decorate our classroom as a surprise for everyone,” Wesley suggested.
“And make a wreath for Mr. Nuggin,” said Bumble.
“We could also help decorate the classroom Christmas tree,” Crispin said.
“We could make presents for our friends,” Dixie added.
“Then we could use the wagons that Bumble and I have to take the gifts to everyone,” Milton said.
“These are all wonderful ideas,” Suds said, “and if we work on them together, we won't be worried about who gets what.”
Suds got a pen and paper, and together they decided who they would make gifts for.
They decided that Crispin and Bumble would make the wreath for Mr. Nuggin while Dixie and Wesley decorated the classroom. Milton and Suds teamed up to help decorate the school’s Christmas tree. If they were done with that and still had time, they would decide who else to make gifts for.
“We can use this string of lights for the classroom,” Wesley said.
“Oh, but we were planning on using it for Mr. Nuggin's wreath,” Crispin said, and reached over to take the lights.
“But they're too long for the wreath,” Dixie added, “and they'd look much nicer in the classroom.”
“Dixie…!” Crispin exclaimed, feeling a little angry. Then he stopped for a moment. “Oh dear, I almost got angry at you again, but that's not good. Why don't you take them? They really are too long for the wreath, and we can use something else instead.”
“Thank you, Crispin,” said Dixie. “You can have these little bells for the wreath instead.”
“They're perfect!” Crispin said. “And they'll look much better on the wreath than the lights would have.”
Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, the friends busied themselves in their free time, making gifts and decorations for their family and friends.
They happily worked on their projects until they had completed all of them. They had used up all the bits and pieces in the Christmas chest.
The presents were loaded up on Bumble and Milton's wagon and distributed to their friends and family. Everyone was so happy, and it was by far the happiest Christmas the friends had shared because they had all thought about others instead of themselves.
“Grandpa, why do people always say that Christmas is about giving?” Tristan asked.
“Aha! Good question,” said Grandpa Jake. “That's because God gave us a very special gift many, many Christmases ago. Do you know what it was?”
Tristan thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. “Jesus!”
“That's right. God sent Jesus to Earth for each one of us. He was God's Christmas present to each one of us. And when we have Jesus in our lives, we are so much happier, and our lives are filled with more joy!”
“But why do we give presents?”
“When we give things to other people, it makes them happy, and it shows them that we love and think about them.”
“I like to make people happy by doing nice things for them,” Tristan said.
“Thank you for telling us that story, Grandpa! It was a wonderful Christmas story.”
“My pleasure,” answered Grandpa Jake.
Moral: Show kindness to others and take time to work out your differences with love. Then you'll get along well with others and spread happiness all around.
Authored by Katiuscia Giusti. Illustrated by Agnes Lemaire. Colored by Doug Calder. Designed by Roy Evans.Featured on My Wonder Studio. Copyright © 2008 by Aurora Production AG, Switzerland. All Rights Reserved.