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Christmas at Three

I peeled last year’s scotch tape off the dark blue paper and unfolded it to show the white stars. After the big kids showed me how they wrapped theirs, I folded the paper up over his gift and tucked the extra inches under before I taped it all closed.

Bob cut a tree from the field behind the barn, knocked snow off the branches, and dragged it onto the back porch. He nailed on a base and stood the tree over the bare spot in the middle of our carpet. He draped it with lights and plugged them in. Cold fell on me while I set the blue-wrapped gift under the branches.

Mimi and Birdie brought out clear glass balls painted in lines of light blue and frosty white and suspended them from the tree. They hung thin strips of tinfoil over high branches while I dangled it from those I could reach.

Every night I watched the glow until Mother said bedtime. First I checked the pile of gifts for the one in dark blue. Then I crawled up the stairs and under the covers. 

Christmas morning we crowded around the tree and one by one unwrapped each gift until the only package under the tree was dark blue scattered with stars. 

Birdie picked it up. “Who’s this for?”

I sat up straight. “Tom.”

“Tom Who?”

“Little Tom.”

“Who is ‘Little Tom’?”

“You know. Little Tom of Bethlehem!”

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