“Christopher’s After-Christmas Christmas,” Friend, Jan. 1996, 44
Four-year-old Christopher sat by the window and watched the wet January snow pelt the glass. “Jingle bells, Jingle bells,” he whispered to himself as he stood up, stretched out his arms, and twirled. He opened and shut his eyes. Blink-blink, blink-blink.
“What are you doing, Christopher?” asked Mom.
“I’m not Christopher. I’m a Christmas tree.”
Mom smiled. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Christmas tree. Are you thirsty? I can put your feet in water if you’d like.”
Christopher giggled. “Oh, Mom!”
Mom laughed too and put her arms around him. “Why do you want to be a Christmas tree?”
“I want to have Christmas every day!” he explained.
“How about if we make Christmas cookies one more time? Would you like that?”
Christopher grinned and ran to the kitchen.
After supper, Christopher sat on his bed and ate a pink-frosted angel. He savored each sugary bite. Finally he licked the last crumb from his mouth and lay back on his pillow.
“‘Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.’” Christopher paused and listened to the stillness. His words sounded kind of empty. He wished it was Christmas Eve again so that he could sing it with his family around the tree.
He left his room and meandered to the kitchen. He got some paper and crayons from the cupboard and sat at the table. “Mom, will you draw a star for me?”
Mom put down her dish towel and drew a big yellow star at the top of the paper. “How is that?”
“Great! Thanks, Mom.”
Mom went back to her dishes, and Christopher covered the rest of the page with tiny golden dots. When it was finished, he smiled. It was just like the star that shined over Jesus when He was born.
He got some tape from the drawer and hung the picture above his bed. “‘Away in a manger,’” he sang. But it still didn’t feel like Christmas.
That night, when the house was dark and silent, Christopher thought long and hard about Christmas. He thought about Baby Jesus and Christmas trees. He thought about candy canes and Wise Men. He thought about presents. Presents! That was it! He could give someone a present. Christopher smiled and sank sleepily into his pillow. He could give someone a present.
The next morning, just before sunrise, Christopher jumped from his bed and ran to his parents’ room. “Mom?” he whispered.
Mom rolled over and opened one eye. “Hmm?”
“How can I earn some money?”
“What? Can’t we talk about it later?”
“Oh, Mom, please? I can’t go back to sleep until I know.”
“How I can earn some money.”
“Why do you need money?”
“To buy a present.”
“I don’t know yet, but it will be for someone special. Please, Mom?”
His mother thought for a moment, “I guess you could do extra chores around the house.”
“Now please go back to bed.”
Christopher ran to his room and climbed into bed, but he couldn’t go back to sleep. All he could do was think about his Christmas present.
Every day for a week, Christopher washed walls, made beds, vacuumed, and dusted furniture; and each day he added nickels, dimes, and quarters to his money jar.
Before church on Sunday, his mother helped him count his money and take out enough to pay his tithing. Then she counted it again for him. He had two whole dollars left. “Wow!” she said. “You sure earned a lot of money this week.”
Christopher grinned and slipped the money into his pocket.
“Have you decided whom you’re going to buy a present for?”
“Not yet,” said Christopher, “but I’ll think about it on the way to church.”
In Primary, Christopher’s teacher talked about her mission in Korea. She let the children taste some Korean cookies, and she even let Christopher hold a doll that a Korean child had given to her. Near the end of her lesson, she asked, “Do you know what I liked best about my mission?”
Christopher and his classmates shook their heads.
“Giving the Book of Mormon to people and seeing how it changed their lives.”
Christopher felt her words settle in his heart and grow. He knew about the Book of Mormon, and he loved it too. He wished he could share it with someone, just as his teacher had.
And then he knew what he would do! Excitement tingled through him. He could hardly wait to tell his mother.
“Does a Book of Mormon cost very much?” he asked her after Primary.
“Do I have enough money to buy one?”
“Yes,” she said with a smile. “But why? You already have a Book of Mormon.”
“I want to give it to someone—it’s my present.” He stuffed his hand deep inside his pocket and pulled out the money. “Now what?”
His mother led him to the bishop’s office and filled out a donation slip for him. He put the money into the envelope and handed it to the bishop. “Make sure this goes to someone special, please,” he said.
The bishop smiled and nodded.
As they walked out of the office, Christopher whisper-sang the words to “Away in a Manger.” He thought about the star that led the Wise Men to Christ. He even thought about the Christmas lights that looked just like candles blinking on a hillside. But the thought he liked most of all was how he would feel next week, when he had another after-Christmas Christmas.