A Christmas Gift

�Mrs. Hanson is watching us play catch,�
Timothy said, tossing the ball to his sister.

�She watches us play a lot,�
Ann said, catching the ball and returning it.

�I think she�s lonely. And tonight is Christmas Eve.

I hope she�s not alone on such a special night.�

�Yeah, me too,� Timothy said.
�I think Christmas is the most special holiday of the year.�

�We�d better get home,� Ann said.

�It�s going to be dark soon, and we need to eat dinner before we go to church.�

Tommy caught the ball Ann tossed him, and together they trotted off home. 

Where did these puppies come from?�
Timothy asked their mother when he burst through the kitchen door.

Ann said, following closely behind him.

�Your Uncle Mickey brought them.
One for each of you.�

Timothy tossed aside his baseball
and squatted down to pet them.
�Which one is mine?�

�Which one is mine?� Ann asked.

�You can choose,� their mother told them.

Ann and Timothy scooped up the puppies
and cuddled them. 

�They�re precious, aren�t they?�
their mother said.

�They sure are,� Ann said.

�They�ll make great companions.
You�ll have a lot of fun with them.�

�Yeah, it was really nice of Uncle Mickey to give them to us.�

Timothy looked over at his sister. �Great companions.�

Ann nodded.
�Are you thinking what I�m thinking?�

Timothy nodded. �I think so.�

He looked up at his mother.
�Mom, do you think maybe we should
give one of the puppies to Mrs. Hanson?�

�You want to give one of the puppies away?�

�Not really, but we kind of noticed that Mrs. Hanson is awful lonely.
She sits at her window or on her front porch
a whole lot all by herself.�

�And if we gave her a puppy,
she�d have a companion,� Ann said.

�And because she lives right next door,
the puppies could visit each other.�

�Why, I think that�s a wonderful idea.
And very generous of you.

Which one will you give her?�

Ann and Timothy pointed to the same puppy.

It was the smaller and quieter one
that looked like it would be a good
companion for their neighbor.

�We can put a bow on him and take him next door.�

After dinner, Ann and Timothy knocked on Mrs. Hanson�s door.

In a few moments it opened.

�Our mother sent you some of our
Christmas Eve dinner, Mrs. Hanson.�

Ann held out a plate for her.
�She hopes you enjoy it.�

Mrs. Hanson took the warm plate
and smelled the delicious food.

�Thank you! How thoughtful!
Give your mother a big hug for me.�

�We will,� Ann said.

Timothy stepped forward holding a little
reddish-brown puppy with a wide green
ribbon tied around its neck.

�Merry Christmas, Mrs. Hanson.
Our uncle brought us two puppies
but we thought maybe you would
like to have one. Would you?�

He put the squirming puppy in Mrs. Hanson�s arms.

�He�s so precious,�
Mrs. Hanson said softly.
�I�d love to have him.
And I know how to care for him since I�ve had puppies in the past.�

�Mom also said to tell you not to cook tomorrow,�

Timothy continued. �We want you to come for Christmas dinner with us.�

�We�re having turkey and all the trimmings!� Ann added.

�Oh, my goodness!�
Mrs. Hanson exclaimed.

She gave the children a tearful hug.
�Tell your mother that I said thank you.
I�d love to have Christmas dinner with you.�

Mrs. Hanson held her new puppy in her arms.

The squirming puppy stretched up tall and put wet kisses on her cheeks.

�I love you too,� she said.

�He can come to dinner too,� Timothy said.

�And we�re going to church tonight to hear
the story of the first Christmas.

We�d like you to come with us.�

Mrs. Hanson�s tears began to fall again.
�Thank you for inviting me.�
She dabbed at her eyes.
�You are all such good neighbors.�

Ann kissed the puppy on the head and said,
� We�ll see you in a little while.�

Timothy kissed the puppy too.

�Merry Christmas, Mrs. Hanson!�

�It certainly is now!�
Mrs. Hanson was smiling through her tears. �

I think it�s the best Christmas I�ve ever had.�

Ann and Timothy were smiling all the way home.

It was definitely a Merry Christmas.

Their friend and neighbor wasn�t lonely anymore.

by Evelyn Horan