Twelve year old Jane and fourteen year old Sally Hamilton were trying to decide what to do about Christmas this year. Sally asked her mother if they could have an increase in allowance, better to afford purchasing presents. But Mrs. Hamilton decided her girls needed to learn to handle their finances better. They had wasted their allowance all year long on frivolous things, when they should have been saving for more important items. She refused to increase their allowance. Instead, she advised them both to find babysitting jobs to augment what they already had. Sally grumbled, but she admitted to herself that perhaps she hadn't used her money wisely. So both girls set out to find ways to earn money.

Sally, being a bit older, found it easy to find babysitting jobs or pet-sitting jobs around the neighborhood. Jane offered to help people clean house for the holidays. Soon, they found that they had enough money to buy presents for everyone they wanted to buy presents for. But what to buy was another problem. Most people got whatever they wanted when they needed it. They went through all the stores in town. It seemed that all the stores were selling things that nobody would really use. It was mostly items that the stores wanted to sell.

In the mean time their church young people's group planned a visit to the local nursing home, to bring happiness to the residents there. The girls were very excited about it. Both belonged to the children's choir and would be singing carols. Sally was very adept at sewing and created look-alike dresses for the herself and Jane. When the day came that they were to visit the nursing home the children were bused. The residents were thrilled with the young people. Many had nobody who would come to see them. It made a change from their usual dull day.

It was there that Jane and Sally had an idea. Instead of buying useless presents for their parents and friends they bought things that the nursing home residents could use. Sally made several lap blankets; Jane made cookies and cakes. The girls fixed up baskets of nuts and candies. They then made cards for their friends and parents, saying in lieu of a present they were donating items to the nursing home. Then they asked their mother do drive them to the nursing home to deliver the baskets, food, and lap blankets. One elderly woman was so delighted she gave each girl a hug.

A few of their friends were disappointed not to get a gift from them. But their parents and most of their friends were so proud of their thoughtful girls, that they also decided to take things to the nursing home. They would take gifts instead of buying useless things the stores pushed during the holiday season. The local newspaper heard about the girl's thoughtfulness and sent a reporter to take their picture and write a story about it.

All and all, it was the best Christmas that Sally and Jane had ever had. They learned the true meaning of Christmas. It wasn't about spending lots of money on useless items, it was about helping others to enjoy Christmas more. Plus they became quite well known from the newspaper story.

By Sharon (







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