1It was the ugliest ornament she ever saw. It was supposed to be a snowman. Maybe. But the fur was discolored and it looked like something chewed on the hat. And it was missing an arm. Not anything like the beautiful glass balls that hung elegantly form the Christmas tree limbs. The glass ones sparkled and shone against the dark green pine. The fuzzy snowman stuck out like a sore thumb. And of course, Kara’s parents insisted on putting that one in the most prominent spot of the tree.
For years, Kara tried to get rid of the snowman. And each year, her parents put it right out in front. How could anyone like that thing? It was so embarrassing. All of her friends liked posting selfies of themselves in front of their trees, but not Kara. Not with that thing hanging there.
Two weeks before Christmas, Kara decorated the Christmas tree with her parents. The glass ornaments were wrapped and kept in a plastic tub with cardboard separators. The snowman was kept right there with them. Its discolored fur clashed horribly with the smooth, sleek glass.
Kara had had enough. “What’s with this ugly thing?” She lifted the snowman between two fingers gingerly. It was just as gross as it was in years past.
“Careful with that, honey,” Mom’s eyes widened.
“You can hang it here,” Dad pointed to a limb near the top of the tree. “It’ll look great there.”
“It’ll look better in the trash.” she held it at arm’s length. “I mean, why do you keep it? It makes the whole tree look bad.” Mom and Dad stopped decorating.
“Let me tell you a story,” Dad took the snowman, put an arm around Kara’s shoulders and led her to his big easy chair. He sat down and tapped his lap with his hands.
“I’m too old to sit on your lap, Dad.” Kara folded her arms. “And I’m too old for stories. Why can’t you just tell me why you and Mom go gaga over that thing?”
“Fourteen isn’t too old.” He tapped his lap again. Kara rolled her eyes but obligated. “A long time ago, a little girl got a new toy for Christmas.” Kara groaned. “It was stuffed, and played the music to ‘Silent Night’. The little girl loved it.
“One day, a fire broke out. The little girl was scared and decided to hide from the fire. Her parents searched for her. But they couldn’t find her. They called for her, but she didn’t answer. They didn’t know what to do.
“Then they heard it. Music from ‘Silent Night’. It was coming from a spare closet on the second floor, near the little girl’s bedroom. They ran to the closet and found the girl huddled in the corner hugging her toy, which played the music when it was squeezed. The three of them got out of the burning house safe and sound.”
“Great story, Dad. So, what?”
“You were too young to remember the fire, honey,” Mom rubbed Kara’s shoulder. “But this snowman,” she took the ornament form Dad, “saved your life.” She hung it on the tree. “It was too damaged to give it back to you, so we made an ornament out of it.”
“And it’s stayed with our regular ornaments ever since.” Dad gazed up at the tree. Kara did likewise. The snowman didn’t seem quite so ugly anymore. Kara hopped off Dad’s lap and grabbed her phone. Time to blow up facebook with Christmas selfies. And an incredible story to tell her friends.