So each year, I post a holiday story for kids on this day. This year, the theme is, what else, trees! I promise it is the last of my tree obsession. I hope you enjoy reading it and, if you do, that you find a child with whom to share it. May you embrace the inner child in yourself this Christmas Season, forget all the trials and worries of the past year, and enjoy the holidays with hope and cheer.
Robin loved all the trees in his yard. He liked to climb the oak tree and sit in its branches. He liked to pick fruit from the apple tree. ….
But his favorite tree was the tall redwood that stood in one corner of the yard. He loved that redwood. It was so tall that he could not see the top.
One day his parents took him for a drive. They drove across the bridge to the other side of the bay. They stopped at the top of a hill.
“Look across the bay,” his father told him. “What can you see?”
“I see the university tower and the city buildings.”
“Do you see our tree?”
“That’s our tree? It looks so little.”
“But do you see how it towers above the houses?”
“Oh yes, now I see. That’s our house. I see our roof with the solar panels. And the tree is way above the roof.”
“Now you can see the top of our tree.”
The tree was the tallest thing in the neighborhood. And that was a problem. The neighbors behind did not like the tree. They wanted the tree cut.
“You can’t just cut a redwood tree,” Robin’s father told them. But they didn’t listen. And they got the city on their side. You can’t block someone’s view.
So the tree was cut. Now it was ugly. Robin didn’t like to look at it. It made him sad.
It made his parents sad too. So they cut it all the way down. But they left the stump.
The boy liked to sit on the stump and remember the tree.
One day he saw something green. He looked closely. There was a small tree growing beside the stump.
“Mama,” he called. “The tree is growing again!”
She came to see. “Redwood trees do that,” she said.
“Then we will have our big tree again.”
“She shook her head sadly. “Redwoods take years to grow. Besides, the neighbors won’t allow it.”
The boy was sad. But his father said, “I have an idea. What if we take that little tree and put it in a pot? Then you can take care of it on the patio. You’ll be able to see the top whenever you want.”
So Robin and his father carefully dug up and planted the little tree. They used a big pot because they knew the tree would grow.
The boy loved that little tree and made sure its roots were damp but not too wet and that its branches were clean.
The first week of Christmas, Robin and his parents went to the tree farm to buy a Christmas tree. They told him to find a favorite tree. But the he was sad. When his parents asked him why, he said,
“I don’t want to cut down a tree. That’s what was done to our redwood.”
His parents explained that these trees were grown to be cut.
“But the trees don’t know that,” Robin answered. “They want to grow.” He turned away from the trees. “I don’t want a Christmas tree this year.”
So they went home without a tree. The boy went over to his little redwood.
“Here is our Christmas tree,” he said.
“But we can’t bring this tree inside,” his parents explained. “It wouldn’t like that. It might get sick.”
“Then our Christmas tree will be outside,” the boy said.
“Santa can’t put presents under a tree outside. It might rain and the presents will get wet.”
“Then I just won’t have any presents this year,” he answered. “I don’t need presents. I need my tree.”
His parents didn’t answer and the Robin was content. His parents put the tree lights on the inside windows and hung ornaments around the house. His mother gave him the star to put wherever he wished. He put it on the top of his little tree. A top he could reach.
Whenever his parents asked what he would like for Christmas, Robin said he didn’t want anything.
Christmas Eve came. The family ate a special dinner then they sang Christmas carols. There was no tree to sing around but the Robin didn’t mind. There were lights glowing everywhere in the house. There were no enticing packages, but he didn’t mind that either.
He asked his parents if they could sing one song outside by his tree. So they went outside and sang Silent Night.
That night, it didn’t rain but it snowed. It hardly ever snowed in this part of the country, but it did this Christmas Eve. In the morning, Robin ran out to his little redwood and found its branches covered with snow. It was so pretty.
“You are a Christmas tree after all,” he told it. He saw a large package under the tree. “Go ahead, open it,” said his mother, who had come out too.
He ripped open the package and found a little garden spade, just his size and a hand trowel and a book about trees.
“I guess Santa heard about your tree.” His mother smiled.
“Santa knows everything,” he answered. “But Mommy, will the tree’s branches be too cold with the snow? Should I knock the snow off?”
She smiled. “No, trees are used to the outside weather. They know how to deal with it. Your tree will be fine.”
They went inside for a special Christmas breakfast. When Robin went into the living room after breakfast, he found presents lying in a heap under the lamp.
So he had presents after all. But the best present of all was his little tree, alive and growing, its branches covered with snow, and a star shining at its very top.
May your Christmas be filled with the hope and love the boy found
in his living Christmas tree.