Christmas morning

© Illustration by Lois Lenski from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

They did not imagine the glory of that moment when they opened the bedroom door and saw the stockings, around the glowing stove, swimming in Christmas-tree light!

Margaret stared at the yellow-haired doll peeping from her stocking. She walked toward it slowly.

“Take it out, Margaret,” called her mother, while the others waited breathlessly.

She took it out.

“Squeeze it, Margaret.”

She squeezed it, looking down with a grave face.

“Mamma! Mamma!” said the doll in a light quick voice.

“Mamma! Mamma!” cried Margaret, her eyes like Christmas stars.

That was the sparkling summit of Christmas at the Ray house.

Stockings were unpacked down to the orange and the dollar from Grandpa Ray that were always found at the bottom. There were presents for everyone, beautiful presents, and joke presents too. 

Julia got a postage stamp (for a letter to Jerry) tastefully wrapped in a hat box. Margaret got one butternut with a card signed “Squirrel, Esquire.” Betsy got one of her own much-chewed pencils “With Sympathy from William Shakespeare.” Mr. Ray got a pan of burned biscuits. Rena had been saving them ever since she burned them almost a week before. 

(Excerpts from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace)