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A Doll for Christmas

Her mother told her that what we give to others comes back to us, but she couldn't part with her doll, could she?

By Betty R. Graham, Alexandria, Virginia

As appeared in

Give up my doll? Never! How could my mother ask such a thing? But as I clutched my doll to me up in my room, I guessed I did know. Although I’d begged and begged for the doll the Christmas before, I only really played with her for a week or so.

By January she’d taken the place on my shelf where she sat the rest of the year. I was a tomboy who preferred to play cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood boys over attending tea parties with the girls and their dolls. But that didn’t mean I wanted to give her up! She was my doll!

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Mom came into my bedroom and sat down beside me. “Just think of how happy your doll could make another little girl,” she said. “Everyone at church is donating to our neighbors in need. Some little girl will truly love that doll forever.”

My five siblings were all giving things—favorite toys and dresses they’d outgrown. Mom was making her famous beef patties wrapped in pie crust. I was only eight. I didn’t think I had anything to give—until Mom reminded me of the doll on my shelf.

“Remember, Betty,” she said, “all that you give to others comes right back into your own life. I hope you’ll think about it.”

I promised I would, but when Mom left I clutched my doll even tighter. I remembered how I’d loved her on Christmas morning when I first unwrapped her. It wasn’t fair that some other girl would get her.

It wasn’t as if our family had so much. Mom had gone through my closet, which was mostly full of hand-me-downs. The presents I was giving my siblings were crafts I’d made at school.

I’d worked really hard to make them as good as they could be. I was sure they’d be happy with them on Christmas morning. But I wouldn’t be happy. Not without my doll.

I stroked her hair and smoothed her crisp, clean dress. She looked almost new, I’d played with her so little. No wonder Mom thinks I should give her to some little girl who’ll truly love her, I thought sadly.

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I played with her all that day—careful to keep her in the same pristine condition. By the time I handed her over to Mom that evening I thought she was the most beautiful doll in the world! It was the biggest sacrifice I’d made in all my life.

“I’m proud of you,” Mom said. “You’ll make a little girl very happy.”

That didn’t make me feel better. I was prepared to have the worst holiday ever.

On Christmas Eve there was a knock on our door. When Mom opened it no one was there—just a box of presents. There was food too, like Christmas cookies and beef patties. A box from church! I had no idea we were one of those families in need.

We gathered around the tree and passed out the presents. I tore the paper off mine and gasped. My doll! My own doll! She’d come back to me just as beautiful as ever.

Mom was right about two things that Christmas. What we give to others—like kindness and generosity—does come back to us. And my doll went to a little girl who truly loved her forever. Come January I might have gone back to being a tomboy, but I never took my doll for granted again.

 

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