Christmas in Burnet, Ohio, 1860

The desk and sled were too big to go into any stocking, so they were wrapped in paper and hung beneath the other things. It was ten o’clock before all was done, and Papa and Aunt Izzie went away. Katy lay a long time watching the queer shapes of the stocking-legs as they dangled in the firelight. Then she fell asleep.

It seemed only a minute, before something touched her and woke her up. Behold, it was day-time, and there was Philly in his night-gown, climbing up on the bed to kiss her! The rest of the children, half dressed, were dancing about with their stockings in their hands.

“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” they cried. “Oh, Katy, such beautiful, beautiful things!”

“Oh!” shrieked Elsie, who at that moment spied her desk, “Santa Claus did bring it, after all! Why, it’s got ‘from Katy’ written on it! Oh, Katy, it’s so sweet, and I’m so happy.” and Elsie hugged Katy, and sobbed for pleasure.

But what was that strange thing beside the bed? Katy stared, and rubbed her eyes. It certainly had not been there when she went to sleep. How had it come?

It was a little evergreen tree planted in a red flower-pot. The pot had stripes of gilt paper stuck on it, and gilt stars and crosses, which made it look very gay. The boughs of the tree were hung with oranges, and nuts, and shiny red apples, and pop-corn balls, and strings of bright berries. There were also a number of little packages tied with blue and crimson ribbon, and altogether the tree looked so pretty, that Katy gave a cry of delighted surprise.

“It’s a Christmas-tree for you, because you’re sick, you know!” said the children, all trying to hug her at once.

“We made it ourselves,” said Dorry, hopping about on one foot; “I pasted the black stars on the pot.”

“And I popped the corn!” cried Philly.

“Do you like it?” asked Elsie, cuddling close to Katy. “That’s my present – that one tied with a green ribbon. I wish it was nicer! Don’t you want to open ’em right away?”

~What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge, aka Sarah Chauncey Woolsey.

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