The Christmas Wishing Tree stands tall in the town square, and I’m reminded of my seventh Christmas. We didn’t have much but Mum recycled, re-used and re-purposed long before it became an environmental catchphrase. Nothing was wasted.

I wanted, more than anything, the latest craze in dolls. All my friends had one, complete with accessories.

Coming home from school, Mum and I paused at the toy shop where ‘Annabelle’ sat. I wished on stars, crossed fingers and wrote a long letter to Santa.

Annabelle disappeared from the window. Could I dare hope? Had Santa been shopping? I knew Mum couldn’t afford her, but…

On Christmas morning, I found a parcel, just the right size for Annabelle.

But it wasn’t Annabelle. Instead a rag doll Mum had lovingly made from ‘good’ bits of our worn clothes. Mum sat biting her lip and I realised schoolyard rumours about Santa were true. Mum had done her best. It wasn’t Annabelle; she was far more beautiful.

I hugged Mum and felt her tears on my cheek.

At school, the other kids laughed and I wept quietly, hugging my doll in the corner of the playground.

‘What’s wrong?’ Our headmistress crouched beside me.

I showed her my doll.

‘She’s beautiful. Your mother is very talented.’

I felt better but resolved not to take her to school again.

That afternoon the headmistress met Mum at the school gate and asked Mum if she would teach crafts at our school.

Next Christmas our life was easier. Another Annabelle graced the toy shop window.

‘Would you like her?’ Mum asked.

‘No, Mum. I already have the best doll ever.’


I make my way to the little shop at the end of the street. Behind the counter Mum is making another doll. I tell her about the wishing tree.

‘Wonderful,’ she says. ‘We’ll donate some dolls.’

Wishes don’t always materialise as you expect. Mum’s recycled dolls became so popular we opened our own shop. Now, I sew, too.

And I have a new wish now – for every child to have one of Mum’s beautiful dolls.

    4 1 vote
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    1 year ago

    A classic tale of a child’s Christmas wish made new. Maybe fairer to say that it’s upcycled? Either way, a delight from beginning to end. 

    Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz
    Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz(@henry-vinicio-valerio-madriz)
    1 year ago

    A very tender story… I was able to feel the mother’s love. A nice lesson to learn: appreciate what matters. I enjoyed your story a lot. Thanks for sharing.

    Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz
    Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz(@henry-vinicio-valerio-madriz)
    Reply to  Sandra James
    1 year ago

    I see what you mean… it happens to many people. Fortunately, it’s never too late to do the right thing. Blessings

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    So many wonderful happenings flowed out of the young girl’s appreciation and love for her mother. A truly selfless youngster.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Oh! Sandra. What a beautiful story. And the moral lessons were totally life changing. I will surely share it with my children. Thanks for sharing this lovely story. Well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Sandra James
    1 year ago

    You’re welcome, Sandra. It is a lovely read. And my children also love it.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Sandra James
    1 year ago

    Congratulations on your win, Sandra.

    Last edited 1 year ago by Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Sandra James
    1 year ago


    Greene M Wills
    Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
    1 year ago

    How I love this story, Sandra! It reminds me of many Christmases I spent wishing for stuff which I couldn’t have. I realised the real meaning of gifts and value of them much later on in life. Thank you for reminding me of what’s important: love, togetherness and good deeds!

    Heather Chrzanowski
    Heather Chrzanowski(@heather-chrzanowski)
    1 year ago

    This story was very moving. Was it based on true events? It felt so real. Excellent writing! I wanted to hug that little girl while she struggled with her sense of what was important and what wasn’t. Made me glad my schoolyard days are over!

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    1 year ago

    Your story reminds me of how important it is for children to be like other kids, to have what’s popular and to adapt your taste to the main stream taste. In this case, it turns out a bit different. Good work!

    Preston Randall
    Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
    1 year ago

    I was very moved by this story. Everything in it rings true, from the emotional turmoil of the main character to the extremely engaging and descriptive narrative and dialogue. I love stories that encourage a reflection of values without “hitting one over the head” and this story accomplished that, and more.

    Bella Minyo
    Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
    1 year ago

    Sandra, a truly heartwarming story about gratitude and how homemade can almost always be better due to the thought and passion that goes into a homemade gift. I had a delightful time reading your story!

    Emily O'Leary
    Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
    1 year ago

    This is such a sweet and heart-warming story Sandra! I’m so pleased for their happy ending ❤

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    I’m not sure how I missed this one, Sandra, what a beautiful story. Well done 🙂

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    1 year ago

    Congratulations Sandra! A lovely story.

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    1 year ago

    This is a lovely story, Sandra, and reminds me of my own childhood. We were very poor in money but so rich in everything else. One Easter my Mom made beautiful dresses for my sister and me, and Dad made us little matching pocketbooks covered with the material from the dresses. We felt like royalty dressed in our coordinated Easter finery!

    Congratulations on your win, Sandra – you truly deserved it.

    Susan Dawson
    Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
    1 year ago

    You’ve got us all wanting one now! Congratulations also on your runner up

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