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A Girl’s First Christmas
by Saralee Perel
Thirty-seven years ago, a young girl made Christmas cookies for the very first time in her life. All of the cookies came out of the oven looking beautiful . . . except for one.
As she picked up the misfit cookie to put it in the trash, she suddenly stopped and looked at it closely in her hand. Something about throwing it away simply because it was misshapen didn’t feel right to her. “Just because something is different,” she thought, “doesn’t mean it no longer belongs anywhere.”
So she kept the cookie. She even made up a word for it. She called it a woodle. With colorful paints, she gave it a face. This made it seem almost alive. The girl decided not to tell anyone about this new treasure.
Late that night, when the others were asleep, she sat by the light of an old oil lamp and wrote this story.
A Christmas Tale
There once was a lonely woodle,
No one knew just what it was,
Christmas Eve was coming soon.
But this Christmas Eve, he decided that he
As usual, folks would slam their doors
Soon he was ready to give up all hope
Oddly enough he saw one more house.
From the chimney came smoke that smelled so good.
He peered in the window for a closer look.
It had popcorn and berries with presents below.
His presence was recognized quickly.
But it was too late, he was spotted at last.
And then he was given a most special gift.
For the husband and wife loved him so . . .
The Woodle Card
This was written by me when I was 25 years old. I was celebrating my first Christmas in 1977. It was the year I married my Christian husband, Bob.
I presented the poem to him that Christmas Eve. Bob had not known about the misshapen cookie. When he had finished reading the poem, he was wordless – touched from the beautiful sentiment. I didn’t say a word either. Instead, I pointed to the top of our tree, where just moments earlier, I had put the woodle.
For thirty-seven Christmases, the woodle has had its special place on top of our Christmas tree, where it has certainly found a reason to be.
To me, a special message of the season is this: It is not just our duty; it’s our privilege to make room at the inn. On the very first Christmas, one individual grew to help millions. By helping even one person in need, we never know what that person will accomplish, once given a chance to belong.
And of finding a reason to be.
Saralee Perel is an award-winning nationally syndicated columnist. Her new book, Cracked Nuts & Sentimental Journeys: Stories From a Life Out of Balance, is available in local bookstores.
It can also be ordered through Amazon, or directly from the publisher, as well as from Saralee for a personalized signed copy.
Her novel, Raw Nerves, is also available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon.