The Perfect Christmas Tree
The woodland animals loved the Choosing. That’s when they’d search for the perfect Christmas tree. They would take it to the big clearing and decorate it with everything precious to the woodland animals.
The mice tossed seeds to rest between the needles.
The squirrels threaded ribbon to hang acorn tops.
The foxes and owls wanted to tie mice from their tails to the tree. Instead they chose bits of their own fur and feathers as decorations. The tree was the centerpiece of Christmas.
And every year Old Spruce hoped it would be his turn. He’d lived in the forest many years.
His branches were gnarled and knobby.
His bark was dark where the fire singed it.
He knew he wasn’t perfect. But every Christmas he wished this would be his year.
This year the spruce again hoped. Then it began to snow. “A beautiful Christmas snow! Wonderful!” he thought. But the flakes kept coming, forming deep piles of snow.
It was time for the Choosing, and the spruce waited. The snow continued. Then the wind came, howling and tearing until the quiet forest was transformed into chaos. There would be no Choosing this year.
The wind was so strong it started pushing Old Spruce, tipping him further until his roots tore out of the ground.
The tree crashed down.
The wind stopped.
Its work was done.
Old Spruce lay quietly. Then he knew what to do. Pushing off the ground with his branches, he headed toward the clearing. When he reached it he twisted right, then left, anchoring his roots deep into the snow.
A bright sun greeted the woodland animals the next morning. Their eyes were so dazzled by twinkling snow diamonds that they didn’t see Old Spruce at first.
Soon a great cheer erupted. “A Christmas Tree!” and the animals scurried off. There was a tree to decorate!
Old Spruce mumbled a deep, contented sigh. He stretched his roots down, down, down.
There were no more Choosing’s after that year. The woodland animals already had their perfect Christmas tree.