54: The Easter Egg Christmas

54: The Easter Egg Christmas

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christian Kids

The Easter Egg Christmas

Easter was just a week away when the radio announcements began. Each day, as the holiday approached, my five-year-old daughter Ashley and I would hear updates about the Easter egg hunts coming up at local parks in our area.

With the first mention of the events, Ashley began pleading with me to take her to one of the big egg hunts the coming weekend. I knew in my heart that sometimes events like these could set kids up for disappointment. With so many kids scrambling for only so many eggs, the odds of her not finding any at all were very real. Still, I did not want to be the reason why she might feel let down, so I smiled at her and agreed to take her, all the while hoping that she would be able to find at least one egg.

Saturday came and we drove to the hunt that Ashley had decided would be best. The parking lot was jammed with cars loaded with children. Frustrated by all the chaos, I considered leaving and just going home again when Ashley jumped out of the car with basket in hand, eager to begin hunting. She was not discouraged in the least by the crowds.

After I parked the car, I joined Ashley and as we began walking toward the event area, we heard an announcement on the loudspeaker. The Easter Bunny had hidden hundreds of eggs early that morning, and each and every one contained a surprise inside. Ashley’s eyes lit up as she imagined what treasure she might find inside the special eggs.

I glanced across the field that was roped off for the hunt and was easily able to see several eggs lying out in the open area. To make sure that the hunt was fair for kids of all ages, the field was roped off in sections and each section had an age limit. Ashley signed in and was directed to the proper line for her age group. When the whistle blew and the rope was dropped, the children ran into the field searching quickly for all the eggs they could find. After the hunt was officially over, each child began his journey back across the field.

Disappointment showed on the faces of the children who didn’t find any eggs. Huge smiles were on those who did. I searched the crowd for Ashley, growing concerned that she might be in the group of children who didn’t find anything. I hoped that her heart had not been broken.

Just then, I spotted her in the distance running toward me with her basket. To my relief, she was smiling. Once she reached me, I counted three eggs lying in her basket. She plopped down on the grass and reached for one, which she quickly twisted open.

The egg contained a certificate for a Happy Meal™ compliments of McDonald’s. That made her day right there, regardless of what else might be in the other two eggs. We decided we’d go there for lunch.

The second egg rattled when she shook it. The mystery was quickly solved when several golden tokens to Chuck E. Cheese fell from the plastic egg. Ashley looked up at me with pleading eyes and asked if we could go there and play for a while after we ate at McDonald’s. I agreed as she reached for the last egg.

I didn’t think that anything would top what she had found in the first two eggs until we saw it with our own eyes. There, inside egg number three, was a gift certificate to Toys “R” Us for fifty dollars!

Ashley had won the grand prize!

She jumped up and down, thrilled, as I expected she would be. But I had no idea that her happiness wasn’t simply because she had won a toy-shopping spree until we got in the car.

“Mommy, can we stop by the mall on the way home?” Ashley asked.

I assumed that she wanted to spend her gift certificate, and I agreed. As I buckled her into her seat, I quizzed her on what toy she had in mind.

“I don’t want any toys for me, Mom. I want to buy some toys for an angel,” she replied.

“An angel?” I questioned. I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. And then I remembered what had happened during the previous holiday season.

Last Christmas, Ashley and I had been doing our Christmas shopping in the mall. We came upon a gigantic tree in the middle of the mall with paper angels hanging from the tree branches. Each angel had the name of a child written on it. Ashley asked me what they were for. I explained that sometimes Santa can’t visit every child’s house on Christmas Eve, so he sends a list of kids to the Salvation Army. They put the names on angels and hang them on this special tree in the mall. That way, people can help Santa out by giving presents to one of the children whose name is on an angel. The tree is called an Angel Tree.

Ashley just stood there, looking at the tree and all the names hanging there. Distracted with thoughts of completing my Christmas shopping and thinking that I had satisfied her curiosity, I rushed her off so I could finish looking for the items I had on my Christmas list.

Later that night, as Ashley was getting ready for bed, she wanted to know what happens to the angels who no one buys presents for. “Will they get any toys?” she asked.

I explained that the Salvation Army would try and see to it that every child would have a visit from Santa on Christmas. Her concern touched me so much that I suggested we say a special prayer for every kid whose name was on the Angel Tree. So we offered a prayer that all of the Angel Tree children would get presents for Christmas. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I had thought that was the end of it, but now, months later, I realized that she had never forgotten about the Angel Tree children. I pulled over to the side of the road and looked into the eyes of this little girl sitting beside me. Though small in size, her compassion for others was huge. I explained to her that the Angel Tree is only in the mall at Christmas and it was now Easter. There would be no Angels to adopt at this time of year.

Ashley sat there in silence for a minute and then she looked at me.

“Mommy, can we save this money until Christmas?” she asked.

“Yes, we can,” I answered. “And we will make some girl or boy very happy!”

I looked at the excitement on Ashley’s face and realized that all along I had acted like Christmas was all about buying the right gifts for my family and friends, decorating our home and creating a wonderful Christmas dinner. It had taken my five-year-old daughter to make me realize that it is up to all of us to help the less fortunate, especially at Christmas. Her compassion woke me up to what the true spirit of Christmas is all about. As I pulled back onto the highway, I knew in my heart that I had developed a respect for my daughter that I would carry with me forever.

That next Christmas, Ashley and I went to the mall on the very first day that the Salvation Army put up the big, beautiful Angel Tree. We quickly picked out two Angels, one for Ashley and one for me, and with smiles on our faces we set off for an extra-special shopping trip.

That early December day, we began a Christmas tradition that all started because of an extraordinary Easter egg hunt and a little girl with a very big heart.

~Denise Peebles
Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas Treasury

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners