Here is the 2nd half to this little short Christmas story, written for my smallest nephew (he’s five this year!) If you’d like an easy to print version to send to your little one, subscribe to newsletter. I’ll be sending it out all month. Merry Christmas!
Read the first half here……
One day, a few weeks later, The Man with the Boots walked slowly through the farm, muttering under his breath. “The cost of the workers, it’s late in the season, not a lot of trees left…..”
The smallest tree strained his ears to listen to what The Man with the Brown Boots said. He talked a lot of numbers as he lumbered up and down the zig zag aisle of trees. He stopped by the smallest tree and breathed in long and slow. He exhaled, then called out. “Cutters!”
As soon as The Man with the Brown Boots yelled, voices started yelling from the Tree Farm.
From every direction, the cutters came, running over the hill.
The Man with the Brown Boots stood with his legs apart, his hands tucked into his brown jacket. He waited until all the cutters were there. They stood in a half circle around him.
“Listen here fellows,” he said. The young men came closer, rubbing their hands together and stepping side to side to keep warm.
“This is our last working day of the year. There’s not a lot of trees left and it’s only ten days until Christmas. Most people will have gotten their trees by now. You’ve been a good crew and we’ve done real well this year. I thank each of you.”
He stopped and slowly looked around at the nine cutters. “I wish each and every one of you a good Christmas. At the end of the shift, come by for your money and my wife has a little something for you too.”
The men said thank you and nodded, many of them nudging one another as The Man with the Brown Boots dismissed them. “It should be good, full day,” he said as they walked away. “All the last minute decorators will be here.”
Sure enough he was right. The day was busy, not quite like the week after Thanksgiving, but it was steady and the people who came through were happy to have found a place with such beautiful trees. They tipped the cutters well. As a result, the young men whistled and were happy all the day long.
The smallest tree did his very best to look happy and inviting. Each time someone came by, he stretched up as tall as he could, making sure his branches looked very strong to hold the many lights, ornaments and candy canes the people would want to hang on him.
Throughout the day children came and giggled when they saw him. Some even gave him a hug. “Look, he’s just my size,” one little boy in a blue jersey and soccer cleats said as he ran to the tree. “Look Mom!”
“Yes, Wyatt, he’s a cute tree. But we need something bigger. We’ve got a big space in the living room.”
“Oh, all right,” Wyatt said. He gave the tree a smile. “Bye, tree,” he said and ran off.
Tears burned in the corners of the Smallest Tree’s eyes. Would no one want him? He shook out his branches and the tears flew off into the grass. “Don’t be such a baby,” he chided himself. “No one wants a soppy, cry-baby tree. Look lively!” And he put on his best face and straightened up as the next family approached. He remembered the advice of the stately blue spruce who had been picked out the week before. “It only takes one family to make your day. Just one family.”
“I just need my family,” he whispered.
By 4:00 in the afternoon, the sun was beginning to go down behind the hills. The sky was full of pink and purple streaks as the sun began its descent. The cutters were quiet after many hours of cutting trees and carrying them up and down the hill. Many worked through their lunch break voluntarily in order to make some extra money before they went home. The tree farm was getting quiet.
Soft footsteps approached the tree. A soft voice said, “Well, aren’t you a cutie.”
The Smallest tree straightened up, his little tree heart beating faster. He looked up to see a woman looking down on him. She wore a deep red sweater, red like the cranberries, and her curly hair hung loosely around her face and over her shoulders. Her phone chimed and she pulled it out of her pocket, tapped on it, then turned back to the tree. She kneeled down beside him and pulled at the end of one his branches gently.
“Oh, that tickles,” the Smallest Tree said, stifling a giggle.
She stood back up and walked away, moving zig-zag through the trees. The Smallest Tree watched her walk through the trees, going this way and that in no particular order. Even though it was getting very, very cold out, something about her soft voice made him feel warm on the inside of his trunk.
She was out of his view. He settled back down, thinking about the woman. She was probably another one of those bay area folks who wanted a grand tree for their entry way. The tall, graceful silver pine had been taken a few days before by such a family. There had been a tall man and his tall wife and their two daughters who were fairly tall themselves, taller than the Smallest Tree. The silver tip tree winked at him as the cutter lay her gently on the ground after he chopped her trunk and began to pull her away.
The Smallest Tree shut his eyes hard and imagined what the tall silver tip tree must look like decorated with lights and ornaments of every color. He hoped she was as happy as she thought she’d be.
“We’re closing up miss, the sun is about to set.” The Man with the Brown Boots said. The Smallest Tree opened his eyes and stretched out his trunk as far as he could. The Man with the Brown Boots was standing a few trees down. The woman with the soft voice walked out of a group of trees, coming closer to the Smallest Tree.
“I must have a tree this year,” she said, breathing heavily. “I know I’m running late. Just a few more minutes, please?”
The Man with the Brown Boots chuckled. “You remind me of my daughter. Always running late.” He shook his head and stroked his long beard. “All right then. You’ve got five minutes, then. Just yell for a cutter.”
The woman stood still as the Man with the Brown Boots walked down the hill, whistling ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” He stomped through piles of pine needles, making quite a racket.
The woman turned around in one circle, then stopped and turned around the other way in a complete circle. The Smallest Tree had never seen anyone pick out a tree like this. He looked at the trees closest to her. There were several handsome trees near her, all about her height, one was a lean silver tip with plenty of branches to hang ornaments from. Another tree was a bushy spruce, the kind where an ornament can go anywhere, there are so very many green branches. Which one would she pick?
“Cutter,” she called out.
“Coming,” a cutter yelled. The Smallest Tree heard him running, his boots pounding on the dirt from the hill on the left.
“You found a tree, miss?”
She began to walk towards the area where the Smallest Tree stood. He looked around at his fellow trees. One of them was going to go home. The last tree cut for this Christmas. What a special treat. Then the Smallest Tree jumped as the soft spoken women touched the top of his branches.
“This one,” she said.
The Smallest Tree blinked his eyes several times. “Me?” he said softly.
“The small tree, miss?” the cutter said with a tone of surprise. “That’s one of the tiniest trees on the lot.”
“Oh, he’ll be just perfect for my small space. I don’t have a lot of room and just a few special ornaments, but I must have a Christmas tree.” She kneeled down, her long curls touching the Smallest Tree’s branches. She wore a light blue scarf. Her eyes matched her blue scarf. Her nose and cheeks were pink from the cold. She smiled at the tree. “You’re perfect just the way you are,” she whispered. Then she stood up and backed away from the tree while the cutter kneeled down to cut his trunk.
The Smallest Tree was overcome with a rush of a feeling he’d never felt before. He had felt happiness and joy and excitement as he watched the sunrise and sunset each day. He enjoyed the feeling of joy when the children played with his branches. He felt thankfulness when the birds and other trees talked to him. What was this emotion, this filling up of his insides that felt warm and tingly all over.
“I’m feeling something different,” the Smallest tree whispered as the cutter chopped down his trunk. He described the feeling to the bird who sat on the branches of the tree next to him, a smile on his beak.
“Ah, that, my small branched friend, is the feeling you get when you realize you are loved.”
“Loved?” the Smallest tree said. “She loves me?”
He didn’t hear the bird’s response because the cutter hoisted the Smallest Tree over his shoulder and began to walk down the lane, the soft spoken woman by his side. She talked with the cutter, but kept looking at the tree with a big smile on her face.
“Oh,” the tree thought, “so, it’s not the best Christmas gift to be decorated beautifully or go to an exotic location or be the tallest tree. The best gift of the season is to be loved, I’m sure of it.”
I hope you enjoyed this story! Again, if you’d like a printable copy, you can sign up here for the newsletter and receive the pdf.