The Biggest Christmas Surprise Ever

by Carol
(San Francisco, USA)

My name is Carol. When I was seven years old, we lived in the small town of Homer, Delaware, on the eastern seaboard of the US. The little town had some chain grocery stores, sure, but we loved to shop at a little general-store type market just a few miles from our neighborhood.

It was a very pleasant drive to this store, and the few employees were always gracious and glad to see us, a family of five traipsing through their narrow store aisles, a mom and dad and three little tykes.

This store had most of the regular brands families look for but they also stocked the more unusual items.

One Christmas season, we started buying more and more of our food there. During one shopping trip, we noticed that the store manager was setting up a new display. The sign atop it stated that customers should hold on to their receipts, and a week before Christmas, they could redeem the receipts for various prizes.

Wow! I saw the most beautiful doll among the samples of prize choices.

Being a small child, I thought my mom and dad could just buy that doll for me that very day.

When I pointed the doll out to my dad, he thought he was helping me come out of my shell by ushering me over to the store manager and saying, “Now tell the man what you’d like to buy, honey.”

I meekly pointed to the beautiful doll. The manager said, “Well, you can’t have it.” I was shocked. Nobody in my protected little world had ever denied me anything so accessible as a toy.

The situation was explained. My dad said we’d save our receipts and get the doll for Christmas, and we continued our grocery shopping.

When we got home, I ran to my room and started clearing a spot on my dresser for my new doll, who of course would be named Lizzy, to live among my other dolls.

Lizzy would be radiant in her velveteen gown and little patent leather shoes. Her beautiful brown hair would shine across the room to welcome me every time I got home from a hard day at school.

I was imagining all of this for the three weeks until Christmas.

Christmas Eve night, I could hardly sleep. I dusted my dresser one last time, anticipating Lizzy’s arrival, and placing a very special doily where she would appear when I woke up.

My parents had gone to the grocery store for holiday foods, picked up the pre-wrapped premiums they got in trade for their receipts, and placed the beautiful package on my dresser.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, I dashed to the box, ripped off the big green bow, and there it was. The worst ever Christmas gift for me - A big, red, shiny, plastic dump truck.

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