Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Story: The Perfect Present

I found this story in a book called Paper-Cutting Stories for Holidays and Special Events by Valerie Marsh, Alleyside Press, 1994. ISBN 0-917846-42-7. I've been telling it for so long that I'm not sure how close my current version is to the story in the book. I've also added a twist to the tree by gluing on decorations before cutting so that when the tree is cut out and opened, the children are surprised. They will guess that you are cutting out a tree as you tell the story, but they will not expect the decorations. It's been a hit with every group I've told it to, and often they will ask me to tell it more than once just to have the surprise all over again!

First, fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise. Then draw HALF of a tree on the paper. Bear down on your pencil so the line can be seen on the back of the paper. This is where you will be cutting, so the outline needs to be visible through the paper. Next, glue or color some decorations on the tree. I used Tacky Glue and sequins because that's what I had on hand, but glue sticks, peel-and-stick decorations, or just colored circles work just as well. The flashier the better with kids, but remember the decorations need to stay put. If any fall off while you're cutting it will give away the surprise. So make sure your decorations are very secure. Then re-fold the paper with the decorations hidden inside the fold. You're ready to begin telling.

Once there was a boy who wanted to get a gift for his family, but he didn't have any money.

"We're going to town," his mother said. "Why don't you come with us? We're going Christmas shopping!"

"No, thank you," the boy said. "I think I'll just stay home and make some gifts."

"That's a nice idea. Stay warm, and don't go too far from the house if you go outside."

After everyone left, the boy thought and thought about what gifts he could make. He could not think of anything. "I'll take a walk in the woods. Maybe that will give me an idea."

He walked outside (make first cut, the bottom of the tree trunk) and then turned by the barn and walked into the woods (second cut, side of tree trunk). He saw a path and started to follow it (next cut to corner of bottom limb). And there he saw it--the perfect present!

"Wow! That's it! I can give my family a tree! But I need a hatchet to cut it down." He ran back to the house to get a hatchet (next cut) and then ran back to the tree (next cut).

"Gee, this tree is too pretty to cut down. It won't grow back if I do that. I know! I'll dig it up, then we can replant it after Christmas! But I need a shovel." He ran back to the house (next cut) and got a shovel, then ran back to the tree (next cut).

He dug and dug and finally he had the tree dug up. But it was heavy! "I need a way to carry this tree. It's too heavy for me. I'll go and get a wheelbarrow." He ran back to the house (next cut, and by now the kids will be saying "back to the house" with you), got the wheelbarrow, and ran back to the tree (next cut).

He loaded the tree into the wheelbarrow and took it home (next cut). Then he dragged it into the living room and set it up . It was hard work, but the tree looked beautiful! "Now to get something special!" He got a ladder and went up into the attic (next cut), and climbed back down (next cut) with a big box.

He couldn't wait until his family got home. When he saw them coming up the walk, he ran out to meet them. "I have something for you! It's the perfect present! Come and see!" They all went inside, and there they saw

(unfold the tree now) the most beautiful Christmas tree they had ever, ever seen.

"Merry Christmas, everyone! This is my present for you!"


Jaime said...

Very cool! This is the story to the little paper tree I found in our house. :)

Granny Sue said...

Yes, that's it! The kids loved it, so we did it five or six times, I think. Simple, isn't it?

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