It wasn’t the toy drive the teenager’s teacher had a problem with. It was the door decorating contest that he found unnecessary. Somehow, the decorated classroom doors were supposed to encourage and remind the students to bring toys to the school for children in need. A pizza party would be awarded to the class whose door was judged most worthy by the PTA judges.
When the door judging day arrived, the teenager and her classmates pleaded one last time with the teacher. Could they please have some time to decorate their classroom door? The teacher stood firm in his belief that classroom time should be spent on learning. They accused him of being a Grinch and sucking the joy out of their holiday season.
One boy made a final attempt to change the teacher’s mind. “It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming," he said. “I mean, heck, we could even tape ME to the door and at least it would be better than having nothing on the door!”
The teacher grinned, just a little bit, and believing it to be impossible said, “Ha….now that I’d like to see!”
With lightening quick speed, before the teacher could stop them, the students rushed into action. Within minutes the boy was taped to the outside of the door. Someone produced a battery powered miniature plastic Christmas tree with lights and shoved it into the boy’s hand. The boy yelled out, “Grab the red tape! Grab the red tape!” Someone covered the boy’s nose with red tape. Next to the boy’s head a sign was taped on the door. The sign said, “press here for song” and had an arrow drawn on it that pointed to the boy’s red nose.
The PTA judges arrived just as the students finished their masterpiece. The judges had already seen beautifully decorated doors covered with intricate glittered snowflakes, curly ribbons and fancy lights. They had seen real Christmas trees, and 3-D dioramas and pseudo fireplaces with stockings hung and fire glowing.
They arrived at the teenager’s classroom to find a boy taped to the door.
The judges looked at each other and giggled a bit. “Do you think he’ll really sing if we press his nose?” one asked out loud. “Only one way to find out.” said a brave one who stepped forward and pressed the red tape.
The teenage boy, voice cracking, burst out in holiday song. The students inside the classroom went uncharacteristically still and silent. Students and teachers from other classrooms quietly poked their heads out of their rooms to hear the singing. The judges dropped their judging clipboards to their sides and said not a word as they listened to the boy sing.
And when the boy was done, he started to speak, rambling just a bit. “We believe that Christmas should be a very personal time of the year. And what better way to represent Christmas and giving and what the whole season means than with some sort of personification of this special time. And we believe that there’s no better way to personify something than with a real person. That is why we have a real person on our door. Because we believe that people need to remember that Christmas and giving and toy drives are really all about people. Real people.“
One of the judges lifted her clipboard and began to write on it. Another judge asked the boy, “How long did it take you to write that speech?”
“Um…I didn’t prepare it ahead of time…I just kind of said what I think.”
And as the judges turned to walk away the boy heard one of them say, “Christmas…about people…how novel.”
Check This Out!
This is the recipe for the cookies I usually make to give to the neighbors for Christmas.
Soft Ginger Cookies
Mix 2 ¼ cups flour, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp soda, ¾ tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp cloves in a bowl. In another bowl, beat ¾ cup margarine, butter or shortening for 30 seconds. Gradually add in 1 cup sugar. Add one egg and ¼ cup molasses and beat well. Stir in dry ingredients. Mold into balls and roll them in granulated sugar. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes.
(As usual...I have a hard time following a recipe exactly. With these cookies, I tend to go a bit heavy on the spices and will often throw in a few dashes of nutmeg or mace as well.)