A Real Life Christmas Carol

For many children, this is not reality.

Yesterday, we took a trip to see a production of “A Christmas Carol.” We read and watched the Disney version the day before so students would have an idea of what was happening in the fairly complex story.

Something that was pretty clear (time travel is a bit difficult for eight-year olds, after all) was the difficult circumstances in which the Cratchit family lives. They are poor with a very sick son named Tiny Tim.

One of the differences between the play and the Disney movie was a surprise Bob Cratchit brought home for Christmas. It was a tree – albeit a scrawny and small one that most people would not be proud of.

When Bob pulled that tree from behind his back, one of the boys behind me (not from my school), aged about 5 or 6, said quite loudly, “That tree stinks!”

In a later scene, a larger tree was prominently featured and he remarked then, “That tree is much nicer.”

All the while, I thought about my own students. One has been telling me for a while that his family doesn’t even have a tree this year and will not be getting one. This has gnawed at me to the point that I rallied some colleagues’ assistance and have looked to find his family a small fake tree. Unfortunately, logistics have played against our goodwill.

This is the same student who told me that Santa didn’t bring him anything he wanted last year. It tugs at the heart…

So while I may not be able to get his family a tree, I did go to the store and buy him and each student a pretty nice gift. With their gifts, I’m going to give them a note that Santa “asked me to deliver” in which he says something inspirational to try to offset the probable disappointment of not getting the Wii, computer, DS, or Barbie house that they want (but which are out of my, their families’, and Santa’s financial capabilities).

It seems like the kids are just setting themselves up for Christmas morning dismay, and I want to do something small to help them through that.


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