Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect

Long, long ago, in a land far away, lived a perfect little tree named Small Pine. Small Pine hoped to maintain its perfect form and be selected by the Queen as her Christmas tree. But as the warm-hearted little tree gave shelter to birds, rabbits, and deer in the forest, its branches became damaged. Fortunately, the Queen had a different idea of perfection..

From Mary

Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider is the perfect story for anyone who has ever striven towards a goal, only to find it unattainable due to unforeseen circumstances.  As I shared this story with my first graders, we discussed Small Pine’s selflessness in providing shelter for the forest animals – even at the expense of the damage it caused its branches. Knowing the perfection of its shape was diminishing did not cause it to quit giving aid when the animals were in danger.  To make the story more meaningful, we actually bent and broke branches on our classroom Christmas tree while reading the book.  As gaping holes began to appear the class could understand as we read, “Small Pine wilted in sorrow. It could hear what the larger, still-perfect trees were saying about how bad it looked. A tear of pine gum oozed from the tip of a branch.  Small Pine knew it could never hope for the honor of being the Queen’s Christmas tree.”  But oh!! The joy and excitement by the class when Small Pine was chosen by the Queen! For she had indeed looked past the drooping, nibbled branches and understood the sacrifice that had been made.

As we drew and colored our own personal Christmas trees, perfection didn’t seem to matter. Each child created their own “perfect” tree and we celebrated the beauty of them all! After all, Small Pine had taught us that “living for the sake of others makes us most beautiful in the eyes of God.”

Mary Kline








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