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Bring in þis ad for 22 x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 small amount of joy. He loved seeing their faces, red-cheeked and red-nosed, hiding their necks with their scarves. On previous Christmas mornings, he would look through the windows of the houses to see all the boys and girls opening their presents. Each year, he heard of a famous tradition, where if you were good, Santa Claus spent time collecting the children’s Christmas cards and sending his fellow elves to design and tinker with the toys the children had asked for on the cards. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus would fasten his sleigh to his reindeer, carrying all the toys for the children around the world. As he landed his sleigh, he would climb down the houses’ chimneys to lay wrapped presents underneath Christmas trees and fill stockings with trinkets. This year, Jolly began to wonder what Christmas was really about. “Isn’t it all about presents and, instead of going to school, playing?” he would ask as the kids came to see him. The children would give various answers, but none of them gave an understanding answer. Jolly decided to ask one more time. “Excuse me, young boy. Can you tell me what Christmas is about?” The boy turned around and looked at Jolly, his brown hair hanging over his eyes. “To me, Christmas is about spending time with your family and loved ones.” Another boy came forward and said, “Most importantly, it’s being thankful to have people who love you.” “But I do not have any family or friends,” Jolly said wistfully. A freckled girl with short brown bangs and green eyes came toward Jolly and wrapped her arms around him. “You have all the love you need right here,” she said. On Christmas morning, as the sun beamed its light across the sky, Jolly found himself surrounded by presents and cards written with sincere words from the children. Afterward, the children came to the town square. Jolly smiled, seeing all the presents he had been given. “Merry Christmases, Jolly!” the children around him shouted. Right then Jolly smiled. He now knows Christmas is not just about presents and skipping school, but Christmas is about being around family and loved ones. Jolly felt loved and said, “Merry Christmas!” Honorable Mention A Beautiful, Bright Star by Tabitha A. Eastman Forest Ridge On his drive home from work, Tim noticed a strange youngster strolling along the snowy, busy road with a shaggy dog. Something was unusual about him. His coat was torn, his shoes were worn, and his face appeared dirty. He was unfamiliar, and Tim knew virtually everyone in this small town. The strange young man never entered Tim’s mind again until Saturday of that same week when he was at the grocery store, buying groceries for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Tim was in the checkout line, waiting to pay for his groceries, when he gazed out the window and saw the same strange youngster petting his dog in the parking lot of the grocery store. Tim noticed that the dirty-faced young man was wearing the same tattered coat and shoes. Tim decided that, after he paid for his groceries, he was going to speak to the boy to inquire where he lived. When the clerk handed him his change and said, “Have a nice day, Mr. Wilkins,” Tim looked up only to see that the youngster was gone. It was as if he had vanished into thin air! Thoughts of the disheveled boy haunted Tim all weekend. Monday was the elementary school Christmas pageant, and Tim’s wife was feverishly trying to put together costumes for their two children. Amidst the stress, Tim mentioned the young boy to his wife. She confirmed that there was no such boy at Gruber Heights Elementary School. Monday night came, and all the children gathered onstage to present the Christmas story to the community. As the little angels made their way down the aisle of the school’s auditorium, Tim was taken aback by what he saw. There, at the end of the angel band, was the little disheveled boy. He had the same dirty face and same tattered shoes — only ROYAL Landscape Nursery 20 % O one item Come Shop with Us! Always stay in trend with our fabulous fashion finds in clothes, accessories and gifts! • Topiaries • Shrubs • Trees • Fruit Trees • Crape Myrtles • Sod • St. Augustine • Floratam • Zoysia • Palmetto • ALL VARIETIES • Rocks • Mulch • Ground Covers • Palm Trees Foxtail • Foxtail • Robellini • Queen Palms • Adonidias • Sabals • MANY MANY MORE! Shopping with Champagne every Friday and Saturday until Christmas 4757 The Grove Dr. • Windermere, FL 407-217-7607 Give us a review on the web or social media and receive 10% OFF your next purchase. *must show review in person.

this time, he was wearing an angel costume and holding a beautiful, bright star. Tim squirmed through the entire performance — waiting for the right time to talk to the principal about the young man. When the pageant ended, Tim hurried up to the school’s principal. “Ms. Wright, do you happen to know the name of the young man at the end of the line of angels?” he asked. “You must be mistaken, Mr. Wilkins,” she said. “The angels were all girls this year. No little boys volunteered to wear angel costumes.” Tim was shocked to the core. Could his eyes have been playing tricks on him? Was he the only person who had seen the young man? All night, Tim tossed and turned. He worried. How could he have seen something that wasn’t there? The next morning, he went to the town hall to do research on the town’s history for the upcoming Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. As he turned the pages of the town’s scrapbook, a familiar face in a photo caught his attention. It was the disheveled young boy holding the town’s Christmas tree star. Immediately, Tim asked the town hall secretary, who had worked there for many years, the identity of the young man holding the star in the photo. “Tommy Brown,” she said. “He died shortly after that picture was taken. His mother lives up on Route 9. That sweet, lonely lady comes to the tree-lighting every year.” Tom asked about the whereabouts of the star. The secretary assured him that the star had been misplaced many years ago. Tim knew his mission. He knew that he had experienced a heavenly visit to show him what would make this year’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony the most memorable yet ... that same beautiful, bright star. Honorable Mention The Little Things by Meghan Grindle Williamsburg I was pacing around my room, running my hand through my hair. My class’ Christmas report was due in two days, and I still had no ideas. I glanced out x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x 23 the window to see it frost-covered by the New York snow. Maybe I can do my report about a snowman, I thought, then crinkled my nose as I remembered the classic Frosty the Snowman had already been done. My frustration only grew as my mom kept calling to me that lunch was ready. I stomped down the small stairs of my family’s second-floor apartment and made a beeline for the front door. “Jack, where are you going?” my mother called to me. “To find Christmas cheer!” I shouted, as I ripped my coat off its rack and slipped it on. Before I could even press the elevator button, the doors opened before me, and someone in a dark blue hoodie and navy-blue pants stepped off as I stepped in and pressed the ground-floor button. I stared after the person as he walked to his room. Weird, I thought and shivered a little. As I walked down the busy streets, people were walking back and forth from shop to shop. Many were also carrying or dragging Christmas trees from a nearby seller. I saw an older woman dragging a tree by herself. She looked as though it was painful to keep going, so I hurried my pace and asked her if she would like help. “Yes! Thank you so much!” she smiled at me, and I returned it. I hoisted the tree from her shoulder to mine and followed her to her complex. Once we were outside the building, she told me she could handle it the rest of the way. I trusted that she could and continued my walk, a little bit calmer now. I kicked snow as I made my way back to the apartment my mom and I shared. Still no ideas, I sighed. I let my eyes wander, and I found the same guy with the dark blue clothes. Maybe I could write about a Christmas stalker. I laughed at the joke I had made inside my head as I continued home. When I went through the lobby of our apartment, I saw a huge box wrapped in wrapping paper with toys inside. I read a paper attached to the box saying that the toys inside were donations CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 Holidays Best Bro and Waxing in Town! A day spa with a Brazilian touch, come and get your service with a special swing Ipanema Brazilian Waxing (First Time) From $45.00 to $60.00 Ipanema Waxing Services Buy 1 get 20% off the 2nd waxing service Ipanema Brows Shaping (First Time) From $21.00 to $25.00 Ipanema Brows and Lashes Bar Buy 1 get 20% off the 2nd brows services Ipanema Facials (First Time) Get 20% off Microblading Special From $300 to $350.00 BEFORE AFTER Microblading ***Microblading: 2 procedures included: 1 first-time session and 1 touch-up up to 25 days after the first-time procedure and payment can be split in two Installments ($200.00 and $100.00) *** 20% second service discount will be applied on the smaller price service. *** A deposit is required for Microblading and Facials appointments *** Not valid for Maintenance Prices or with any other discounts. 407-270-9102 • 6735 Conroy Rd., Orlando, 32835 *OFFERS EXPIRE ON 12.31.2017 YES, We have a signature Brazilian Waxing!