A Read Aloud Story For The Whole Family
By Virginia L. Kroll © 1987
Issue: December, 1987
It was an innocent mishap, really. When the family was taking down the Christmas tree, all of the ornaments were lined up neatly on the couch, ready to be packed away in their boxes until next year. Someone had placed the little angel on the arm of the coach, which had been moved out of its usual position to accommodate the tree. She had slipped off onto the floor unnoticed, and, as one thing kept leading to another, someone's foot accidentally kicked her underneath the couch, which was subsequently moved back into place. It wasn't until two weeks later that the youngest child, Katya, noticed the angel while retrieving one of her blocks.
She was a small angel made of felt and rather nondescript. Except for her bright yellow hair and the glitter that rimmed her wings, she was really quite ordinary. Year after year, whenever guest looked over the Christmas tree, they rarely commented about her. And unlike the special, memorable ornaments, no one even remembered where she came from.
"Mama," yelled Katya, running into the kitchen where her mother was making dinner, "Look! We forgot an ornament."
"Oh thanks, honey. Just put it on the counter top for now."
Seth and Joshua came in from their street hockey game. "What's this angel doing here?" asked Seth.
"Just a forgotten ornament," answered his mother. "Will you go to the attic and put it away, please?"
"Sure, but first I have to call Pete," said Seth.
"And Josh," said their mother, "would you kindly keep Hannah entertained till dinner's ready? She's in the playroom."
"O.K., Mom," agreed Josh as he moved the angel over to sort through the mail.
Sara came in from band practice and moved the angel from the counter top to the stereo cover so she could mash the potatoes.
Pretty soon, their father came home from work and went to turn on some "dinner music," as he called it. He transferred the angel to the coffee table in order to put on an album.
The family finished dinner. While the three oldest children helped their parents clean up, the two youngest girls were sent into the living room to play.
"Come on, Katya," said Hannah, "let's look at books." She brought several books from the bookcase and set them on the coffee table. That's when she noticed the angel.
"What are you doing here?" Hannah asked the angel.
"She's lost," Katya told her sister. "Seth was supposed to put her away in the attic with the other ornaments."
"Oh, she can stay and watch us read," said Hannah, looking around thoughtfully. She spied a tiny nail in the center of the double window frame above the couch. Something must have hung there long ago. The nail had never been removed, simply painted right over. Hannah stood on the couch and hung the angel on the nail.
"There," she declared, and she and Katya began to read.
One day about a month later, the boys began arguing. Seth chased Joshua into the living room. Just as he was about to hit his brother, his eye caught sight of the felt angel. Without realizing why, he suddenly didn't feel like fighting anymore. He left Josh alone and walked away, trying to figure out why he kept remembering the wonderful time he and Josh had had building their fantastic snow fort during Christmas vacation.
Weeks later, Sara stomped through the kitchen grumbling. Her best friend had promised to lend her yellow sweater for tomorrow's dance, but then decided to wear it herself. The girls hadn't spoken for two days because of that. Sara glanced toward the window, squinting with anger. Suddenly a thought popped into her memory. It was about how much fun she had had at the sleep over party Kristan had had at Christmas time.
"I can find something else to wear, I guess," breathed Sara, going to the phone to call Kristan.
About a month later, the tiny girls got into a terrible argument over who was using the doll buggy. Katya pulled Hannah's hair. Hannah was about to do the same to Katya when she spotted the little angel, hanging right where she had put it months before.
"You go first," Hannah offered, feeling the same way she had felt on Christmas morning when she had run downstairs and found the beribboned buggy under the glistening tree.
Not long after that, the children's parents were quarreling about which movie to see at the theater later that evening.
"I've made up my mind," said the mother.
"Can't we compromise somehow?" asked the father.
"No," stated his wife emphatically. "You can go to your movie, and I'll go to mine."
She folded her arms crossly and turned away. Looking out the window at the starry sky, she was all at once reminded of Christmas time. Her mind kept playing back bits and pieces of a conversation she and her husband had shared on Christmas Eve about how glad they were to be together and what a wonderful family they had. She was overcome with tenderness.
"I'll go with you," she said to her husband gently. "We can see my movie some other time."
And so it went throughout the year. The angel kept the spirit of Christmas alive. By her mere presence, she instilled love and togetherness, harmony and peace. Each time someone looked her way, whether he realized it or not, he was reminded of the season with its wealth of warmth and its multitude of memories.
The following year, when it came time to put up the Christmas tree once again, the whole family joined in the decorating. When it was finished, the father said, "Where's the angel for the top?"
"It's packed in a separate white box, remember?" said Sara as everyone rummaged around.
"Here it is," said Hannah. In her hand she held not the traditional tree top angel, but a smaller, more special one.
Everyone smiled in hearty agreement. The father lifts Hannah high onto his shoulders so she could attach the tree top angel to the uppermost point on the tree.
"I'll bet she loves it up there," said Katya.
The plain little felt angel with a rim of glitter on her wings sparkled with an aura as never before, reflecting a year of glad tidings and great joy.
How to Make The Angel Who Stayed All Year
To make The Angel Who Stayed All Year, you will need: one white felt square and a tiny bit of red, scissors, glitter, glue, about 6" of tiny tinsel garland (for halo), 2' of embroidery thread, and yellow yarn for hair and some stuffing.
For the facial features, you can use a black ballpoint pen to draw in the eyes and a red one for the mouth. Or, if you choose to embroider them, use red and black thread instead. Eyes can be done in French knots and mouth in a straight stitch.
You will also need regular white and yellow thread to match the felt and yarn.
1. Fold felt square in half. Pin angel and wing patterns onto felt and cut out two each.
2. On one half of the angel pattern, draw or embroider eyes and mouth. From red felt, cut two tiny circles for cheeks and glue on where shown on pattern. Set aside and let dry.
3. Using a slip stitch or a running stitch, sew wing section together. Do not stuff!
4. Apply a line of glue around entire edge of wings as indicated on pattern. Sprinkle glitter onto wet glue. Allow to set for about ten minutes, then shake off excess glitter.
5. Stitch angel pieces together as you did the wings. Make sure the face is on the outside, as you will NOT be turning this pattern inside out. Leave bottom open for stuffing. Stuff lightly and sew opening closed.
6. For hair, cut 15 strands of yellow yarn, each about 8" long. Take three at a time. Fold into inch long zig zags as shown in diagram 1. Pinch center and, using yellow thread, run your needle back and forth four times or so to make sure all strands are caught. Your curl should like the one in Diagram 2. Repeat with three strands of yarn until you have five curls in all.
7. Sew curls onto head along seam line, one in the center and two on each side.
8. Cut your 2' strand of embroidery thread in half. Set one aside. Tie the other one around the angel's neck in a small bow. Knot hanging ends to keep from fraying.
9. With needle, attach other piece of thread onto back center of head right near seam line. Tie ends together for hanging.
10. Sew wings to body. Be sure that glitter side faces outward. Set angel's body atop wings to center it, then stitch together in back.
11. Fold tiny tinsel into a circle. Attach with a tiny stitch or two to head to form the halo.