Photo by: iStock

Angel Tree Gone Awry

Photo by: iStock

Last year, my husband, filled with the holiday spirit, sprinted to our church’s angel tree and rashly grabbed two paper Christmas balls with gifts indicated on the hidden side. He proudly thrust them at me and asked me to buy the gifts.

“WHAT? This one says a bike for a 12-18 year-old-girl WITH HELMET. That’s probably $150, plus I’ll have to haul that in and out of my Subaru. My wagon Subaru. The other one says a craft set for an 8-10 year-old-girl. You should have gotten another one like that.”

“I didn’t look at the back.”

“Of course, you didn’t. Listen. Next week, we’ve got to put this one back on the tree when no one is looking, and then just grab another one.”



So battling the wind and cold, I made my pilgrimage to Walmart. Finding the pink bike within minutes and silently congratulating myself on my efficiency, I went to take it off the elevated rack, but I got stuck with most of the bike over my head and a single wheel hanging on to the rack for dear life. My shoulders and neck screamed for relief. A wonderful woman—my own Christmas angel—saw my dilemma and came to my aid, hoisting the front of the bike for me as I panted, “It’s caught on something. I can feel something grabbing at it,” all with my arms over my head, the blood draining from my fingers and arms.

With the bike safely on the ground, it suddenly occurred to me that I had to push it and the cart to the front of the store. This is clearly a two-person job or a one-person job if that person is an idiot. So I weaved the bike and cart toward the front of the store as people cheered me on with these words: “Someone’s going to be happy this Christmas.” I would have given a little queenly wave but my hands were a little busy.

Safely through the self-checkout, I braced against the cold and wobbled to my car. There was some difficulty lifting the bike into the Subaru, some minor damage to the back area of the car, some negative thoughts about my husband not being there. But I digress.

I did it. And after dropping the bike off at the church, I had the satisfaction—maybe even bordering on smugness—for having accomplished this feat on my own. And, of course, I knew I’d feel great about giving this gift as soon as the spasm in my shoulder stopped.

This year, I will select the angel tree ornaments.

Elisabeth Richardson loves yoga, dogs, travel, and reading; she is currently going through withdrawal because her only son is a freshman in college.

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