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by Suzanne Goloy-Lanot


“I wish we had a coupon for everything,” Mom said, gathering magazines and newspapers from the kitchen counter. “It would really save us a lot of money.”

Abbey stuck the detergent coupon into the envelope. “That’s the last one, Mom,” she said.  

“Thanks, Abbey,” Mom said.

Abbey took the scissors and placed it in the drawer.

“What do you want for Christmas?” Abbey asked, closing the drawer.

Mom tossed the magazines and newspapers in a bin. “That’s sweet of you, dear,” she said, “but I don’t want you to spend any money on my present.”

“But Mom,” Abbey said, “it’s Christmas. Everybody gets presents on Christmas.”

“I know,” Mom said, “but you’re already my special gift from God.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Abbey said, hugging her mother. “But that doesn’t count because it’s from God—not from me.”

 “Seriously,” Mom said, “I don’t need any presents. All I want is that you stay the way you are—obedient, respectful, kind.”

Abbey giggled. “Am I really?” she asked.

“But of course,” Mom said, stroking Abbey’s hair. “And I don’t ever want you to change.”

In her room, Abbey thought about Mom’s words. Not giving her mother a present just didn’t feel right. Mom worked so hard, and she deserved the best. A Christmas present would show that she was really special.

Mom loved necklaces. Perhaps Abbey could buy one for her. A bead necklace would make a good gift. It didn’t have to cost much, and she could find a pretty one, too. But she would still have to pay for it, and Mom wouldn’t like that.

Maybe if she made the necklace herself, it would cost less money. She would need jewelry thread and some beads. She could choose the best colors, and string them together. But she would still have to buy the beads and the thread, and Mom wouldn’t like that, either.

Abbey sighed.

 How could she give Mom a present, and not spend on it? Things cost money, she thought. Just as she was about to give up, a small white box caught her eye. Then an idea popped into her head.

“That’s it!” Abbey said. “I’m giving Mom a present that won’t cost me a single cent.”

First she cut off a flap from the box. With her markers, she drew stars of different colors around the edges. Finally, she grabbed a pen and wrote her message on it.

Abbey beamed at her work. She couldn’t wait to give it to Mom.


On Christmas morning, Mom gave Abbey a pink purse with black polka dots on it. She slipped a ten dollar bill inside it, too.

Abbey kissed her mother. “Thanks Mom,” she said. Then she handed Mom her present. “I didn’t spend any money on it. I hope you like it.”

Mom took the piece of cardboard from Abbey. Her eyes welled with tears when she read the words.

“Merry Christmas to the best mom in the world. Present to me whenever a chore needs to be done. Love, Abbey.” Then on the bottom she read, “No expiration date.”

Mom hugged Abbey.

“Thanks for this Christmas coupon,” Mom said. “It’s just what I’ve always wanted. And you made it really special because you obeyed me. I love you, Abbey.”

“I love you, too, Mom,” Abbey said. “Merry Christmas!”

 ©2011 Susan Galoy Lanot