Spirit of Christmas lives in one family’s heart

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Chelsea fourth-grader Valerie Cramer won $125 in a fun family game about the Iron Bowl, she knew immediately what she wanted to do with it.

“I want to go to Wal-Mart,” she told her mother Beth.

“You can’t spend it all,” her mother said, “You can spend $25 dollars, but you need to put the rest in the bank.”

“Can’t I buy Angel Tree gifts?” Valerie asked.

Mother and daughter had been to Wal-Mart in Chelsea a few days earlier, where Valerie saw the Angel Tree and asked her mother about it.

“How could I say ‘no’ to that,” Beth said laughing.

After Beth explained to her what the Angel Tree was all about, the nine–year–old red–head (“I’m really nine and a half,” Valerie informed me. “I’ll be 10 Jan. 11”) bought two gifts for the tree.

Now she wanted to buy more. On the return trip to Wal–Mart she bought 15 gifts for a total of $130. (She borrowed $5 from her mother.)

Among the gifts were a dart board, baby doll, soccer ball and watch, she said.

When asked why she spent all her winnings on gifts for the Angel Tree, her answer was simple and to the point.

“I wanted to help children that may not get anything for Christmas,” Valerie said.

Hopefully, Valerie herself will be getting a very special Christmas gift this year: her mother home from the hospital with a new, better–operating heart. Beth says she expects to be home by Christmas after having open-heart surgery Dec. 17.

She’s expecting recuperation to go well, she said, with Valerie to take care of her and a lot of people praying for her.

Valerie agrees and is looking forward to a happy Christmas with her mother and other family members.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.