Story Submitted by Kathryn Mantz

Every Christmas Eve we dragged a tree into our living room for a fun, colorful and chaotic night of family. My father always brought Chinese Food home and sat close to my mother. Christmastime made her happy. Music rang out from the stereo as we playfully fought over placement of ornaments and location of our soon to be present pile! Later, when the tree was laden with bobbling ornaments and twinkling lights bounced off the walls, Mom put on a Classic movie and let us March with wooden soldiers or see Santa creating miracles on 34th Street! The Hills could also be alive with The Sound of . We didn’t care about the movie. Or the tree and presents. We were happy and safe with both parents fussing over us and that star my dad always ceremoniously placed on the tippy top of the tree as he had us lined up in a row on the staircase up to our rooms – that bright star was hope.