12 Days of Christmas, Day 4 – Frane Lessac

And for the 4th Day of Christmas we have words (and a picture) from Frane Lessac, a super illustrator from the lovely spot of Fremantle in Western Australia. Frane is also a long-time member of SCBWI Australia and New Zealand.  Do drop in to see Frane’s website.She is an author, illustrator and artist of international renown having over 35 award winning children’s books published throughout the world. Frané is on the Executive Committee of the Australian Society of Authors and the Illustrator Liaison for our chapter of the SCBWI.Here is her memory – a Christmas Tree memory.

I didn’t have a Christmas tree when I was a kid. I was envious of all the Christian kids with their houses decorated in colourful holiday lights. We spent weeks leading up to holidays singing Christmas songs and making decorations to take home, but I wasn’t allowed to put them up. At the crack of dawn on Christmas morning I’d run over to my best friend’s house and wake her up so I could watch her open the presents Santa miraculously dropped off during the night. Then I would return home and figure out how to spend the rest of my day. Most Jewish kids got takeaway Chinese food and then went to the movies.

A couple of weeks after Christmas, all over neighbouring streets in town, lay discarded Christmas trees. Many still glittered with tinsel. One year, I dragged the shiniest tree down the road and managed to get it up the three flights of stairs of our house and into the living room. I then propped it up with stacks of books and gave it water. When my parents returned home and recovered from laughing they said I had to remove it from the house before my grandparents arrived for dinner.

I dragged it down the three flights of stairs leaving a trail of glistening tinsel and placed it at our curb. The tree stayed there another week waiting for the next rubbish collection. All our Jewish neighbours gossiped that we celebrated Christmas after all.

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