Little Mary Beth Older lived in a big town in England, a quiet town, but big in a way that you wouldn’t think. Though the town had a small landscape, everything in the town was big. Big people, big, fancy restaurants, and most of all, big Christmas trees. Dozens and dozens of towering, winter-scented pines were standing proudly in each big store window and home, glittering like snow as there boughs presented colorful glass orbs. Every home looked exactly the same; gray shingled roof, brick chimneys with ash rings billowing out cozily, maroon front door with a simple holly wreath and a brass knocker, the rest just plain white. All simple, all big. Three stories to each house, each layer frosted with sweet Christmas cheer, each layer containing at the very least one pine-and-cocoa scented room bearing some overstuffed pillows, yet another tree, and maybe a television, stuck permanently on the holiday movie station. Little Mary Beth’s house was all the same except for one thing: she had the biggest tree of all. What made that so special was that the residents of her town were greedy, bossy, and foolish. They felt that if they had a bigger tree, Santa could fit more presents under it. So only the most gigantic trees were worshipped. Little Mary’s tree was decked with sprigs of holly, salty popcorn garlands, shiny red and green balls, and crystal jewels, and a big, golden, star to top it all off.
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