An evening in December: It is still early, but the night has drawn in. Her hometown looks magical. The grey facades of the old 19th-century houses are hidden behind the veil of the dark blue night sky, and the smog has lifted to reveal small shop windows lit by advent lights. She loves walking down her medieval town’s short high street, up to and past the old town gate with its tiny crown-glass windows.
Saving her pocket money and venturing out secretly to buy presents for her brothers and parents is a favourite pastime of hers in the run-up to Christmas. Today, however, she is not thinking of that. Today, her heart is beating fast as she walks down the high street with her mother, getting closer and closer to the window of the toy store. Her mum wants to walk swiftly past, but she tugs at her sleeve and insists that they stop and have a look into the shop window.
There, lit by bright fluorescent lights, is the most beautiful doll she has ever seen. Her eyes sparkle, her long, curly brown hair frames the doll’s face mysteriously, and the light blue dress with the white embroidered apron looks like it should never be taken off. It just fits so snugly. The doll looks a little melancholic. Perhaps she needs a hug. A young girl to take good care of her.
The girl is already holding the doll close in her heart. ‘Mum, look, isn’t this the most beautiful doll you have ever seen? Oh, how I would love Santa to bring her to me on Christmas Eve!’ Her mother nods, and they both stay a little longer to gaze into the doll’s eyes. Then it is time to go. There is food to buy, and the shops will close soon. They walk on. But Christmas this year is the most special Christmas of all.