The book, The Blue Ornament, is a moving story about young Andrew MacClean, who has a life-changing experience a few days before Christmas. In the days leading up to this experience, Andrew faces significant stresses and worries. For one thing, his father tells Andrew –– who is focused entirely on getting what he wants for Christmas –– that he must make or buy presents for his loved ones with his own money. Meanwhile, Andrew continues to grieve his parents’ divorce and the death of his grandfather. In the context of this private struggle, Andrew has an experience that sets the stage for the rest of the story –– and for the rest of his life.
Andrew seems to awaken to a sound in the house. When he goes to investigate, he discovers that a boy about his own age is downstairs near the Christmas tree. At first Andrew is suspicious when the boy introduces himself as a friend. But Andrew quickly comes to trust the boy, who seems to know Andrew. After a while, the boy announces that he must leave. When Andrew pleads for him not to go, the boy tells Andrew that he may return –– but only if Andrew does what he needs to do to make the boy’s return possible. As the stranger blends into the Christmas tree lights, he promises that he will return when Andrew has given the perfect gift. Andrew sees the boy disappear into a mysterious blue Christmas tree ornament that was not on the tree before.
The next morning Andrew discovers that the blue ornament of his vision is hanging from the Christmas tree. He asks his stepmother Mary where it came from and learns that there is family story –– one that only she knows about –– that provides important clues to the meaning of his vision. She proceeds to tell Andrew the story of her father’s remarkable experience in France following the invasion of Normandy, in which he was given the blue ornament by the monk who made it.
Keeping his nighttime vision a secret –– even from Mary –– Andrew then sets about to discover what a perfect gift is. Andrew remains true to the seemingly impossible task of finding the perfect gift, until, finally, he comes up with simple ideas that reflect each person’s deepest needs.
On Christmas Eve, the stranger pays Andrew another visit to reveal the true meaning of the perfect gift.
On the surface, The Blue Ornament is a delightful story about a precocious child to whom everyone, big and small, can relate. However, it also succeeds in providing heartfelt solutions to some of the greatest mysteries in life. As such, it will appeal to readers of all ages who are looking for an inspiring story during the holiday season.
The Blue Ornament is comprehensible enough to be read out loud to family members of all ages, and it is likely to become part of the oral tradition of Christmas reading, along with such books as The Christmas Box and A Christmas Carol. It can be used, as well, by parents and teachers who wish to engage children in a dialogue about the deeper meaning of Christmas and the importance of giving from the heart.
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The Blue Ornament