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Liza's Christmas Gift


by Sylvia Gonzalez

Once there was a little girl named Liza who loved her parents very much. Long before Christmas she worried about what she could give them for a Christmas gift.

She didn't have much money since she only got five cents a week as pocket change. This she saved up over a long period to buy gifts for her school friends.

She tried getting her friends together to form a carol group so that they could go around to the neighbour's homes to sing for a small contribution. They refused to help because they all said they couldn't sing. They demonstrated by singing a few lines of the more popular carols "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" and in fact they didnít sound too well.

Then Liza had a bright idea. She knew Mr. Diaz who lived in the next village had a parang band. He never came to her village but her friends at school, told her about the lovely times they had singing and dancing to parang music. She wondered if Mr. Diaz would come to play at her home if she asked him.

One day she saw Mr. Diaz in the road and asked him if he would come and play for her parents. At first he said that he had too many homes to visit in his own village to go elsewhere. However, when Liza told him that she was hoping that the visit of the parang band would be a Christmas gift for her parents, Mr. Diaz agreed to come on Christmas Eve.

Lisa was so excited that Christmas Eve she could hardly eat her dinner. Every time she heard a noise outside, she ran down the steps and into the yard hoping to see whether it was Mr. Diaz and rest of the parang side arriving.

After a while she grew tired of running in and out of the house, so she decided to stand by the window and look out for the band. However, her mother told her to shut the window because the cold breeze was making her feel chilly.

Liza sat on a chair feeling very unhappy, as she felt that the band would never turn up. Suddenly she heard the sound of cuatros, chac chacs and guitars playing and voices singing.

She rushed down the steps into the yard to welcome the group of paranderos into the house. Her parents were very surprised, but they were also very pleased to have such a lovely 'gift' from their daughter. They brought out the ham, cake, sweet bread, rum, ginger beer and sorrel that her mother had prepared.

The band spent a long time at Lizaís home playing and singing and neighbours came over to join in the fun.

Liza enjoyed the party even more than her parents did for she danced , sang and ate some of the delicious things her mother had prepared. Mr. Diaz and the rest of the band enjoyed themselves so much that they promised to come to Liza's home the next Christmas.

They left Lizaís home with the strains of her favourite Christmas song, "Feliz Navidad", ringing in her head.

© 1976, 1998