In the morning they all woke up almost at the same moment. They looked at their socks and something was in them. Santa Claus had been there! Alice and Ella and Laura in their red girl’s pyjamas and Peter in his red boy’s pajamas, all ran shouting to see what he had brought.
In each sock there was a pair of bright red mittens to keep their hands warm. And there was a long, flat stick of red-and-white-striped peppermint candy, all beautifully notched along each side. They were all so happy they could hardly speak at first. They just looked with shining eyes at those lovely Christmas presents. But Laura was happiest of all. Laura had a cloth doll.
She was a beautiful doll. She had a face of white cloth with black button eyes. A black pencil had made her eyebrows. Her cheeks and her mouth were red with the ink made from berries. Her hair was black wool string that was twisted to make it curly. She had little red flannel socks and little black cloth shoes and her dress was pretty pink and blue calico. Calico is a type of cloth.
She was so beautiful that Laura could not say a word. She just held her tight and forgot everything else. She did not know that everyone was looking at her, until Aunt Eliza said, “Did you ever see such big eyes?!”
The other girls were not jealous because Laura had mittens, candy and a doll, because Laura was the littlest girl, except Baby Carrie and Aunt Eliza's little baby, Dolly. The babies were too small for dolls. They were so small they did not even know about Santa Claus. They just put their fingers in their mouths and wriggled because of all the excitement.
Laura sat down on the edge of the bed and held her doll. She loved her red mittens on her hands. And she loved the candy, but she loved her doll best of all. She named her Charlotte.
Then they all looked at each other's mittens and tried on their own. Peter bit a large piece out of his stick of candy. But Alice and Ella and Mary and Laura licked theirs, to make it last longer.
“Well, well!” Uncle Peter said. “Isn't there even one sock with nothing but a stick in it? My, my, have you all been such good children?” If children were very naughty Santa Claus would bring them a stick and they would get a beating instead of a present.
But they didn't believe that Santa Claus could, really, have given any of them nothing but a stick. That happened to some children, but it couldn't happen to them. It was so hard to be good all the time, every day, for a whole year.
“You mustn't tease the children, Peter,” Aunt Eliza said.
Laura's mother said, “Laura, aren't you going to let the other girls hold your doll?” She meant, good little girls must not be so selfish.
So Laura let Mary take the beautiful doll, then Alice held her for a minute and then Ella. They smoothed the pretty dress and admired the pretty red socks and the curly woolen hair. But Laura was glad when at last Charlotte was safe in her arms again.