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Summary Things improve in the Nolan household. With Francie's raise, there is more money, and Neeley does not complain about school. They even have money to go Christmas shopping. Katie buys a new red hat for herself and a sweater suit for the baby. Neeley wants Francie to buy a pair of grey spats for him, and Francie asks Neeley to buy a lace lingerie set for her.
While returning home, the family stops and buys a small fir tree, which is planted in a pot. After decorating it for Christmas, they can grow it in the house. On Christmas Eve, the family opens their presents and puts on their new clothing before going to church. Some of the neighborhood boys laugh at Neeley for wearing spats, and Francie freezes because of her flimsy lingerie. Both silently wish they had chosen something else for a gift.
This Christmas is a happy one, for the family can actually afford a small tree and a few presents. Katie gets a new red hat; even though it is on the expensive side, the children insist on buying it for her. Francie and Neeley also decide to buy each other a present. Neeley chooses spats, wanting to feel grown-up, and Francie chooses lace lingerie, wanting to feel sophisticated; their choices reveal a bit of immaturity, for neither is a practical gift. When Neeley wears the spats to church, the other boys laugh at him, and Francie nearly freezes in her flimsy underwear. Both of them put their presents away, never to be worn again.