A Christmas away from home
Maria and her mother are migrant workers from Mexico. She hates being a migrant worker because she cannot be with her family during the holidays. However, she and her mom always try their best to keep the family traditions. This year, there was something different. Maria attended a local contest for Christmas cards. For the first time, Maria started to feel that she could call this new place home.

Maria can be personalized in this story.

English
Chinese
A young girl named Maria and her mother are migrant workers in the United States. Maria hates being a migrant worker because she can't be with all her loved ones during Christmas.

This year in the town where they live, there is a contest for the best Christmas card. Maria wanted to enter because she has lots of ideas for cards. Her mother was not sure that they could afford it, but Maria convinced her by showing her how much she has been saving. The contest deadline was the next day and Maria promised to stay up all night working on it if necessary so that they could get it done in time.

They made two beautiful cards with pictures of roses on them—one for St Mary and one for Our Lady of Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico).

The next morning, they wrapped them carefully and took them to the post office just before the deadline. When they got home late that afternoon, there was a package from Madrid waiting for them.

It contains an old book written in Spanish by a nun called Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz about why God made roses so beautiful. When Maria looked inside the book, there is a message there from her father telling her how much he loves her and that he wishes he could be with them at Christmas this year instead of sending presents like last year.

Maria was so happy when she read the letter from her dad. Even though he was far away, he has still found a way to send her a special Christmas present. She hugged her mom and they both cried tears of happiness.

It was finally Christmas Eve, so Maria was making tamales to put on her tree-like she always did for Christmas Eve dinner like her dad had taught her. She put on the CD of Mariachi music that he sent them last year. He would never be there to see it, but she knew that he would be happy that she was continuing the tradition.

When they were done making tamales, they went out to visit all of their friends like they always did on Christmas Eve.

When they came back home, they decorated the Christmas tree all by themselves with ornaments that her dad had sent them over the years. And they hung up his letter on the tree too so that they could read it every day.

When they finally finished, Maria looked at the tree and saw a picture from one of their old calendars from when she was little—a picture of her dad holding a little girl in his arms. She smiled as she remembered how much he loved her and thanked God for keeping him safe even if he couldn't be there in person this year.

Maria and her mom were so happy with their Christmas card for the contest, and they had high hopes. On Christmas morning, Maria was excited to find that she had won the contest. The prize was $100 that she would spend on presents for her mom and the rest of their family in Mexico.

For the first time, Maria felt that she could call this place home and she and her family could start building new traditions and fond memories.

一个名叫玛丽亚的小女孩和她的母亲是美国的移民工人。玛丽亚讨厌成为一名农民工,因为她不能在圣诞节和所有的亲人在一起。

今年,在她们居住的小镇上,有一个最佳圣诞贺卡的比赛。玛丽亚想参加,因为她有很多做卡片的好主意。她的母亲不确定她们是否能负担得起,但玛丽亚给母亲看她已经存了不少钱,并说服了母亲。比赛截止日期是第二天,玛丽亚承诺如果有必要的话,她会通宵工作,以便能及时完成卡片的制作。

她们制作了两张漂亮的卡片,上面有玫瑰的图片——一张是为圣玛丽,一张是为瓜达卢佩圣母(墨西哥的守护神)。

第二天早上,她们小心翼翼地把卡片包裹起来,在截止日期前把它们带到了邮局。那天下午她们很晚回到家时,有一个来自马德里的包裹在等着她们。

它里面是一本由 胡安娜·伊内斯·德·拉·克鲁兹 的修女用西班牙语写成的旧书,讲述了上帝为何让玫瑰如此美丽。当玛丽亚翻看这本书时,发现里面有来自她父亲的信。他告诉玛丽亚他是多么爱她,他希望今年圣诞节能和她们在一起,而不是像去年那样送礼物。

玛丽亚读了父亲的来信,非常高兴。尽管他远在他乡,他还是想办法送她一份特别的圣诞礼物。玛丽亚抱着她的妈妈,两人都流下了幸福的眼泪。

终于到了平安夜,玛丽亚像爸爸教她的那样做了玉米粉蒸肉当平安夜晚餐,并把它们挂在她的树上。她还放上了他去年寄给她们的墨西哥流浪乐队的 CD。他不会看到玛利亚做的这一切,但她知道他会很高兴她保留着这个传统。

玛丽亚和妈妈做完玉米粉蒸肉后,像往常一样在平安夜出去拜访她们所有的朋友。

当她们回到家时,她们用她父亲多年来送给她们的装饰品装饰了圣诞树。她们还把他的信挂在树上,这样她们就可以每天阅读。

当她们终于完成时,玛丽亚看着这棵树,发现一张她小时候的旧日历上的照片——一张她父亲抱着一个小女孩的照片。她微笑地想着他是多么爱她,并感谢上帝保佑他,即使他今年不能亲自到场。

玛丽亚和她妈妈对她们拿去参赛的圣诞贺卡非常满意,并抱了很大的希望。圣诞节早上,玛丽亚很高兴地发现她赢了比赛。奖金是 100 美元,她要用这个钱给她妈妈和在墨西哥的家人买礼物。

玛丽亚第一次觉得她可以把这个地方称为家了,可以开始和她的家人建立新的传统和美好的回忆。

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