A simple, two-dollar Christmas gift changed a girl’s life — now she’s sharing the heartwarming story on Twitter

December 6, 2017 5:16 pm Last Updated: December 8, 2017 6:10 pm

It’s the holiday season, and most of us are in the middle of our Christmas shopping. The search for the perfect gift can be fun—but can also be stressful. Shoppers sometimes feel pressure to give their loved ones the best Christmas possible, which sometimes means buying them that expensive, hard-to-find new item.

Of course we all hear all the time that it’s the thought that counts, but we may not always realize that it’s true.

One woman’s story about her all-time favorite Christmas present will warm your heart.

Hayley Webster, a writer from Norfolk, England, recently shared a childhood memory on Twitter. While it happened 30 years ago, she thinks about it every Christmas—it was an unexpectedly thoughtful gift from an unlikely friend.

When Hayley was 9 years old, her home life was far from ideal. Her parents recently separated, and things were awkward. Hayley and her five-year-old sister were living with their father; their mother would visit, but only sporadically.

With her mother out of the picture for long periods of time, Hayley started bonding with her dad’s new girlfriend.

(Twitter/@bookshaped)

While many kids are immediately suspicious of their parents’ new partners, Hayley and her sister admired the young woman, and even though she never lived with them, Hayley can still describe her with vivid detail.

“She was a teacher. She drove a green 2CV. She took us orienteering. She had let us make make menus for Christmas dinner in Black and blue and silver.”

During this difficult period in her childhood, this new girlfriend offered the girls some much-needed attention. “We didn’t see my mum for chunks of time. It wasn’t a great time. This girlfriend turned up and made things nice, little gestures, little noticings.”

The family situation threatened to put a damper on the upcoming Christmas holiday—but Hayley was inspired to make things special for her younger sister.

Hayley was getting into the holiday spirit herself too, and she was getting ready to play a dancing snowman in her school’s Christmas pageant. She became a huge fan of the animated TV special The Snowman, which had just premiered, and was determined to figure out film’s theme music on the piano.

All of this enthusiasm went unnoticed by her parents. When mom would show up to visit, she would get involved in drunk, late-night arguments with her dad. Hayley was told not to tell dad’s girlfriend about mom’s visits.

But the girlfriend was the only one who paid attention to Hayley’s holiday cheer—and she felt bad Hayley never received it in return.

But then, Hayley received something in the mail.

It was a large envelope, covered in glitter, addressed to her. She opened it and found a note:

To Hayley. Have a lovely Christmas. Thank you for all your help. Lots of love from Santa’s elves xxx

It was from her dad’s girlfriend—and the gift inside was one she’d remember for decades to come.

It was the sheet music for the song she was trying to learn on the piano.

(Twitter/@littleamiss)

“Walking in the Air,” the theme from The Snowman, was the song Hayley had spent the whole season trying to figure out but “couldn’t get quite right.”

This girlfriend had apparently noticed and tracked down the score for her. It wasn’t just an incredibly thoughtful gift, it was a sign that this woman truly cared about and understood her.

Hayley wrote that Christmas day wasn’t nearly as special. Her parents had another fight that morning, and her mom only appeared briefly to give her and her sister video tapes before disappearing again.

But that one simple, thoughtful gift—purchased for only about two dollars—made everything better.

“That gift, that one small thing, taught me what it means to be noticed for who you are.”

Hayley later wrote that she lost touch with her dad’s girlfriend, and she hasn’t seen or heard from her in 31 years. But she’s never forgotten her kindness, and it’s a memory she carries with her through every Christmas season.