"The Last Christmas Tree" by Mary T. Wagner is the enchanting account of a middle-aged woman, Leslie, struggling to find herself and to adjust to the changes that life brings. As her children reach adulthood, Leslie realizes that over the years her individuality has been absorbed by her roles as mother, wife, housekeeper, etc. In the process of re-defining herself, she now faces the prospect of a dissolving marriage, the pending remarriage of her soon-to-be ex-husband, Doug, and the perceived abandonment by her children. She faces spending her first Christmas alone in a state of self-pity and deep depression. Her sole companion for the holiday on their isolated farm is her faithful collie dog, Betsy. Leslie declares that the magnificent tree standing unadorned in the corner will be "The Last Christmas Tree".
However, events soon experience a drastic upturn. Doug stops by to pick up some lumber to build a coffee table for his fiancé. Because of the bitter weather, his vehicle fails to restart, so they are forced to spend the evening in the house together. She makes hot chocolate while he builds a fire. The evening drags on and they gradually begin to open up to each other, something they haven't done in a very long time.
The story, despite getting off to a weak start because of the overuse of routine descriptive adjectives, gathers strength and becomes a compelling tale. Enduring love and twists of fate serve to overcome the fissures in the family bond created by life's changes. The ending brings comfort and joy, both appropriate sentiments for the holiday season! Cancelled: Stamps to Die For