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Chapter 2: " A Merry Christmas"
The girls wake up on Christmas morning to find no stockings hanging by the fireplace, but instead a small Bible under each girl’s pillow. Following Meg’s example they vow to read a little every day. Their mother has already gone somewhere; Amy disappears for a while and returns with a larger, prettier bottle of cologne for Marmee’s present. She says she felt guilty about buying the small one in order to save a little money for herself, and now she will be giving Marmee the best present of all.
Mrs. March returns to tell the girls about a family who has a new baby and six other children huddled in a bed trying to keep warm without heat or food. She asks if the girls would be willing to give up their breakfast to which they almost immediately agree. After making the family as comfortable as they can, the return home to a breakfast of bread and milk, then continue with their Christmas plans, putting on a play for a dozen friends.
Christmas dinner is ample reward for their morning sacrifice. Mr. Laurence, their next door neighbor has sent over cake and ice cream along with flowers for decoration. The note says he heard of their generosity and wanted to send a few "trifles" of appreciation. The girls decide they would like to become better acquainted with Mr. Laurence and his son Laurie.
Chapter 2 introduces the pattern of caring for others in the neighborhood and shows that although the girls complain about their state, they will immediately give up something they wanted if someone else needs it. It also prepares the scene for the entrance of the Laurence’s into the March lives.