Published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp or Sarah Masters Buckey; illustrator Dan Andreasen, Troy Howell, Susan McAliley, or Philip Hood
This book takes place in the December following Samantha Learns a Lesson. Nellie is more accepted by Samantha's friends, with whom she sometimes goes skating after school. But she still endures barbs from bullies, including a very public and extraordinarily rude uninvitation to a Christmas party. To lift Nellie's spirits, Samantha suggests the small group of friends have their own party. When another girl suggests they all exchange presents, Samantha makes plans with Nellie to make their own gifts, so that Nellie, who doesn't have the money to buy presents, won't be left out. Unfortunately, the corsages they try to make out of pine cones, ribbon, paper snowflakes, and glitter are a disaster. Nellie thanks Samantha for her help, but declines further offers.
The next time the girls meet to skate, Nellie is absent. Samantha goes to the Van Sicklens' house, but Nellie is unusually abrupt and all but shoos Samantha out the door. Samantha thinks Nellie is upset with her, so is surprised to see her at the Christmas party. The girls have a fun afternoon together, and present Nellie with a gift they all chipped in for: a brand-new pair of ice skates to replace her old rusty ones. Nellie is overjoyed, and not just because of her friends' kindness: she has something to show them.
Nellie leads the girls to the ice skating pond. She and her father got up before sunrise that morning and decorated it with the supplies from the failed corsages. Her father is waiting for them with his violin, and plays music for them to skate to, and the girls have a magical time.
Ice skating was very popular in the early 1900s, fueled in part by the Olympic games. When women competed in ice skating, the were expected to wear long ankle-length skirts and refrain from performing any "unlady-like" jumps. But in 1924 eleven-year-old Sonja Henie worn a knee-length skirt and so impressed the judges with her twirls and leaps that she won the gold medal, paving the way for the figure skaters we're used to today.
My short story collection book is inscribed in the front with "Elysa #21 Mrs. Able."
I have a Christmas party with some of my friends from high school this weekend. We all bring some snacks, some cookies, and ONE gift for a gift exchange.
Nellie's last name is O'Malley. It's not stated outright in the books, but I think her family must have recently immigrated from Ireland. Her parents' being Irish would explain their difficulty in finding gainful employment.