Before Anne Sullivan arrives, Helen enjoys the preparations for Christmas. She describes how she and her companion, Martha Washington, the cook's daughter, were allowed
to grind the spices, pick over the raisins and lick the stirring spoons.
Christmas, however, has no particular meaning for her. She writes:
I hung my stocking because the others did; I cannot remember, however, that the ceremony interested me especially...
After Anne Sullivan arrives, she teaches Helen to communicate by writing in her palm. Now, for the first time, Helen can participate in planning Christmas surprises for others and can experience the thrill of anticipation as she tries to work out hints about gifts. As she explains in her book, she learns more about language through sharing this anticipation than she had before:
Miss Sullivan and I kept up a game of guessing which taught me more about the use of language than any set of lessons could have done. Every evening, seated round a glowing wood fire, we played our guessing game, which grew more and more exciting as Christmas approached.
Helen also has the opportunity to hand out gifts to local schoolchildren. She learns that Christmas is about giving as well as receiving and is so excited that she forgets about her own gifts. This giving is a moment of "supreme happiness" for her.
Helen lies awake the night before Christmas, anticipating the next morning. What had been an incomprehensible celebration in which she got to help make and eat some extra treats becomes suffused with meaning and sharing once Sullivan arrives: Helen becomes a full participant in the holiday, and this fills her with joy.