Christmas 1887 was a very special occasion for Helen Keller. For this was the first festive season in which the word "Christmas" had been spelled out on her hand by Annie Sullivan. Annie had only been in Helen's life for a few months and yet had already been able to connect her to the outside world by spelling out words on Helen's fingers. And this was how she made Christmas come to life for Helen.
Her previous six Christmases had been a complete blank to Helen; she had no means to distinguish the gifts she received from other objects in the house, so there was nothing particularly special about the occasion. But once Annie spelled out "Merry Christmas" on Helen's fingers, she was finally able to enter into the festive spirit and enjoy the holiday season as much as any young child.
For the first time, Helen was able to understand the meaning of Christmas and the importance of giving gifts. The most wonderful event of Christmas 1887 for her was when she found herself in the embrace of a Christmas tree, festooned with gifts. Helen was so deliriously happy as she felt every present under the tree, even more so when she was allowed to hand out the gifts to the other children.