Edith did not return to Columbia until after the first of the year, so William Stoner and his daughter spent Christmas by themselves. On Christmas morning they exchanged gifts; for her father, who did not smoke, Grace had modeled, at the cautiously progressive school attached to the University, a crude ashtray. William gave her a new dress that he had selected himself at a downtown store, several books, and a coloring set. They sat most of the day before the small tree, talked, and watched the lights twinkle on the ornaments and the tinsel wink from the dark green fir like buried fire.
—Christmas in the Stoner household.