December 21, 2016

A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their favorite family Christmas memories. Today’s story shows us that Dr. Seuss was right: Christmas is not something that comes from a store. Christmas means a whole lot more. If you enjoy these stories, please let me know in the comments on my website below.

Tina from California wrote to me that she was a struggling single mom for many years. She managed to keep a roof over her daughter and son's heads. But there was no money for the Christmas extravagances many families enjoy. They had to be creative and "make do."

Instead of buying cards, they'd call relatives and sing carols to them over the phone. And instead of buying fancy Christmas treats, they'd go into the kitchen and make donuts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, and sweeten and decorate them with cinnamon and sugar. Tina said that for years, Christmas wasn't a good memory for her. All she remembered about those Christmases was being poor.

Then, Tina wrote, “When my son was 20, he said 'Mom, remember when we used to make donuts and sing to everyone for Christmas?'

Sulking, I replied, ‘Yeah.’

He said, 'That is one of my BEST Christmases. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love to give.'”

Tina wrote, “I have since changed my opinion...(Now), it is one of my best Christmas memories also. My heart grew 3 sizes that day!...Ever since, I make it a point to make a homemade gift for the people in my family. Last year, I made everyone throw quilts. Christmas is more than a day... It is a memory!”

Thank you again, Tina for that precious memory and a valuable lesson for us all. It’s not the presents you spend money on that stay with your kids for a lifetime, it’s your presence spent with them that they’ll cherish forever.

Tomorrow, what happens when playing Santa doesn’t go according to plan.

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Comments 1-6 of 6

  • Tine van der Meer

    12/24/2016 11:27 AM

    I really enjoyed your stories, but especially Linda's. Here from Brazil I'm unable to contribute anything, but even if I were living there I wouldn't be able to do so, because I don't earn anything anymore at my age, and am still helping our aboriginals with their ministries in Evangelism and Bible translation, so am short of funds most of the time. Actually I am short of the funds needed for one of them to pay his missionary training, for which they don't have anything. They are supposed to start their study program in February, and I am praying that somehow, somewhere, somebody will be able to help us out!

  • Ruth Sterba

    12/21/2016 07:18 PM

    That was such a touching story. I loved it! (Made me cry too.)

  • Linda Radosevich

    12/21/2016 04:32 PM

    What a sweet story from TIna...and what an awesome gift she gave her children many years ago by 'not having enough'!

  • Carol geyer

    12/21/2016 01:53 PM

    Love the stories Mike. Remind me of home.

  • Ellen Enfinger

    12/21/2016 01:24 PM

    If only people understood the real meaning of Christmas . The Baby born in a manger, born among the animals. His parents had nothing. But that baby grew up to be our Savior Jesus Christ who gave His life for us. Those of us who choose to love Him will have our place in heaven with Jesus and His Father, the glorious God Almighty. So we celebrate His birth every year.

  • G. Hizer

    12/21/2016 11:21 AM

    This story brought tears to my eyes. My husband's Hospice nurse, a single mother, just left with a couple of homemade gifts from us. I made jelly from apple cider and a loaf of bread in my bread maker. Cindy hugged me and said they would have the jelly with Christmas dinner and loved the bread when she received a loaf for Thanksgiving. My husband is bed bound and we have been blessed with several special nurses like Cindy. Thank you for sharing the love.