Christmas means a whole lot more

December 28, 2017

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.  

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 1-18 of 18

  • Tom Necchi

    01/06/2018 05:45 PM

    My Christmas this year was a special one. Normally my wife & her sister & I just spend the day together. I usually buy my wife & myself whatever I want, but this year I didn't do that. We learned that my wifes other sister & her husband who are farmers & didn't have any food
    prepared or any place to go, were going to spend Christmas all alone. My brother in law was out delivering hay on Christmas morning so
    we didn't know when he would return & I really didn't expect him to accept our invitation, since they don't like going to other peoples houses to eat. I called twice & invited them anyway, so imagine my surprise when they called at 2PM & said they would come. We were just finishing up dessert when they arrived, but we had plenty of food for everyone. We have been praying for my brother in law & his family for
    years to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior & Lord & we figured what better way than to invite them & fellowship with them. We had a wonderful time I will not soon forget. We can't buy these folks anything because they have everything that money can buy, but we gave them the one thing money can't buy, our love & kindness & fellowship. We didn't have most of the usual junk we normally have at Christmas but I wouldn't trade this experience for all the gold in king Solomons mines. Thanks Mike for the venue to tell our stories.

  • Norman R. Able

    12/28/2017 09:55 PM

    Thanks for the inspirational Christmas stories pointing out the true significance of Christmas. You messages are a "breath of fresh air," in the world of negativity. Lord bless your endeavors, Norm Able

  • patricia l clem, rentz

    12/28/2017 08:38 PM

    All my life, i've loved Christmas. With my mom and Dad and brother, especially when i was kid . I remember one year when my brother wanted a B B gun more than anything. And on Christmas morning i got up early and ran to the tree and there it was and i jumped on Mikes bed yelling and screaming at him to get up, get up. I think was more excited about it than he was. He was nine years older than me, and i think i was 4 or 5 at that time. He was a wonderful brother. But now I'm 65 and all my family is gone, including my loving brother and i'm all alone and i wish Christmas wouldn't come at all. I live in Mississippi for the past 3 yrs and its just not as caring around holidays as Arkansas was. Not one person has asked me come to thier house for Christmas dinner or for that fact Thanksgiving either. And that is hard when you are alone and no family. I go to a senior ctr during the week, but everybody is so involved with thier own family, that people don't think about anybody else. I know i'm loved by God but sometimes you need people too. I know this is suppose to be happy memories and i'm sorry.

  • Ben M. Elrod

    12/28/2017 04:04 PM

    Beautiful story,Mike,and so true! In my 87th year I am realizing more the value of relationships and memories. Among my treasured memories are some unforgettable times with you. Have some pictures on my wall in my study which are reminders of the value of times with a good friend worth a lot more than any Christmas gift.

  • Anita Moore

    12/28/2017 03:55 PM

    What a precious story! I almost wish I could "do" my presents all over again, this time making them more personal. So true...it's not what the gift is as much as it is how it is given, with a deep love for the receiver. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story, Mike.

  • mike peller

    12/28/2017 03:40 PM

    you should be ashamed of yourself and your daughter. for a so called christian minister, how can you listen to your daughter continuously lie. every word that comes out her mouth is an outright lie and you have even bought into it. what kind of daughter did you raise. she is all mouth and should be ashamed of herself. Mike, it is really a reflection on you and your wife especially since trump is a pervert. you heard trump on the tapes. shame on him. I guess the white house is full of liars and what are your grandchildren going to think when their mother continues to lie at every white house briefing, you don't do such a bad job yourself.

  • Anita Barker

    12/28/2017 01:58 PM

    Thanks, Mike. Wonderful story.

  • jay beacham

    12/28/2017 01:23 PM

    That's the best way to do Christmas.
    A good reminder to me to get back to that kind of giving.

  • Fred Sayin

    12/28/2017 12:57 PM

    I don't remember how old I was when the tradition started, just know only my middle brother and I were home for Christmas, we were both allowed to open one present Christmas Eve before my mom went to Midnight Mass unless the present stated " Do not open until Christmas Day" and the present had to be small enough to fit under the Christmas Tree, one could take first present seen or dig however both rules had to be followed. My father was born in Instanbul Turkey and was Moslem, my mother was born in Wilmington DE and was Catholic .My father wanted all 6 children to be Moslem as adults including me, he went 0\6 and in Spring Semester took my second religion course World Religions and read Chapter 2 of a textbook professor told class to skip. Talked to my mom a couple questions like Did he drink? Learned he wasn't a strict Moslem so I converted to Catholicism 2 months before graduating college in 1988. In 2-2010 to present I am a member of Unity Missions Church- Christian Non-Denomital Church.

  • Sandy Minor

    12/28/2017 12:55 PM

    Thank you Gov Huckabee for sharing this sweet story. Sometimes, as we are living in the moment, we miss the things that make our lives a little brighter. This sweet lady, while caught in trying to provide the necessities for her children, missed the magic of the love and joy she was giving her children. What a story!! What a wonderful Christmas memory!!

  • Gary Holder

    12/28/2017 12:29 PM

    Governor, I love these comments, but they don't quite go far back enough. It was only in the 1900's that Christmas became what we know it to be today. Before that and for hundreds of years, Christians went to church FIRST on Christmas Day and then the celebrations began. Gifts were then given to remember the greatest gift ever given. Sadly, Christ was basically eliminated from Christmas when a wide variety of Christians stopped going to church on Christmas Day in favor of breakfasts, packages and huge dinners. The result is a terrible Christian witness to our overly-material world. How about next year, Governor, leading a "keep Christ in Christmas by going to church first Christmas Day" campaign?

  • Dar Stow

    12/28/2017 11:06 AM

    Hi Mike,
    I can relate to Tina's story. On our first Christmas in Mountain View, AR, I hadn't found work yet as in the early eighties there wasn't an over abundance of jobs around. Just before the season closed We had found some work at the Ozark Folk Center but it was closed for the winter. We were living in an OLD and drafty mobile home at the time. The gas station nearby would let me charge gas between paydays. He also sold chainsaws and one could be purchased for $15.00 down. Hence, I bought my wife a chainsaw for Christmas! We have had several Christmas's where we made each other gifts. Now we have been on social security only for several years so we know how much income we have and can plan around that. Hopefully it will remain for as long as we need it. We have faith in our present leadership, both State and National! Have a great New Years.
    Dar and Julie

  • Patricia Whitaker

    12/28/2017 10:52 AM

    I know that today's children get way too many presents!!! They open one, and quickly move on to the next, etc. Appreciation has been taken out of the picture. Focusing on our Lord's birth must be brought back!!! Our children so desperately need to be brought back to this day as the Christian "REASON FOR THE SEASON".

  • SANDI scott

    12/28/2017 10:28 AM

    Tina's Christmas story made me think of my Christmas this year. I had fallen at a Beauty Salon because someone had spilled hair conditioner on the floor and not cleaned it up and my feet went flying in the air and I fell on the slippery hard tile. I had a broken pelvis and a spine fracture. This happened 3 weeks before Christmas and I had not decorated yet. My family was coming from out of town and I felt
    heartbroken from being in the hospital, coming home alone, not being able to walk and being in constant pain. As it turned out, the real
    meaning is family and being together. It has been 3 weeks since the fall. I am now walking slowly and not in constant pain but the love of family and friends is healing me as well as the many prayers for my recovery.

  • Joan Marie Sorg

    12/28/2017 10:26 AM

    Loved this story and reminds me of when I was a young girl and we never got all those toys like other kids did. When I got married and had children we had Christmas things but one Christmas we were to go to the farm of my inlaws like we done every year but this year everyone had the flu. We stayed home and made hamburgers. We played games with the kids. One of the best Christmas's I remember . Then in 2008 , Dec. 16th, got the phone call that my youngest son was shot in the head and killed. My heart dropped as my entire body went into shock. He was buried Christmas Eve. John Michael Talbot , a dear friend of ours sang for his funeral Mass and John Two Hawks played the Indian flute. Do not remember much about that day, I was still in shock.Didn't think I would ever celebrate Christmas again as it was my beloved son's favorite time of the year but loved Thanksgiving and Easter also. But next year I put up the tree, the nativity, decorated his grave at the Monastery cemetery and life went on . I was drawn even closer to our Lord and Savior, the blessed mother also as she knew how I felt that day our beloved son was killed. Christmas still comes, no matter what as it really doesn't come in presents, doesn't come in decorations nor snow, Santa, none of that. Christmas remains in my heart every day of the year. I carry Jesus within my heart. NO liberal can take this away from me. Never.Thanks for the lovely story, appreciated it so much. God bless you and your family . Oh yes, we WILL see our beloved son again in Heaven, he is waiting for us.

  • Donna Hutson

    12/28/2017 10:16 AM

    One year my brothers, their spouses and our children called people from our parents home and sang Christmas carols. It was hilarious fun. People were so surprised!! Christmas is more than just 1 day. It should be our spirit everyday because of Jesus. Thanks for your trustworthy, forthright news & commentary. I know what I read from this site is RIGHT! If it is not you will find the truth and return the correct info.

  • V Fiore

    12/28/2017 09:59 AM

    And that's the way it should be. It's just the 2 of us now; child and grands live in another state. We thank God for the birth of his son and it's just another day after that. No hoopla, no expensive presents, not fancy meal...just us and Jesus.

  • Hashmat Ali

    12/28/2017 09:55 AM

    Dear Mr. Huckabee:

    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    I enjoy your commentaries and articles. Often they present new insights and interesting point of view.

    Regards,

    Hashmat Ali