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.