Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas

A CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
Christmas

A CHICKEN SOUP
FOR THE SOUL
Christmas

Stories to Warm Your Heart and
Share with Family During the Holidays

Jack Canfield
Mark Victor Hansen

Backlist, LLC, a unit of

Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

Cos Cob, CT

www.chickensoup.com

Contents

Introduction

1 The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas of My Dreams
Cheryl Kirking

Cheap Sax
Robin Lee Shope

A Closed Highway Opened Hearts
Martha Ajango

In Touch with My Inner Elf
Loree Gold

It's the Simple Things
Nancy Julien Kopp

The First Christmas
Sharon Melnicer

The Christmas Doll
Lizanne Southgate

Connecting at Christmas
Brenda Nixon

The Focus
Pauline Youd

Dad's Christmas Gift
Kimberly Welsh

The Gift of Time
Carol (Pearce) Forrest as told to John Forrest

The Nativity Story
Amy Breitmann

2 Through the Eyes of a Child

Once a Year
Lindy B Dolan

Christmas in the Heart of a Child
Lane Clayton as told to Joan Clayton

A Little Angel's Big Prayer
Phyllis Ring

Sarah's Christmas Wish
William Livers

The Wish List
Cheryl M Kremer

Love for Tots
Lynnea Bolin

Tree of Thanks
Brenda Nixon

3 The Santa Files

Memories of a Christmas Doll
Ann Greenleaf Wirtz

The Christmas Gift
Raymond L Morehead

Christmas at Six
Kerry Germain

Here Comes Santa Claus
Carol Sue Hahn

Dear Santa
E M Hector

Skinny Santa
Elva Stoelers

4 The Joy of Giving

The Greatest Christmas Gift
Bonnie Compton Hanson

Christmas Spirit
Lisa Beringer

Just One Gift
Ruth Spiro

The Christmas Present
Karen R Kilby

Six Brown Eggs
Jennie Spencer Baty

The Treasured Gifts Come Without Ribbons or Bows
Cookie Curci

Papa's Radio
Cookie Curci

Elvis Was Wrong!
Sallie A Rodman

A Christmas Moment
Glorianne Swenson

Christmas Lost—and Found
Michele Ivy Davis

The Doll in Burgundy Twill
Emily King

God and Santa
Elsi Dodge

The Twelve Days of Christmas
Janet K Brennan

The Gift of Normandy Beach
Sheila S Hudson

Caroling with the Coots
Jennifer Martin

Bearing Gifts
Mimi Greenwood Knight

5 Christmas Traditions

Holiday Tale
Michael Jordan Segal

The World's Biggest Table
Helen Xenakis

All I Want for Christmas
Alice Malloy

Milestones in the Boughs
Dayle Allen Shockley

Taking Down the Christmas Tree
Dr Lyla Berry

Christmas Found
Lisa May

Christmas Cards
Debbie Farmer

Paper Chains
Tracy Schmid

The Christmas Bagel
Barbara Puccia

6 Special Memories

A Holiday to Remember
Denise Peebles

Ringing the Doorbells of Christmas
Beth Copeland

The Secret of Grandma's Sugar Crock
Cookie Curci

The Twelve Years of Christmas
Jeff S Hamilton

The Last Christmas
Michael Jordan Segal

Unexpected Guests
Lawrence D Elliott

Oh, Christmas Tree
Dahlynn McKowen

The Morning Santa Came
Jennifer Smith

A Bottle of Cologne and a Handmade Handkerchief
Isabel Bearman Bucher

A Cell-Phone Christmas
Judy Lockhart DiGregorio

7 Insights and Lessons

The Best Noël
Mark Geiger

Christmas Cookies
Kimberly Ripley

The Truth About Christmas Decorations
Debbie Farmer

Secret Santa
Betty King

A Secondhand Christmas
Perry P Perkins

I Remembered Anthony
Valerie J Frost

Christmas Memories in a Hospital
Marilyn Phillips

The Sound & Spirit of Christmas Through the Ears of a Deaf Woman
John E Schlimm II

The Matchless Gift
Stephanie Ray Brown

When Good Things Happen to Bad Children
Judy Lockhart DiGregorio

In-Law Survival Hot Line
Mimi Greenwood Knight

A Lesson in Forgiveness
Kayleen Reusser

Who Is Jack Canfield?

Who Is Mark Victor Hansen?

Contributors

Permissions

Introduction

Remember when our eyes lit up with excited anticipation as our parents took the Christmas tree lights out of storage? These were not the small, delicate lights we see today, but the enamel-coated bulbs that eventually moved outdoors to decorate the front yard. December always made our souls sing with glee, while the snowy month softened the edges from even our strictest teachers. Some of our traditional friends celebrated St. Nicholas Day by placing a shoe outside their bedroom door—only to find candy in it the next morning! But the enviable kids owned the ultimate Christmas countdown device: the Advent Calendar. These glitter-sprinkled thin cardboard sheets contained tiny numbered windows that opened from December first through Christmas Eve. All twenty-four windows contained some illustrated symbol of the holiday—the largest window containing the manger of Jesus. The bigger the family, the more competition to open the last window on December twenty-fourth!

We also remember some of the hard, challenging times when we needed to look beyond our painful moment and use resilient hearts to restore the joy of the holiday. Difficult as the season was, we still remember it with empathy and give to others who later walk in the same footsteps.

This is Christmas at its best and most traditional flavor. Through the years, we've welcomed our friends and neighbors of different religions and ethnicities to come and help us celebrate our traditions—and, in the process, learned their holidays in many ways were not as different as our own! The meaning is the same. While we knew each other's differences, we also accepted our friends' cultures and customs as symbols of their love. It's understandable why our eccentric neighbors down the road want to keep their Christmas tree up all year long—the feeling of happiness and hope needs to live through 365 days. Perhaps we should all keep up our own special “tree” of joy throughout the year, whether it's one decorated with big bulbs to remind us of our blessed childhood, or one decorated with small, delicate lights that show us that the gifts and privileges we now possess are truly a miracle from a divine power that everyone can share. We hope the enclosed stories are shared with family and friends during the holidays.

1
THE
MEANING OF
CHRISTMAS

O
h, Christmas isn't just a day. It's a
frame of mind . . . and that's what's been
changing. That's why I'm glad I'm here.
Maybe I can do something about it.

Kris Kringle,
Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas of My Dreams

The Christmas cookies are all frosted,
the gingerbread men have purple hair,
And 'cause little hands can only reach so high,
the top half of the tree is quite bare!
But the bottom half sparkles with tinsel,
and foil stars and paper chains,
And along with the gifts the Wise Men bring
are three nickels and two candy canes.

Although it's true our money's tighter than ever,
our love just keeps on growing, it seems,
And I couldn't ask for anything more,
this is the Christmas of my dreams.

I used to have such great expectations
about Christmas and just how it should be,
With the picture-perfect table of goodies
and lots of presents under the tree.
Although I still love the tinsel and glitter,
the scent of pine and songs in the air,
When all's said and done, what matters most
is the Christmas love that all of us share.

Although our Christmas may not be very fancy,
like the ones you see in magazines,
I wouldn't trade it for anything,
this is the Christmas of my dreams.

So let's each count our blessings, and thank our God above,
As we celebrate this season
of the greatest gift of love.
Our Christmas may not be very fancy,
like the ones you see in magazines,
But I couldn't ask for anything more,
this is the Christmas of my dreams.

Cheryl Kirking

Cheap Sax

W
e can only be said to be alive
in those moments when our hearts are
conscious of our treasures.

Thornton Wilder

I attend garage sales on weekends. It's called therapy— my respite from teaching middle school five days a week. I allot myself forty dollars when I foray into yard-sale heaven. Always loaded with hope, I salivate to find something I can turn a good profit on by selling it on eBay. I'm princess la-de-da. Just weeks before Christmas, I found an ad in the classifieds for an insidemoving sale. My dear husband cautioned me to be extra careful with my choices. After all, our daughter's college loan was due, and it was the season of gift giving. Extra money would sure come in handy right now, and we couldn't afford to waste a penny.

Cold rain hammered down on my car and turned narrow streets into icy waterways. The windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the downpour, making it hard to see anything beyond the front of my car. This was good because the weather was apt to keep my competitors home today. I was like Santa when it came to garage sales—no storm or cold of winter could keep me from my appointed rounds.

I parked right in front of the house. The front door was open as if to say, “Come in, come in, and buy my treasures.” Blessed me, I was the second person to cross the threshold. Under a pile of old bedspreads in the back bedroom, I opened a case and found a shiny saxophone. It had a beautiful engraving of a woman on it, and I soon learned it was not only vintage but in pristine condition to boot. It was mine for twenty dollars.

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