Santa Claus and Tithing
By Ann Margetson
In 1964 when we lived in England and had not been in the church very long, our Branch was building a chapel. It was during the time of the Church’s “building missionary programme,” where young men were called to serve for about twelve months in a Branch to help build Chapels. They were housed and fed by the members and given a dollar for spending money every week. We had bought a large house and had been asked to take four of these “building missionaries.” They were four young men who worked hard and ate a lot! Donations from the members to help feed these young men with hollow legs were few and far between and we were feeling the strain.
One day in early November I had to shop for groceries. We lived in a small community close to the town were all the main stores were located. I had very little money to spend but also had our tithing ready to hand in on Sunday. I bundled my two small children in the pushchair and walked to the small store by the bus stop. I might add that at this time I was six months pregnant with my third child. I intended to go to town where all the best prices were to be had and if necessary use the tithing money, I could always make it up later on. In the circumstances I was sure that the Lord would understand. As I waited for the bus by the small store I felt an urge to go in. I followed this prompting and met our Branch President inside. As we chatted I was prompted to give him our tithing, thinking now what? I purchased a few small items for supper and returned home.
Once home and while undressing the children there came a knock at the front door. Still with my coat on, I opened the door and there in full dress was Santa Claus. “Ho ho ho. A merry Christmas,” was his greeting.
Flabbergasted I replied “Merry Christmas,” and then he went into his speech.
“Do you use Fairy soap?” (Fairy is a brand-name)
“Yes,” say I, and run back to the kitchen to fetch it.
“That’s good for five pounds,” said Santa, “Do you have Fairy washing-up liquid?”
“Yes I do,” back to the kitchen to show him.
“Well done. Here’s a box of chocolates for your family,” he said handing me a huge box of my favourite chocolates. “Now do you have Fairy washing powder.”
“Of course I do.”
“Because you have all three products you’ll receive a Christmas hamper which includes a turkey and pudding. Also here is fifty pounds for you.”
I stood there open mouthed, tear welled up in my eyes. I thanked Santa and went into the kitchen with the children, sat down at the table and wept.
If I had caught the bus I would have missed Santa Claus and all of the goodies he gave me. But most of all my testimony of the principle of tithing would not have been secured. With the money we were able to go to the London Temple with our friends. We were also able to buy our children the expected presents for Christmas. And of course we had a real Christmas feast with our building missionaries.