Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn’t wear boots; he didn’t like them and anyway he didn’t own any. The thin sneakers he wore had few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother’s Christmas gift.
He shook his head as he thought, “This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don’t have any money to spend.”
Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn’t because his mother didn’t care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity.
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A String of Blue Beads
By Fulton Oursler
Peter Richards was the loneliest man in town on the day Jean Grace opened his door. You may have seen something in the newspapers about the incident at the time it happened, although neither his name nor hers was publicized, nor was the full story told as I tell it here.
Pete’s shop had come down to him from his grandfather. The little Christmas front window was strewn With a disarray of old-fashioned things; bracelets and lockets worn in days before the Civil War; gold rings and silver boxes; images of jade and ivory, porcelain figurines.
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Pattern of Love
by Jack Smith
I didn’t question Timmy, age nine, or his seven year old brother Billy about the brown wrapping paper they passed back and forth between them as we visited each store.
Every year at Christmas time, our Service Club takes the children from poor families in our town on a personally conducted shopping tour. I was assigned Timmy and Billy, whose father was out of work. After giving them the allotted four dollars each, be began our trip. At different stores I made suggestions, but always their answer was a solemn shake of the head, no. Finally I asked, “Where would you suggest we look?”
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Emma’s Christmas Wish
by Sallyann F. Murphey
Outside, snow tumbled down, piling against gates and doorways, obliterating the road, and filling the old farmhouse with opalescent light. Inside, all was quiet—except for the whisper of voices upstairs: “Rosie, please…We must have Christmas, and how can we do that without the Christmas book?”
“But Dad told us we couldn’t this year. No Christmas, no cookies, no carols, no…anything…” The seven-year-old’s bottom lip began to quiver.
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A Different Kind of Christmas
Martha had tried to ignore the approach of Christmas. She would have kept it almost entirely out of her thoughts if Jed had not come eagerly into the cabin one day, stomping the snow from his cold feet as he said in an excited voice, “Martha, we’re going to have a Christmas tree this year, anyway. I spotted a cedar on that rise out south of the wheat field, over near the Norton’s place. It’s a scrubby thing, but it will do since we can’t get a pine. Maybe Christmas will be a little different here, but it will still be the kind of Christmas we used to have.”
As she shook her head, Martha noticed that Daniel glanced quickly up from the corner where he was playing, patiently tying together some sticks with bits of string left over from the quilt she had tied a few days earlier. She drew Jed as far away from the boy as possible.
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The Anonymous Benefactor
by Susan Easton Black
With a Cadillac, a maid, and a gardener, my family always had a Christmas with the best gifts from Santa’s sleigh.
My anticipation of opening gifts on Christmas Day was boundless, for I knew my mother was an uncontrolled shopper when it came to my whims. After opening one gift after another, I toted my new acquisitions up and down the street so all the neighbors would know that Santa loved me best and that my parents were spoiling me to my complete satisfaction.
From such a worldly background of material prosperity, it seemed only natural for me to fantasize that when I had children of my own the established tradition of wealth and abundant giving at Christmas would continue. If that had been the case, I would not have had one memorable Christmas—just more of the same.
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Christmas Day in the Morning
Pearl S. Buck
He woke up suddenly and completely! It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.
Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He love his father. He had not know it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.
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Gifts for the Poor
by Shirley G. Finlinson
Sister Melbourne was mean and grouchy. There was no other way to describe her. Just the other day I heard her telling the bishop that children took too much time in testimony meeting. She even said that most of us didn’t understand what we were saying; we just wanted attention. I walked out of the chapel feeling very angry.
My anger didn’t last, however. It was December and Christmas was in the air. Excitement filled me right up to the top of my head. I had to smile and laugh, or I think I would have burst. We began singing “Jingle Bells” as we rode home from church, just to let some of the excitement out.
After dinner, Mom and Dad called us into the family room. We all knew what we were going to discuss. Every year for as long as I could remember, we had chosen a family in our ward who needed some extra help at Christmastime, and we had secretly taken gifts and food to their house. It was one of our family’s favorite traditions.
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An Older Brother’s Gift
By Ada Foy
It was the Christmas season of 1994. Nine-year-old Jaron and his six-year-old brother, Parker, were excited. They had entered a reading contest sponsored by a grocery store in their hometown. The two students who read the most books would each win a brand-new bicycle. All they had to do was have their parents and teachers sign for each book they read. Two bikes were to be awarded, one for the first-to-third grade levels, and one for the fourth-to-sixth grade levels.
Parker was especially excited because this was a way for him to earn a bike. He really wanted one. He was tired of watching his older brother ride around on the new purple ten-speed bike he had earned by working at a yard sale. Parker thought that it would be great to earn a bike of his own by reading books. So he started to read books as fast as he could. He read Curious George, Green Eggs and Ham, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. But no matter how many books he read, someone in his grade level had read more.
Meanwhile, Jaron had not been all that enthusiastic about the contest. When he went to the grocery store and checked the big chart with all the readers listed and how many books each had read, however, he could see that his younger brother had little chance of winning the contest.
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A Christmas Adventure
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.
It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” She snorted….”Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”
“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.
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