Remember when I talked about these gifts we were giving out to our women at church (back HERE).

Well, I wanted to save the story they were inspired by for a post on it’s own.

Because there’s nothing like a good story at Christmastime.

We have an Activity Committee within the members of our Relief Society and they are so good. They come up with all the ways to gather and lift each other.

And they also try hard to make sure everyone and anyone knows they are invited, members of our specific congregation or not.

I love them and I’m SO grateful for them!

When they told me the plan for our Christmas dinner they sent me the story they wanted to share, and it made me cry.

To me it is the perfect story for Christmas and is made extra special to me since it is the uncle of one of the members of our Activity Committee (her dad was one of the brothers).

So since I loved it so much of course I wanted to share it:

A Christmas Story to Share with your Kids


painting by Adolphe Appian

One Christmas morning I woke early. To my joy, the tree was surrounded with presents. The excitement of discovering what treasures waited inside the wrapping paper made up for the lack of snow.

We were quite poor, and most Christmases were meager. We lived on a farm and always had chores to do, even on Christmas Day. Right after we opened our gifts, my father left to do his chores.

I was praying that my mom wouldn’t make me stop playing with my new race car set to do my chores. When my dad returned, he told me he had done our chores for us. I was excited to spend the entire day in the warm house.

He then said something to my mother about Blanche, an elderly widow down the street who was looking for firewood. That was my dad, always caring for others. It seemed like everybody in town depended on him.

The next thing I knew my father was asking my brothers and me if we wanted to get some wood with him. I couldn’t believe it. On Christmas? I knew that wood was the only way Blanche could cook her food and heat her house. But couldn’t someone else get her firewood? Couldn’t we wait until tomorrow? Or couldn’t we just take her a little from our woodpile? Surely she had enough wood to last until then. But no. My father wanted to go into the woods and get a whole truckload. I complained, but it didn’t do any good.

My dad was very good at getting his boys to help him, and we each had our jobs. My dad would run the chain saw, Grant, my next-to-oldest brother, would split the wood, I would load it into the truck, and another older brother Ron would stack the wood in the back of the truck.

Eager to get back to our toys, we all worked hard. Dad had cut a big tree, and we almost had it loaded. I thought we had plenty of wood, but my dad cut into another big tree.

“This is going to take forever,” I thought. “I’m cold and tired and want to play with my toys, and he is cutting down another tree.”

When we backed up to Blanche’s house and started unloading the wood, I couldn’t believe what I saw. There wasn’t a sliver of wood anywhere in her yard. The only thing she had left to burn was the house itself. I had been worried about losing time playing with my race cars while she was worried about freezing.

As we were unloading the wood, she came out of her house. My dad looked up and said, “Merry Christmas.” She started crying, and my dad got down from the truck to console her. I couldn’t fight back a few tears myself. I tried hard not to let it show, but then I noticed a tear in my brother’s eyes, too. My presents didn’t mean anything to me now. Being able to keep someone from freezing on Christmas Day meant much more to me than all the toys in the world.

The next year, Christmas was not so happy. We sat around solemn-faced after opening our presents. Finally Ron said, “Let’s go get wood.”

Nothing more needed to be said. We all got our coats, hats, and gloves and headed out the door. Again we were getting wood for a widow. But this time it was our mother. It wasn’t that we needed the wood; it meant something deeper. Two weeks before Christmas my dad had died. He left seven children to be raised by my mother.

I suppose because of one act of kindness and the lessons my dad taught his boys, he assured that his wife would never go without wood. We not only got wood for our mother, but often we would get it for other widows. On many Christmases, after we opened our presents, my brothers and I would go out and cut wood for one of the widows. Though it was never spoken openly between us, we were all doing it in memory of our father.

Isn’t that just so beautiful? (You can also find it HERE.)

May we remember that turning our hearts outward has the power to heal them.

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  1. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and admire that you still keep a blog.
    I started my blog back when my daughter was in 2nd grade (she’s not a sophomore in COLLEGE!) and I just don’t want to let go of it.
    I am tempted once in a while to just do instagram and am wondering
    1. why you sill blog
    2. motivation for blogging still

    Thank you so much because I really feel like I’m the only one left out there in that blogging world.

    1. I’m sure the main reason is record keeping, but Shawni also still has readers. This is probably the only “mommy blog” I still read since blogs became a thing in 2007/2008. Not many people from 2007/2008 still have readers. There are also ads so there is some financial gain, too.

  2. Tara…I have kept a blog since 2007 even though my nest is now empty. At the end of each year I turn my blog into a blog book (like a family year book) and my kids and now fighting over who gets them when I’m dead. That’s my motivation….I’m curious about Shawni’s too and hope she never stops because I love following her family.

  3. Definitely in tears. Thank you for sharing that story! My personal takeaway is to be more of an example of service like that Dad. He served his own boys by doing their Christmas chores, and then rallied them to serve Blanche, and didn’t quit rallying even when the boys complained. Love that example of long perseverance ❤️

  4. Love these beautiful stories and gift ideas and especially loved spending a few days there this season. You astound me! Im on a plane just gulping all this in! ❤️❤️❤️

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