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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book The Most Magical Christmas of All
by Nystrom, Christina Chanes
Right Book

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Group: Stories
Language: English

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Though thieves had stolen all the trappings of the holiday, Christina's mother knew the real secret of Christmas was love.

You don't need to spend a lot of money to make Christmas special. All it takes is love, as Christina Chanes Nystrom shares in her story from Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul II, originally titled "Stolen Christmas." She writes:

When I was a child, our Christmas Eve rituals never varied. First, we sat down to an all-fish dinner -- which I absolutely dreaded -- followed by a talent show run by my bossy older cousin. At midnight, we attended Mass and then, in the wee hours of Christmas morning, we opened some of our presents at Grandma's house.

The year I was seven, my mother, three brothers and I made the long drive home from Grandma's house. Finally, Mom eased the car slowly into our driveway. As she got out of the car, she told us later, she had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Leaving us safely sleeping in the car, my mother entered the house. As soon as she opened the door, she knew we'd been robbed. She immediately took a short inventory of the house to make sure the robbers were gone and to see what had been stolen.

As she surveyed our small home, she discovered that food from our freezer -- mostly chopped meats and frozen vegetables -- and her meager life savings, the nickels, dimes, and pennies she'd saved in a container hidden in her underwear drawer, were missing. It wasn't much, but to a single mother living on a limited income, the loss was devastating.

The, to her horror, she saw that the robbers had also taken our Christmas tree, the presents -- even the stockings.

While other parents were putting the finishing touches on bicycles and dollhouses, she stood gazing at the sopt where the Christmas tree had been, too heartsick to cry. It was two in the morning. How was she going to fix this?

But fix it she would. Her children were still going to have Christmas.

Carrying us in one by one, my mother put us to bed. Then she stayed up for what was left of the night and, using buttons, cloth, ribbon and yarn, made gifts of finger puppets and shoelaces.

As she sat and stitched, she remembered the Christmas tree lot around the corner. Just before dawn, she slipped out and came back with a small broken tree, the best one she could find.

My brothers and I woke early that morning, excited to see what Santa had brought us for Christmas. We hurried to the living room and stopped in the doorway, confused by the strange magic that had transformed our beautiful Christmas spruce, glittering with decorations, into a small, bare tree leaning against the wall.

When my little brother asked what had happened to our tree and our stockings, my mother told us that someone really poor had need them. She told us not to worry because we were very lucky. We had the most important gifts of all -- God's love, and one another.

As she filled our cups with hot chocolate, we opened our gifts. After breakfast, we made Christmas ornaments out of old egg cartons. Together we laughed, sang carols and decorated our new tree.

It's an odd thing. Although I don't remember what I got for Christmas when I was five or even 10 years old, I have never forgotten anything about that wonderful Christmas when I was seven -- the year when someone stole our Christmas and gave us the unexpected gift of joyous togetherness and love.

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Additional Information

from Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul II in Woman's Day magazine

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