The Christmas With No Money

Submitted into Contest #122 in response to: Write about a character who won’t (or can’t) shop for the holidays.... view prompt


Christmas Inspirational

Our chimney was made of posterboard so Santa could magically enter our home. That hand drawn brick chimney had worked its magic for years. Popcorn garlands and handmade ornaments adorned our gifted tree. Glittered paper snowflakes were hung across every doorway. We all loved Christmas. Our six children, all under age eleven were anxiously counting the days until it came. What their little hearts did not know is that there was no money; no money for shopping, no money for toys. Their father was a painter and it had been a difficult and slow year for some reason. I had even asked our Pastor for some sugar so I could make frosted sugar cookies which had been a family tradition since I was old enough to sit at the table and decorate snowmen. We could not spare any money for the cookie supplies.

My mood was changing from worry to despair as I contemplated what Christmas would look like. Tears began to fill my eyes and I slowly dropped to my knees beside my bed to ask for answers. I talked with God for a long time before my tired eyes gave in. Sleep did not come easy that night for each time I drifted off an idea would suddenly come to my mind and wake me up. This happened again and again, one inspiration after another and soon I was so excited that I could not silence my mind.

I was missing the true meaning of Christmas and I now knew what I needed to do. The best way to help my children accept their homemade gifts was to help them make similar gifts and then give those gifts away. My husband thought it was a great idea. Our kids wanted to get started on our project right away.

We chose a family from our church. They too had six children. They were struggling just like us, and I knew that we could help brighten their Christmas, so soon the fun began. The stacks of material in my sewing room became dolls. My mohair yarn became their curls. Scraps of felt turned into busy books with buttons for truck wheels and shoe laces for the page with a big shoe. We all helped make a stuffed Nativity that little ones could play with. My children had so much fun making it. We made another to place under our tree. We made stockings. We made scarves. We all joined in to make frosted sugar cookies. Then we drew names. Each of my children made a card for the child whose name they had drawn, and that child became their special project; to write them notes and put together and wrap all the gifts that were made just for them.

The fun just kept coming. A week before Christmas and one night at a time, each one of my children became a Secret Santa, or one of Santa's elves or whatever they thought might be fun. We waited for it to become dark, grabbed our coats and hats and all piled into our beast of a car. We sang Christmas songs for those two miles. The excitement in the car was felt by everyone.

The first delivery to our family's home was easy, peesie! The gift was placed under a porch chair. The deliverer quietly returned to our car. We were warned about creaky stairs and how big those windows were. Without cell phones back then, we had to drive back home to make a call, informing the family that an elf came early and where a present could be found. The second night, their porch light was on hoping to catch the elf, so we found a bush by the side of the house and made sure our car was out of sight. Packages were placed on the back porch, under a big pot and back to the front porch again. We chose a different time each night because they did their best to try and catch us in the act. Our elf always wore dark clothing and learned how to tip toe, then RUN! By the sixth night, the delivery became so difficult that we had to bribe a lady walking her dog with some cookies to get the package to the front porch. And the phone calls. Each one became more creative than the last. Our child proclaimed to be Santa and told their child to keep being so good. All the fun of waiting for your turn and trying to know just what you wanted to say. Each of our children took such delight in having his own special night to make another child happy. That week was such an emotional high. Our kids could hardly wait for daddy to get home and dinner to be finished. Some of our children were just three and four and scared they would be caught and that is when we watched big brother help little sister get close to the house. It was dark and the car had to keep hidden! But Oh how proud the little ones were when they exclaimed "I did it. I did it."

Each of our children was sworn to secrecy with a double pinky swear.

Christmas morning was fun. There was such a look of anticipation in the person who had made a gift for a brother or a sister, as if to say "See what I made especially for you, with my own hands, because I love you." Homemade gifts and cards to one another taught them about giving. If they were disappointed that year, you could not see it. Everything under our tree was made from items found in our house. I know that the best gift they each had that Christmas was seeing our chosen family at church. They could see the bright colored broomstick crochet scarf. The busy book kept little brother occupied for the entire hour and their little Rosetta had her new homemade baby with its soft curly hair tucked close to her heart and I will always remember how my children had such joy in its giving.

November 27, 2021 09:32

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Clair Whitmer
15:25 Dec 09, 2021

A sweet story...and a sweeter idea. I wonder if this shares a memory for you or if you imagined the plot. In either case, I feel sure it reflects a very kind person.


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08:46 Dec 06, 2021

Happiness in darkest hour. I love this story.


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Brooke J
05:00 Dec 06, 2021

Fun! I could see that picture painted. Keep on writing and thank you for sharing!


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Boutat Driss
16:18 Dec 04, 2021

well done!


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