My Private Christmas

My Private Christmas

The presents are all unwrapped. Santa’s stockings are emptied. Signs of yet another great Christmas celebration are everywhere. And my husband and children are asleep. The lights on the tree still shine and this is my time for my private Christmas. It is private because most don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it at first. Like everyone else I grew up with the traditions of Christmas. The mistletoe, the concerts, the decorations, the bustle of gifting and fixing foods and enjoying gatherings. Those things are still a part of it. But Christmas isn’t Christmas for me until my private Christmas. I credit three very separate and different events for teaching this to me over the years. The first happened whenRead more

Lessons from a Christmas with No Money

Lessons from a Christmas with No Money

The best Christmas we ever had was the Christmas when we had nothing. A series of events during a difficult year led to that best Christmas. In early April I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A rush of doctor visits, a surgery, and months of recovery led to an extended period of time away from my work. As Thanksgiving approached I was still too weak and sick to return to work. My husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job in July when the company he worked for was sold and operations were moved out of the country. We had worked and saved for years, so we were not hurting. But as the months passed with our situation stagnant withRead more

Mr. Dog’s Christmas at Hollow Tree Inn

Mr. Dog’s Christmas at Hollow Tree Inn

As a boy one of my secret adventures was to scour the bookshelves at my grandmother’s house for books I could not find anywhere else. Grandma and I were a match made in heaven – I was a bookworm and she was a school teacher. I read not only from her vast collection of Reader’s Digest and Saturday Evening Post but I also greatly enjoyed her collection of children’s books that dated back to her own childhood. Among her collection was a book that contained stories of “Mr. Dog” and other characters set in Hollow Tree. So when a passionate publisher recently reached out for our take on a book titled “Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn” somethingRead more

Reading Dickens

Reading Dickens

Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol backwards and forwards. Pick a version by decade and you’re bound to find one you love. Everyone can claim to have seen a big or a small screen version of it. But have you ever read it? I confess it never passed in front of my eyes until I was an adult. It was during one of my first Christmas seasons alone — a bleak time when I felt more than sorry for myself for being alone at Christmas. I picked up the book in a store and thought I could wallow in Scrooge’s misery for a while. The written words of Dickens stunned me. While I was a prolific reader IRead more

The Halifax Christmas Disaster of 1917

The Halifax Christmas Disaster of 1917

By B. Francis Morlan Editor’s Note: Every December the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to the City of Boston, Massachusetts. This story explains how that came about. December of 1917 was a time when the world was in transition. The horrors of World War I were known and the prospects of a merry Christmas were subdued in communities across the world as men and women left the safety of home to engage in the world’s first truly modern war. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the cares of the world felt a bit distant. A busy seaport, it couldn’t help but see how the world outside was changing as ships and their cargo bespoke of a world inRead more

The Birds’ Christmas Carol

The Birds’ Christmas Carol

Contributed by LoiS-sez Note: This is actually the first chapter in the book by the title of The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin in 1886, but it’s both an explanation of the book’s title and a wonderful Christmas story…especially for anyone born at Christmas time. It was very early Christmas morning, and in the stillness of the dawn, with the soft snow falling on the house-tops, a little child was born in the Bird household. They had intended to name the baby Lucy, if it were a girl; but they had not expected her on Christmas morning, and a real Christmas baby was not to be lightly named–the whole family agreed in that. They were consulting about itRead more

The Mistletoe Bough

The Mistletoe Bough

Contributed by LoiS-sez This is actually a ballad with lyrics by Thomas Haynes Bayly. I’ve never been able to find the music by Sir Henry Bishop, but I use the refrain for my own re-telling as it’s said to be based on a traditional legend. The mistletoe hung in the castle hall, The holly branch shone on the old oak wall; And the baron’s retainers were blithe and gay, And keeping their Christmas holiday. The baron beheld with a father’s pride His beautiful child, young Lovell’s bride; While she with her bright eyes seemed to be The star of the goodly company. Oh, the mistletoe bough. Oh, the mistletoe bough. “I’m weary of dancing now,” she cried; “Here, tarry aRead more

A Great Tree

A Great Tree

Contributed by Merry Carey Here is a fine old Christmas story from 1914 about Calliope Marsh, a woman determined to gather her entire neighborhood under one Christmas tree. A Great Tree From Neighborhood Stories by Zona Gale (1914) I never had felt so much like Christmas, said Calliope Marsh, as I did that year. “I wish’t,” I says, when it got ’most time, “I wish’t I knew somebody to have a Christmas tree with.” “Well, Calliope Marsh,” says Mis’ Postmaster Sykes, looking surprised-on-purpose, the way she does, “ain’t there enough poor and neglected folks in this world to please anybody?” “I didn’t say have a Christmas tree for,” I says back at her; “I says have one with.” “I don’tRead more

A Christmas Tree for Cats

A Christmas Tree for Cats

Contributed by LoiS-sez Note: Helen Hunt Jackson is a 19th century author is best known for Ramona, but her other writing often included cats including this lovely tale written in 1876. When I was a little girl, I knew two old maids who were so jolly and nice that I am always ready, beforehand, to love anybody who is called an old maid. To be sure I have never yet seen any others in the least like them and I begin to be afraid that that particular kind of old maid has died out, like the big birds called Dodos, which used to live in Australia. But I am always hoping to see two more before I die, and thatRead more

Book Review: Good King Wenceslas

Book Review: Good King Wenceslas

By James Keefe If you’re like most people chances are you have heard the annual holiday reference to Good King Wenceslas but you have never quite understood his story or what it has to do with Christmas. Out now from Deseret Book.com is a new illustrated children’s volume that beautifully tells the story in word and picture and includes a DVD copy of the narration of the story supplied by actress Jane Seymour, who performed the narration set to stunning music and dance as part of the annual Christmas Concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in 2011. The story tells of a good king who set out on a snowy Christmas with his faithful pageRead more

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