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Authors: Helen Szymanski

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Christmas Through a Child's Eyes

BOOK: Christmas Through a Child's Eyes
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True Stories That Capture
the Wonder of the Season


Copyright © 2008 by F+W Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher; exceptions are made for brief excerpts used in published reviews.

Published by Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company 57 Little field Street Avon, MA 02322

ISBN 10: 1-59869-644-0

ISBN 13: 978-1-59869-644-8 (paperback)

ISBN 13: 978-1-44050-111-1 (EPUB)

Printed in the United States of America.


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the publisher.

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

— From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book and Adams Media was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed with initial capital letters.

This book is available at quantity discounts for bulk purchases.

For information, please call 1-800-289-0963.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Barbara Anton. She had a way with words and a lot of great stories to tell.



Shared Popcorn
by J. Hogan Clark

The School Desks
by Connie Sturm Cameron

The Sweetness of Giving
by Megan (Molly) D. Willome

Santa's Messenger
by Lynn ruth Miller

The Adventures of Baby Jesus
by Cheryl K. Pierson

Christmas Eve Delivery
by Christine E. Collier

A Christmas Aha!
by Charlene A. Derby

A Special Christmas Card
by Dorothy Baughman

A Gift of Love
by Bess Antisdale

My Long Brown Stockings
by M. DeLoris Henscheid

Grandpa Will's Gift
by Nelia J. Greer

Sometimes Less is More
by Barbara Jeanne Fisher

At the Five and Dime
by Arthur Bowler

Santa Is Real
by Jo E. Gray

Seeing Is Believing
by Patsy Thomas

Let There Be Light
by Emmarie Lehnick

Burnt Toast and Tinsel
by Barbara Kiffin

A Million Stars Looked Down
by Jewell Johnson

Boy to the World!
by Caroline B. Poser

Getting Christmas
by Shauna Smith Duty

Safely Home
by Delbert L. Bieber

All I Want for Christmas
by Marie (Nikki) Esselstein

Mother Knows Best
by Sharon Sheppard

by Leslie J. Wyatt

A Good Song for Shaving
by Frances Hill roberts

Getting It Right
by Helen C. Colella

An Aunt Sunne Christmas
by Lynn ruth Miller

Growing Up Cool
by Nancy Jo Eckerson

The Christmas Gifts
by raymond L. Atkins

Time of Delight
by Vivienne Mackie

A Different Kind of Carol
by Amy Ammons Mullis

The Lonely Christmas Tree
by Marilyn Jaskulke

Belonging to Winter
by Faith Sherrill

Finding Santa
by Debra J. Rankin

The Baby Jesus Bed
by Kathleen M. Muldoon

Through the Innocence of Childhood
by Barbara Jeanne Fisher

The Christmas Tree Hunter
by Ann Hite

Disappearing Act
by randy Jean Bruskrud

Christmas Giving
by Linda Kaullen Perkins

The Empty Chair
by Delbert L. Bieber

The Stranger with the Cardboard Suitcase
by Shirley P. Gumert

Giving and Receiving
by Claudia McKinney Mundell

Window Shopping
by Connie Vigil Platt

Wishing for Miracles
by Marcia E. Brown

The Perfect Gift
by Helen Luecke

The Truth about Santa
by Bridget Balthrop Morton

The Saint and the Santa
by Annemarieke Tazelaar

A Musical Miracle
by Al Serradell

The Last Apple
by Dmitri Barvinok

Forty Dollars
by Donna Sundblad

Memories of a Refugee Camp Christmas
by renie Burghardt

Grandpa's Love
by Stella Ward Whitlock

A Gift for Veronica
by Cherie Troped

So Little, So Much
by Joan Fitting Scott

Holiday Visitors
by Michael M. Alvarez

Home for the Holidays
by Wayne r. Wallace

Some Gifts Cannot Be Wrapped
by Lynne Cooper Sitton

In the Nick of Time
by Mimi Greenwood Knight

The Hairbrush
by Bob rose

Mother Nature to the Rescue
by Georgia A. Hubley

Dancing with Daddy
by Marilyn olsein

The Sweeping Angel
by rita H. Strong

An Inexpensive Gift
by Matthias L. Niska

by Carrillee Collins Burke

Yes, Deborah, There Really Is a Santa Claus
by Linda Bruno

All that Glitters
by Marcia E. Brown

The Tea Set
by Mary L. Hardwick

A Doll for Jane
by Barbara Anton

Memories Will Follow
by Cindy Nappa McCabe

Love for Father
by Lese Dunton



special thank you is extended to all who helped take this book from idea to reality: my family, my agent, Kate Epstein, all of the authors who submitted their work — and especially all of our readers — my in-house editor, Andrea Norville, and everyone at F+W Publications, Inc. I'd also like to offer my sincerest gratitude to Paul Harvey — the Voice of America — for his glowing endorsement, and also to June Westgard, his loyal assistant, for being such a lovely person. Thank you for believing in me and for being there when I needed you. In closing, I extend my deepest gratitude to the Lord, who gives me great visions, holds my hand when I need it, and always, always believes in me.


ike you, I love Christmas. And how could we not? Everything from decorations to Baby Jesus work overtime to keep a smile on our faces. Every year — without fail — holiday magic is so thick I can serve it to my family on a spoon. Gift giving and receiving seems to have the same effect on each of us as it did on the Grinch — you can actually feel your heart swell!

Christmas time is magical. Nothing else touches us quite the same. Christmas and the memories it stirs up are thought provoking as well as humbling. It's a time when the best of our character spills forth and the worse part of our personality disappears. We are kinder, more understanding, more apt to forgive. If it were Christmas everyday, perhaps hatred would be wiped out, wars would no longer need to be fought, and neighbors and families would remember to love one another.

Because I truly believe in the miracle of Christmas, it is my hope that through Christmas Through a Child's Eyes: True Stories That Capture the Wonder of the Season we can keep those special, magical feelings alive year round. As you read the memories my authors have graciously chosen to share, I ask that you also recall your own favorite memories and share them with a loved one or neighbor — better yet, share them with a stranger — so that the wonderful feeling of Christmas can continue to flow unhindered from one heart to the next.

I hope, like me, you'll keep this book nearby to warm your heart and renew your spirit and remind you of the things in life that really matter. From my heart to yours — wishing you a Merry Christmas every single day of the year.

Helen Szymanski

The Stories

Shared Popcorn

by J. Hogan Clark

he winter of 1948 was bitter cold. December popped up on the calendar with blustery winds and torrents of snow and freezing rain. But my sister, Carol, and I hardly noticed. December also meant Christmas, and we couldn't wait for the festivities to begin.

One evening, as Christmas Eve neared, Mom and Dad decided to treat Carol and me to a movie. We almost never got to go to a movie and we were ecstatic. For a grand total of sixty cents (the movie admission was fifteen cents, popcorn was a nickel, and soft drinks were a dime), my sister and I could have an entire evening of entertainment and snacks. It just didn't get any better than that.

Though it had stopped snowing, a fierce north wind cut through my heavy coat as I climbed into the backseat of our old Oldsmobile. On the trip to the movie house, I rubbed my hands together to stay warm and to keep my excitement from bubbling over. Carol stared straight ahead, her right hand clasped into a fist, a death grip on our money as the car bounced and slid down the road. The roads were still treacherous, with thick pockets of accumulated snow and ice covering most of the surfaces, but Dad had maneuvered these roads before in inclement weather. He skillfully coasted to a stop in front of the movie house with plenty of time to spare. Carol and I exchanged grins. We wouldn't miss the cartoons, a possibility we'd both worried over.

As soon as we exited the vehicle, Dad waved goodbye and drove off, leaving us to our own adventures. The wind whipped wisps of snow across streets and down the sidewalks in a mini blizzard, and the whistling sound it made as it rushed around buildings and through tree branches seemed to intensify the cold. I couldn't wait to get inside the movie house!

As we stood in line shivering, I noticed a young girl about my sister's age, and a smaller sibling, probably her brother, who looked to be about five years old. Their shoulders hunched against the frigid wind, they huddled together next to the movie house entryway. Though the girl's chin was tucked beneath a heavy scarf and the boy wore galoshes and thick mittens, the stabbing wind tugged at their lightweight jackets and I knew they had to be freezing. To make matters worse, the little boy was sobbing, his tears leaving shiny wet tracks down his red, swollen face.

As I watched, the girl's bare hands dove in and out of the pockets in her pink jacket and blue jeans. As soon as her cold hands would find a pocket, she'd manipulate the contents, searching in vain for something. Visibly upset, she attempted to comfort her brother. Try as she might, however, the girl couldn't bring closure to her brother's tears, nor find what she so desperately searched for.

Though I knew it was rude to stare, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the scene unfolding before me. As the ticket line dwindled, my sister and I drew closer to the distraught youngsters. That's when I heard the young girl explain to her brother that she couldn't find the last twenty-five cents.

Evidently, they, too, had been dropped off at the movie house, and wouldn't be picked up until after the movie. And without the missing twenty-five cents, they could no longer purchase their movie tickets.

I felt a pang of sympathy; I could imagine that happening to my sister and me instead of them. Not knowing what else to do, I turned my eyes away sadly and stared at the back of my sister's jacket.

It seemed like an eternity before we reached the ticket booth window. With tickets in hand, Carol turned and began walking toward the entry doors. By now, the boy's wails had subsided somewhat, but his little body shook uncontrollably as his sister wrapped her arms about him in an attempt to soothe away the hurt and cold.

Obediently, I followed my sister, fully expecting her to open the door and walk in. Abruptly, she stopped. As I maneuvered past her to prevent myself from knocking her over, she turned and handed two dimes and a nickel to the girl with the sobbing brother. It was as if the Christmas Spirit had descended on her that evening, because out of nowhere, her compassion for the two stranded, freezing children overcame her desire for popcorn and a soft drink.

I understood what she felt, because I felt it, too. The look of surprise and pure elation on the other children's faces made me feel ten feet tall! I was sure my chest would swell to the point of popping the buttons off my coat! A heated flush raced through me and I smiled as wide as a Jack-o-lantern. I was so proud of my sister that I no longer felt the cold. I basked in the warmth of her goodness that night, and am happy to say that over the years the feeling of pride for what she had done has never gone away. I don't recall what movie we saw that night, but I will never forget the bag of popcorn we shared. It was the best bag of popcorn I've ever consumed, and all because I shared it with the best sister anyone could ask for.

BOOK: Christmas Through a Child's Eyes
2.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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