Christmas stories are family tradition

Roseanne McKee
Reading uplifting stories to others around the holidays is a tradition that blesses the listeners and the storyteller. Roseanne McKee/Examiner-Enterprise

It goes without saying that many decorate their homes inside and out with lights, Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands. Christmas parties and attendance at the Nutcracker Ballet and musical performances are very enjoyable during the Christmas season. Remembering those in need this time of year through donations also is rewarding.

In this article, I’d like to share one of my traditions — reading Christmas short stories to family and friends.

When my son was younger I used to read him “Twas the Night before Christmas.”

Two years ago, I read a story from one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas edition books at his school Christmas party.

The story I chose was about prisoners creating ornaments out of the limited materials they had, and decorating a Christmas tree in the common area. The writer tells how this effort brought him a measure of happiness during that difficult time in his life.

Last December at their Christmas luncheon, I read to the members of the Alpha Delphians’ book club in Hominy. My short story selection was from the newly released Chicken Soup for the Soul book, A Book of Christmas Miracles. I recommend this book, the sales proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

My story selection was about a man who always gave up attendance at the church candle light service on Christmas Eve, so that he could get the coffee and cookie time after the service prepared. One year he was unavailable and a young woman was asked to fill in for him. She was resentful at first, but found that giving in this way had several unexpected blessings.

After I read the short story, I told my own experience of Christmas magic, which happened many years ago, while I was in college at the University of North Carolina, and working for a local family in Chapel Hill, N.C.

I met an older gentleman at the family’s annual Christmas party.

The gentleman, who had a Dutch accent, told me of his family’s childhood tradition of Father Christmas knocking at the door after Christmas Eve supper and handing out candy and treats to the children. One year, during World War II, he said that the men were away at war, and he wasn’t sure if the tradition would continue. After supper, there was a knock at the door and Father Christmas did appear. However, when he received his gift and candy, he thought he saw Tanta’s pearls under the Father Christmas’s beard.

Tanta means “aunt” in Dutch. Strangely enough, no one else at the party recalled seeing him and the family did not know who he might be. His identity remains a mystery, but telling this story brightened my Christmas during a year when I would be unable to travel home to be with family, and retelling the story has become part of my Christmas tradition.

I hope that my tradition inspires some of you to read stories to your family and friends. Wishing you blessings, peace, prosperity and health this Christmas season.