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Christmas Giving A True Story

Updated on December 23, 2015

The Problem

The problem was there wasn't enough money. Does anyone ever have enough money?

Our friend had increased his family by four this particular year. He had also been passed over by his big name accounting firm for his guaranteed partnership. He made lots of money. He was an accountant for a firm all of you would know. But one night he quietly share with my husband they were going into debt two hundred dollars a month just feeding the family.

The Cause Of The Problem

The reason this particular family had a money shortage, was the wife's desire to have twelve children. They had two biological children who were pretty young when the opportunity to adopt a sibling group of four. was presented to them. Their family went from four to eight overnight. They moved to California to take this job with a big five accounting firm, with a guarantee of partnership in a year or so.

At that time Sacramento was an affordable place to live. I know, I am still kicking myself for not having purchased a duplex near school for forty thousand dollars.

We didn't know these people too well, but admired them greatly.

The first time we really got to know them was on a all church camping trip. Everyone could find their family because they wore hunter orange sweatshirts.

The back stories on these eight adopted kids were heartbreaking. The love our friends gave them was amazing. This should have given us a clue that our measly one hundred dollar gift was nothing compared to their generous spirit of giving.

Decorations Of Christmas Past


We Were In The Same Boat

As college students ,with a little kid, we couldn't help. The thought never even occurred to us. We really felt badly we couldn't help. It was the first of the month and we got paid once a month. That money had to buy gas to get us home for Christmas, buy presents for our family and feed us for the rest of the month not to mention we had to get back to school. We just couldn't help in any significant way.

The thought that something must be done stayed with me.


They say women are always thinking. When I start thinking about something I worry the thought to death. The next day I got an idea. We should ask some of our friends to help them.

"No", you don't broadcast something told in confidence. Our friend was venting. But I kept thinking.

Then this idea popped into my mind. Give them a hundred dollars. We met this man named Jesus when we were young and I have no doubt the idea came from him. Still it was a ,"You have got to be kidding me", moment. My husband was going to think I was crazy. He knew we didn't have that kind of money. We weren't even done with Christmas shopping. I thought I was crazy.

Sometimes doing the crazy thing results in curiously exciting adventure.

This particular adventure continues even now.

Choir Practice


What would you think?

Honey, You are going to think I am crazy, but I have this idea. "What would you think if we gave Ned and his family a Christmas gift"?

"What did you have in mind?"

"How about some money"

"Did you have an amount in mind?" " Why, yes I do."

"How much?" As he was asking these questions I was having an argument in my mind. Would fifty be a better amount, How on earth can we give them a hundred dollars. Yes. fifty would be better.

I finally took a deep breath, and said, 'a hundred dollars?"

"Oh really?, do we have that much?"

We did just get paid.

"Sure, when are you going to give it to them?"

I had entertained giving it to them anonymously, but didn't know how to get that much money safely to them without writing a check. So the check was written and delivered the next night at choir practice.

Niles Christmas Train



In return for the gift this family invited us for lunch on Sunday. How do you have space for three extra mouths when you have a family of twelve? They did it. They wanted to show us what they Our little boy loved the ham, cheese potatoes and playing with the ten kids. We had a wonderful afternoon.

Oh, yes they showed us the ten pairs of shoes they purchased with our gift. An acquaintance worked for Sears; he gave them his discount on shoes that were on sale which, enabled them to purchase the shoes.

I am so glad the hundred dollar argument won. I can't imagine who would have been left out if we had only given fifty dollars.

That day was the best part of my Christmas that year.

We Did Fine Without

We did fine without that hundred dollars. We only had to buy food until we got home. Mom fed us like royalty for two weeks and slipped us money as we left.

We separated from these friends a year or so later. We moved to Livermore and they moved to South Dakota. They calculated they could have 8 kids in college at the same time, so they went back to their Alma Mater to teach. Not all the kids went to four years of college, but all have developed their talents. They are accountants, software developers, cabinet makers, auto repair shop owners, mothers. Mom even manage to get a degree in social work at the same time one of their daughters graduated from college.

Thirty Years Later

Thirty years later I still get to watch my friend stretch food to feed amazing number of kids at summer camp. We meet in the Yukon Delta of Alaska and have a wonderful reunion each summer. She has given me, more than I could have ever imagine about giving to others.

Every summer to help settle the kids at night my friend tells her story of the month she gave all the meat money to a family that needed it, and how her family was provided for with just enough for each day.

Attitude Is The Difference Between Gratitude and Grumpiness

Alaskan Village where we meet during the summer.
Alaskan Village where we meet during the summer. | Source

What Will You Give This Christmas

This Christmas the stories of giving are abundant. I love it. The cashier at a Mac Donald's counted 250 cars that payed it forward because the car in front of them said, "Here is money for the car behind me." Merry Christmas!

My husband has so out given me. He generously gave our son a ride to our friends house a good distance from us. Then he took our friend to the cemetery to put wreaths on his parents graves, and several other relatives graves. Then he gave a gift card to a homeless lady he sees every day.

I have made a practice of smiling at grumpy looking people. Absolutely love it when a person notices a smile and broadly smiles back with a twinkle in their eyes.

This year I started to grouse about writing Christmas cards. T hen it occurred to me some of our friends worry if they don't get a card. The letters and cards are on the way.

Hugs and phone calls are amazing gifts to people who don't get many. I challenge you to find someone to gift this year. Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 23 months ago from California

      Always a pleasure to see you Frank.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 23 months ago from Shelton

      a little late in timing, but I still find it timeless, wonderful inspiration.. a gift even in February... bless you

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 23 months ago from California

      Good to see you Audrey. Sp glad you were inspired. My friend inspires me beyond what you can imagine.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 23 months ago from California

      What a wonderfully inspiring story--and you are right--attitude is everything

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Flourish, Thanks for stopping by. I chatted with my friend last week and again she gave me the most precious advice. Some people joyfully give everyday of their lives.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This was a beautiful and inspiring story of sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Genna East, Happy New Year! We gave a kids and their wives gift cards for a nice restaurant. This place quit allowing tips. Each of the couples went to this plaee the last couple of days. The comment, from all of them was "We had planned to tip far better than the 20% surcharge". This made me so sad. They wanted to give and a comapnay said they couldn't. I have to mull this over. When a people cease to give what kind of people do they become? Sorry for the rant, but the living wage of $15/ hour here in California allows you to live in a card board box and kicks you into a higher tax bracket.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Your husband -- and you -- have the right idea about what to give for Christmas. This is what the spirit of giving -- and the celebration of the birth of Christ -- is truly all about. Beautiful hub...thank you.

      Happy New Year. :-)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Eric , Some people make giving contageous.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Ms Dora, Delighted to see you. I have heard it said, We can't help everyone, but if everone helps one much gets done and nobody is over burdened. Blessings!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      This year, I am also impressed to be generous. Done a little and wishing I could do more. Your story is an inspiration.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I usually manage to find someone that needs a little extra help throughout the year. I also like to help the birds, and educate the public as much as I can about he needs to animals, as well as not littering due to the negative effect of laziness. There is always a little more than we can do, and my biggest joy of the year is to spend Christmas with the birds. For this, they amply reward me, and this was an exceptional christmas in that regard.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A wonderful story. Amazing how some people can just make things happen that are so good.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Drbj, Thanks for your kind comments. My friends are so amazing it just seemed good to tell the world there are still awesome people.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for this more than appropriate story, Judy. May your holiday be as merry as your giving personality.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      RTalloni, Merry Christmas! Nobody can help everybody, but everyone can help one person. Sounds like you get it.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Bill, good to see you. Merry Christmas.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you for sharing…especially at this season. :) There is a reason Scripture tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive!

      There are so many things individuals can do to truly help others, but the small things along the way somehow work together to encourage many people, such as the drive through meal.

      Helping organizations that offer real and lasting help to people in communities is one very important way we can make a difference in the new year.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Merry Christmas, my friend. Thank you for a beautiful story.