A Nichols Family Living Christmas Story
As a family Christmas tradition we have tried to do something special in “Living the Story.” Early in our marriage Karen and I participated in the annual Minneapolis Jaycees “Christmas Shopping” project. This was an event where inner city children participated as our guests.
Each child worked on various Christmas projects for two weeks to earn money for purchasing gifts for family members only. Each host couple would pick up two children and take them to a local F. W. Woolworth’s at 7:00 am on a Saturday before regular store hours.
The first year Karen was assigned a charming little girl named Angie. She was very organized and had a complete list of items to purchase for her family. When she had completed her shopping list and had checked out, she had budgeted very well and had spent all her earned money.
On our way out of the store, the manager asked each child if they had a good time, etc. Angie was all smiles, said “Yes” and was proud to say, “I spent all of my money.” The manager, in the Spirit of Christmas said “Oh, we cannot have that!?” He reached into his pocket and gave her a quarter to take home. Angie then asked Karen to accompany her back into the store to buy one more item. Next, we assisted the children in wrapping all of their gifts while food and beverages were being served.
Our final step was to take the children home. When we got to Angie’s house, Karen walked her to the door and wished her a Merry Christmas. Angie being polite said, “Thank you for everything, Merry Christmas and this is for you.”
It wasn’t until Karen returned to the car and was opening a package that I noticed tears streaming down her face. I asked “What’s the matter, honey?” She replied inbetween sniffles, “Angie gave me this Christmas tree candle she bought with that ‘special quarter.’”
Forty-two years later that Christmas tree has never been lit, but always burns brightly, has a traditional spot next to the Nichols’ nativity scene, and reminds us that in the spirit of generosity, little things can have an everlasting impact.
My wish for you is by “Living the Story,” God will bless you with the most memorable Christmas ever!
Jim Nichols, Hope Church Elder