Merry Christmas. Wherever you are, or whatever you are celebrating today, I hope you are warm, healthy, and well-loved.
And now is as good of a time as any to start what I hope will be a new tradition on this blog….my sharing stories with you. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and I don’t know if you will care to read the stories I tell my son in the evenings, but every once in a while I happen to tell a good one - not a perfect story or publishable story but a story that I like - and I’m hoping that by sharing a few with you, you might be encouraged to tell stories to your own children. Unfortunately, it’s not the same when I write them down as when I tell them off the top of my head. Clearly I am editing and polishing as I write, adding a detail that makes more sense, or eliminating the pauses, the “oh wait…I forgot to say,” and the “uuuummmms.” And I never remember it exactly as I told it even though I try to type it right after the telling.
I told the story below to my six-year-old the night before Christmas Eve, and I surprised myself with it because it came so effortlessly, although I had no idea how it would end when I started it! That doesn’t always happen!
You don’t have to tell a perfect story to your children. You are not trying to get published. Anything you have to say, anything you make up that is for them and only them will be treasured by your children. And the more you tell, the better you’ll get at it. I hope you’ll start a ritual tonight. If you want, borrow my story or part of it. Whatever you do, trust yourself that you know how to tell stories.
A Christmas Story by Shelli Bond Pabis
Once upon a time there were some children who lived with an old man and woman. The children weren’t siblings, and they didn’t have any parents, which is why the old man and woman were taking care of them.
Christmas was coming, and the old man and woman didn’t have much money. The children each had something they were wishing for though.
The first little girl wanted a doll she had seen in a store window. It was a fabulous doll with shiny, blond hair, blue eyes and a beautiful dress. She wanted it more than anything in the world.
The little boy was hoping to get a book he had seen in a shop. It was a book of adventure stories! He loved adventure stories, and he wanted to read all the stories in this big book.
The last little girl wanted a puppy more than anything else. Unfortunately, the old man and woman didn’t have enough money to buy a puppy, and they had even less time to take care of one!
When Christmas arrived, the children were excited and had great hopes that morning! The first little girl found one package under the tree, but when she opened it, she didn’t find a doll. Instead, there was some pretty cloth and blue yarn. Blue was her favorite color. She was very disappointed, but she was a good little girl, so all she said was “thank you.”
The little boy noticed there was something in his stocking! It felt like a book! But when he reached inside, he found a crisp new notebook, and nice new pen. He was very disappointed, but he was a good little boy, so all he said was “thank you.”
The last little girl found her present under the tree. It was a little box, so she knew a puppy wasn’t inside. She very disappointed, and when she opened it, she found it was full of seeds! Seeds?! But she was a good little girl, so all she said was “thank you.”
The boy took his pen and notebook to his room and stashed them under his bed, and then he forgot about them and went outside to play. The little girl with the seeds took them to her room and placed them on her dresser because there wasn’t much she could do with seeds in the winter.
The old woman told the first little girl that they would make her a new dress with the pretty cloth because the little girl really needed a new dress. Together they worked on it in the evenings, and girl learned a lot about sewing. When it was finished, she did love the new dress, especially since her old one was looking very drab. There was some cloth left over, and the old woman said perhaps they could also make something else.
“There’s not enough cloth here for another dress,” the little girl said.
“But there’s enough for a doll’s dress,” the old woman said.
The little girl’s eyes brightened, and together the old woman and she worked on making a doll! They used the leftover cloth and yarn and some scraps from the old’s woman’s sewing basket. When they were finished, the little girl thought this doll was even better than the one she had seen in the store window! She was very happy!
Meanwhile, the little boy had been playing and pretending outside in the snow! He came up with all kinds of adventures, and sometimes he played with some neighbor boys down the road. One night after a full day and some grand adventures, he went to his room to rest, and he saw something poking out from under his bed. It was the notebook and pen.
‘I should write down what I did today,’ he thought. So he did. He wrote all about the adventure, and it was fun! Then he began to write down all the adventure stories that he came up with in his head. By the time spring came, he had filled his notebook, and when he read it over, he thought his stories were quite good! He let his friends read the stories, and they laughed and had fun remembering their adventures that winter. The boy was very happy, and he continued to write stories and share them for the rest of his life!
Finally when the frost had past, the last little girl took her seeds to the back of the yard and found a sunny place to plant them. She didn’t know what they were, and she wondered what they would grow into, so she took good care of them. She watered them, weeded the bed and fertilized them. They grew into tall bright pink and red flowers! They were quite beautiful, and she was proud that she had managed to grow them!
There was a farm next door with some animals, and that spring, the farm dog had a litter of puppies. When they got big enough, one of the puppies started to explore the yard, and he saw something bright red and pink that he wanted to investigate! When he found the flowers, he also found the little girl, and she was delighted with the puppy. He licked her face, and she carried him to the old man and woman.
“I think our neighbor’s dog just had some puppies. Let’s go see if this puppy belongs to him.” They put the puppy in a little cart and walked over to the next farm.
Sure enough, the puppy belonged to the farmer who could clearly see that the little girl was already in love the dog.
“I was going to take this litter of puppies to town to see if I could sell them, but it looks like this one has already found a home.”
“Really?” the little girl asked.
“If you can prove to me that you can take good care of him, I’ll let you have him.”
“I’ll take good care of him! I promise,” she said.
The old man agreed. He told the farmer how the little girl had planted her seeds, watered and tended them and helped them grow. “I think she’ll make a good mother to this little puppy.”
“In that case, he’s yours,” said the farmer.
The little girl was very happy!
Tell me some of your favorite Christmas tales!