In which the events may not have happened, but the story is still true

Before I do anything else, I must explain that the title of this post came from an old friend of my family. Ron Silvern has done a lot of stuff in his lifetime, and one of the best things he has done is to always be available to give us wisdom when we need it. Many years ago he was telling a story to a group of kids, and one of the kids asked him if it was a TRUE story.

He answered the kid, "Well, the events may not have happened, but the story is still true."

Now that you know that, let me tell a story of my own:

One night, many years ago, I hated Christmas.

I hated malls, I hated stupid music, I hated colored lights, I hated the mall and I hated presents. Oh, yes, and I wasn’t very fond of the fellow that I was divorcing, either.

That fellow celebrated holidays by buying stupid presents and maxing out MY credit cards, and he had done so for a number of years, until finally I took back my poor cards, pitched the fellow out, and stepped forward on my own.

Divorcing him was a good thing to do…but it didn’t feel that great on that night many years ago.

That night was about a week before Christmas, and I only had one present. I just couldn’t face anything more, so I called my mom, blubbered over the phone that I didn’t want to do anything for the holidays and couldn’t afford anything anyhow.

My mom is blessed with the ability to do the right thing pretty much all the time.

She told me not to worry about the presents, but to come for the holidays anyhow. She promised to make my favorite carrot-cauliflower soup, and promised that they would all be happy to have me there. She said it would be all right.

The morning of Christmas Eve, I was up early. I did have one present to wrap: a present I’d found for my brother during the summer, and I’d stashed it away in a closet to save for Christmas. The present was the coolest thing in the world: A Star Trek cookie jar with a picture of the old Enterprise on it. When you lift the lid, it made the transporter sound. My brother and I are both hardcore Trek fans. I knew he’d love it.

I smiled for the first time in days as I wrapped up that cookie jar.

The smile made me stop for a moment. I was happy about giving my brother a present.

Maybe it wasn’t Christmas I hated. I like my family. I like giving them presents.

Maybe I could still participate, but somehow avoid the stupid music and the stupid mall….?

But how?

I hadn’t bought any gifts except for the cookie jar. I had no money. There wasn’t any food in the house. But I wanted to give my family presents.

In a fit of inspiration, I booted up the computer. I went through my gigantic file folder of stories, and printed out a bunch of my favorites. I folded up each story and wrote the name of a family member on it—a story for each person, except for my brother. I already had a gift for him.

That night, my family was kind. They were happy to see me. We ate soup. They gave me presents. I gave them the printed-out stories. Everybody opened their stories and read them, and then read them out loud, and then passed them around.

Then it was my brother’s turn. He opened the box. He loved the picture of the Enterprise on the outside of the cookie jar. He lifted the lid and listened to the transporter sound. Then he looked in the jar again…and then he looked at me.

“Don’t I get a story?” he asked.

I swear, my heart stopped and re-started right then.

Telling stories is the very best thing I do.

Why would I give my family anything other than the very best thing?

I told my brother a story that night.

From that night on, my best presents have always been stories.

Every year in December, I print up a little booklet of my favorite stories, and give them to people—to my friends and family, to coworkers, and also to strangers standing next to me in the grocery line. This is the single best thing I do all year long.

For almost a year now, I’ve been writing this blog. I consider some of my readers to be blog-friends.

So here are some gifts for you, my friends:

I will post stories on the blog from now until
January 6th.

Some stories are old, and some are new. Some stories you already know, and some of them I just made up this week.

Please feel free to give these stories to your friends. Send links to your family, email the stories to your co-workers, tell the stories to people standing next to you in the grocery line.

If you want a copy of this year’s booklet, send me your email address, and I’ll send you an electronic copy of it.

It’s my gift to you, and I invite you to pass it along.

Come back tomorrow, and I’ll give you a story.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful story - very cool!

  2. Has anyone told you that you are pretty darn cool? Waiting to read....

  3. I can't wait for the stories!

    Nine years ago, at New Years, I decided to get divorced. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but definitely the best. The winter holidays really expose the fatal flaws in relationships, don't they?

  4. I guess when you put it that way, we are always gifting each other with stories. What a lovely thought. I can't wait for the stories either.

  5. I admire your talent! My family has always been after me to write stories, and I once thought I'd write children's stories. As an English major and devoted reader, I'm ashamed to admit that my only writing was done in H.S. and college. Thanks to you I tried NaNoWriMo, but didn't get past 300 words. I am in awe of you!!!

    Nancy in Iowa
    (oops - my WV is "cowsh" - looks like it needs only the letters "it" to be a comment on my comment!

  6. long ago for christmas you gave me a wonderful christmas story. i'd love to hear it again. mr. google has no idea what i'm talking about.

    it was the tale of the innkeeper's daughter who was mary's midwife.

    i'm a bible-literate person you know, but i love that story anyways. do you still have it?


  7. Being alone at Christmas is hard, harder I find than the rest of the year. Thank you for sharing your stories and giving me hope for a better 2010. Peace and love to you and yours.

  8. Anonymous: I am lighting a candle just for you tonight, and all of us at Haiku Farm hope that 2010 is the best year ever for you and all the rest of us! --Aarene


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