In which I tell a story I have told before: Storyteller's Gifts!

This is a re-post from last December. We've had enough turnover here in the blogosphere that I think it's okay to post it again.

If you've read it before and don't want to read it again, skip to the end!

The Storyteller's Gift

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 and I really really really hated the mall.

Oh, yes, and I wasn’t very fond of the fellow that I was divorcing, either.

That fellow celebrated holidays by buying stupid presents at the stupid mall 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 on pretty paper. 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 more than two years now, I’ve been writing this blog. I consider some of my readers to be friends.

So here are some gifts for you, my friends:

From December 25th to January 1st, I will post a new story or song or poem every day for you.

Some stories are old, and some are new. Some stories you already know, and some of them I just made up this week. If you want to read the stories that I posted last year, they start right here.

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, put your email address in the comments box 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, and I’ll give you a story.


  1. This entry made me cry. Brilliant. Merry Christmas.

  2. I want a copy!

    My disastrous first marriage finished crumbling to bits ten years ago. That was a horrible Christmas. Every Christmas since then has gotten better. :)

  3. Even though I remembered this story, it was worthy of reading again. Thanks for sharing your gift. (risingrainbow at

    Merry Christmas to you!!

  4. Your stories are wonderful. Please send me a copy. jenkane6 at

  5. Okay. Sniffle. You got the blogosphere Heavyweight Cry Present award. What a wonderful present! Beautiful. Love it. You are amazing.


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