About This Book


Christmas is a merry and joyful time of year, full of family, friends, and traditions. You'll delight in reading these 101 holiday tales of inspiration, love, and wonder. Many will make you laugh out loud; others will make you tear up a little. And all the stories are "Santa safe" so they can keep the magic alive for the whole family!

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Five ways to make your holiday a wonderful learning and growing experience

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas by Amy Newmark; foreword by Mrs. Nicholas Claus

The Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season is one of our favorite times of year—full of fun traditions, great food, family reunions, thoughtful giving, and religious significance. But there’s more to it than that. It’s a time of year when people can be at their very best, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas is filled with stories about just that, and the lessons that can be drawn from them. Here are five ways that you can make the holidays a wonderful learning and growing experience for yourself and your family:

  1. The holidays are a great way to teach children the joy of giving. Despite a foot injury and attention deficit disorder, Tracy Crump’s eight-year-old son Jeremy enthusiastically encouraged shoppers to buy a Christmas gift for one of the more than 100 needy children on the youth group’s angel tree at a local store. For three hours, Jeremy explained the angel tree to shoppers—how without their help, these children probably wouldn’t get anything for Christmas—and he stuck to his mission until all of the angels were adopted. Many of those children received gifts that Christmas through his efforts. “My son was the angels’ angel that day,” Tracy says. “He ignored his own pain and disability to help those less fortunate, but he didn’t look at it that way. From his point of view, he received the greatest gift—a full heart from bringing joy to others.”
  2. There’s nothing like the holidays to bring communities together. After her husband was released from the hospital with an inoperable brain tumor, Shannon Erickson didn’t have much Christmas spirit. But when they turned into their neighborhood, they saw a yellow ribbon tied to a tree in front of every house. Their own garage door displayed a “Welcome Home” sign. Their house was beautifully decorated for the holiday inside and out. Shannon and her husband found Christmas gifts throughout the house, and their refrigerator and freezer were filled with food. All they had to do was focus on enjoying their last Christmas season together. “The selfless love of our friends who gathered together and readied our home for our return served as a loving reminder of the true spirit of Christmas,” Shannon shares. “These friends gave the best of themselves—their most precious gifts of time and talent and love—and there are no sweeter gifts than those.”
  3. A gift of time is one of the best ways to acknowledge how much you appreciate someone. On the family farm, the early morning job of milking the cows fell to Margaret Marty’s husband and brother-in-law. On Christmas morning, Margaret’s three sons and her nephew worked together to give their dads a very special surprise. Their moms helped by turning off the alarm clocks so the dads could sleep in while the boys snuck out to do the chores. “By 8:00 a.m. the boys raucously bounded into the house, shouting and laughing,” Margaret shares. So instead of waking to lowing cows, their dad woke to greetings of “Merry Christmas!” and “Surprise!” This marked the start of a years-long Christmas tradition. “Given with love and paid for with effort,” Margaret writes, “this gift meant more to my husband than anything money could buy.”
  4. Don’t be afraid to try something new when decorating. Once the Christmas tree was up, Cinda Findlan’s husband and son disappeared to the basement to finish storing their fishing tackle. As Cinda went to get the boxes of ornaments, alone, she noticed one of the colorful lures her husband was working on. Inspiration struck and she suggested decorating their tree with the lures. “Within the hour, our tree was bedecked with grandmas, believers, and spinners in kaleidoscope colors,” Cinda shares. “I had never seen the guys participate with such enthusiasm in any holiday activity prior to this. We talked about which lures worked in which lakes, the lure on which Reed caught his first fifty-inch musky, the lure that was lost in the bottom of a lake and found a year later by a friend of ours, and so on,” Cinda shares. The tradition continued for nearly two decades. Cinda says, “No sparkling glass balls or commercial trimmings could ever supplant those lures as prized Christmas tree ornaments.”
  5. There’s always room to make a new family tradition. Glynis Belec’s sister, Rosemary, always admired the ceramic blue swallow—a $2-yard-sale find—that Glynis displayed on her kitchen wall. When Christmas approached, Glynis decided to give the little treasure to her sister. “When Rosemary carefully peeled back the tissue on Christmas Day and saw the swallow, she was in awe,” Glynis shares. “We hugged and she promised she would care for ‘our swallow.’” The next Christmas, Glynis was surprised to see the swallow returned to her! “And so the tradition of the Christmas Swallow began,” Glynis says. “It has become the highlight of our gift exchange and our children and grandchildren look forward to the swallow exchange every year.”
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