About This Book


Everyone loves Christmas and the holiday season. We reunite scattered family members, watch the wonder in a child's eyes, and feel the joy of giving gifts. The rituals of the holiday season give a rhythm to the years and create a foundation for our lives, as we gather with family, with our communities at church, at school, and even at the mall, to share the special spirit of the season, brightening those long winter days.

More from Chicken Soup for the Soul

We're adding this soon!

We're adding this soon!
We're adding this soon!
Five Ways to Spread Christmas Cheer

Based on Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Cheer by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but for many, the thought of holiday plans, Christmas shopping and family coming to town can bring much anxiety and stress to the joyful season. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Cheer offers many inspirational stories to keep stress away and instead, warm the soul for the holiday season. Here are five ways to think about others and share some Christmas cheer.

1. Volunteer your time to others. Eleven-year-old Joseph J. Gurneak couldn’t wait to go sledding with his friends when he shoveled the walkways around his house. As soon as he finished, he found out that his mother had volunteered him to shovel his elderly neighbor’s sidewalks. After several hours with barely any compensation for his hard work, Joseph was too tired to go sledding. Later that week his neighbor, Mrs. Bergensen, came over and told Joseph’s mom what a good job he had done for her. She brought with her a can loaded with homemade cookies to show her appreciation. "As I sat holding that can in my lap and munching the cookies, I figured that shoveling her sidewalk had been a way for me to give her a Christmas gift, one that she could really use," Joseph writes.

2. It’s not the price of the gift, but the thought behind it. Susan Spence loved the holidays while growing up, but had lost her spirit. One year she decided to be a "Secret Santa" for her mom, dropping off 12 gifts every day leading up to Christmas. When Susan first started leaving them for her mom, she was just as excited as her mom was when discovering that someone had left a gift. On the final day, Susan tricked her mom into thinking that it was someone else, only to surprise her at dinner. "When it was all said and done, I thought about how good I felt, and just as quickly, I remembered something very important. When I was a child, it was my mother who taught me that it is better to give than to receive," Susan writes.

3. Sing loud for all to hear. Marnie O. Mamminga was never eager to go caroling around Christmas time; there was just too much to do and too little time! But when her neighbor called to go caroling the next evening, she hesitated to say yes, but her kids couldn’t wait. The next night, she packed up her hot chocolate and began to make the rounds through her neighborhood with her sons and neighbor’s family. One of their favorite stops was at their neighbors, Bill and Paula. Bill had suffered from a stroke and, as a result, his speech was impaired. Marnie’s boys knew that Bill’s favorite song was "Silent Night." "They sang it with all the sweet, awkward tenderness that their innocent young voices could muster," recalls Marnie. A moment of magic hung in the air as the boys ended their song. "With misted eyes, Bill broke into an enthusiastic applause and with great effort began to thank each boy by name," Marnie writes. The joy that caroling brought to both her family and her neighbors was priceless.

4. Keep traditions alive. Stephanie Welcher Thompson was engaged to be married to her fiancé Michael and eager to start traditions of her own. One day, the couple was unloading boxes kept in storage from Michael’s mother, who had recently passed away, when they stumbled upon a nativity set. Much to their dismay, the key figurine, the baby Jesus, seemed to be missing from the set. Stephanie tried to buy another set to replace the Jesus figure, but none of the infants fit. Stephanie returned home to break the news to Michael and started to pack up the nativity set. Michael wanted to leave it up, saying you didn’t realize Jesus was gone until you looked closely. Stephanie realized that they had lost sight of the religious aspects of the holiday among all the decorations, shopping and parties. And so began Stephanie and Michael’s first Christmas tradition: "The manger remains empty. It’s our gentle reminder to look for Christ at Christmas," Stephanie says.

5. It doesn’t have to be perfect. At the age of 38, Suzanne Aiken found herself a widow and single mother to three young children. One Christmas, she left all the planning until the few days before, sneaking out to shop and staying up late into the night to wrap presents. By 4:30AM on Christmas morning, she had everything wrapped and ready. She couldn’t wait to watch the joy on her children’s faces as the opened their gifts! Around 5:45, one of her daughters came to wake her, but she mumbled and fell back to sleep. An hour later, Suzanne woke to find every gift opened and strewn everywhere in the family room. She had slept through Christmas! Suzanne yelled at her girls, sending them to their room. After a few minutes of cooling down, Suzanne burst into tears and ran to her daughters’ room to apologize. "When I feel that frenzy coming on and the pace gets hectic, I’m reminded to let go and be present to the meaning of Christmas," Suzanne writes.

We're adding this soon!

From Your Community

We're adding this soon!

We're adding this soon!

Story Titles and Authors