A Christmas Gift

Christmas 1954. Here I am on my rocking horse, no doubt chasing outlaws.

Christmas 1954. Here I am on my rocking horse, no doubt chasing outlaws.


While I cannot say that we were rich and always had huge piles of presents under the tree I can say we always had presents, a beautiful tree, and plenty to eat. I do remember my friends being able to rattle off a long list of gifts they received and that my list even with the socks and underwear thrown in was much shorter. I was only 3 1/2 when Santa brought me the rocking horse for Christmas and to be honest that memory is rather dim. It was a few Christmases later that the rocking horse was a centerpiece in a life long lesson.

It was several years later and hard times were all around us. A labor dispute had broken out at the foundry where my father worked. It had been going on for almost a year, and in fact, it would still be a while before it would be settled. Money was very tight, and Christmas was to be small for us and nonexistent for many. One man, my father, worked with had a large family and no real hope of giving them any Christmas.  For several days my father took some of my old and now outgrown toys and cleaned and fixed them up as best he could. My rocking horse was among them.

Just a day or so before Christmas my father loaded our car with these now spruced up old toys. I can recall wanting to go with him the night he brought the toys over to his co-worker. He at first said no but I kept up the campaign to go and was finally given permission to go, with the strict orders that I was to stay in the car. When we got to the house, Dad quickly unloaded the car and put all of the items on the front porch. He then knocked at the door, and a man came out. A few words were exchanged a handshake and then we were driving away. Dad never spoke of this again. Some lessons just don’t need words the deed is all that is required. The lesson was clear to me even at that young age. If you can help, then you help. You don’t draw attention to yourself and at all times respect the other person’s dignity. My Dad could not have known it then, and it took me a while to realize it, but that night I was given perhaps the best Christmas gift any young boy could have hoped for.

In 1980 my daughter gives the new rocking horse a workout.

In 1980 my daughter gives the new rocking horse a workout.

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20 Responses to A Christmas Gift

  1. Su Leslie says:

    What a wonderful gift your father gave you. There is so much joy and grace in giving with a good heart and respect for others’ dignity.

  2. flamingdarts says:

    Reblogged this on flamingdarts and commented:
    Similar but shorter Christmas lesson learned…

  3. Erica Voolich says:

    Thankyou for sharing I was touched Such a beautiful man Erica

  4. What a moving Cristmas story, and a lesson for us all in these more prosperous times

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I especially appreciated that your dad did this in humility. A good model.

  6. KerryCan says:

    What a great story to sum up an aspect of Christmas that may sometimes be lost! Your father was a really good guy, Charles! And this is a wonderful tribute to him.

  7. dlpedit says:

    And that silent lesson by example was, no doubt, one of the best gifts a parent could give! Thanks for the great post. Your Christmases sound much like mine were.

  8. Bob McGinnis says:

    Another fine, timely, story. Thanks for sharing this memory and lesson.

  9. Amy says:

    What a wonderful story—your father sounds like a wise and good man. You were very blessed. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  10. Beautiful. Happy Christmas to your family and very merry new year!

  11. Cathy Murray says:

    Lovely story for Christmas and a lesson for the whole of the year. Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  12. jte17 says:

    This not only shows what a good, decent person your dad was but also reflects well on you for grasping the lesson even at such a young age and making it part of your understanding of the world. Thank you for sharing a lovely story.

  13. Sheryl says:

    What a heartwarming story. Your father sounds like he was a very good person. Happy New Year!

  14. mudhooks says:

    I got a springy horse, too. Not sure when but it got a good workout. It went on to be used by my step and half siblings. Even as teens we climbed on. My brother was much rougher on toys than I and, sadly, the horse gave up the ghost at some point when one of the anchors on leg gave way and left a gaping hole in his side.

    Thanks for the memories!!

  15. Beth says:

    It pleases me well to find your blog again. I thought for a while you had quit blogging or maybe I had lost your address for some reason. Suddenly all the old posts even from 2015 are coming in after WordPress adjusted some settings. Aren’t we happy those guys continue to update?

  16. Touching story about the spirit of Christmas…My father ran a Ben Franklin Store in Rural Michigan. He watch for customers that could use a little help through out the year and made sure that they quietly got what they needed. He died quite suddenly at the age of 67 and at the sad time I questioned why they were unable to resuscitate him like so many other people that my Firefighter husband had saved and eventually I realized that he did not need a second chance at life because he did it right the first time around… Sounds to me like your Dad did too. Jan

    • chmjr2 says:

      Your father is the type of people we need more of in this world. Just in your few words about him the love and pride you have for him came out very strongly. It is a story well worth a complete telling.

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