the dollhouse.

Truth be told, I only remember one gift I’ve received. If I pondered over it, I could trace back what I unwrapped each year, but only one gift pops out in my memory.

I was four, my sister five. I don’t remember being poor, I just remember being loved. But looking back it's clear. My mother saved up spare change found during the week so she could pick up milk and eggs on the weekend. We wore countless hand-me-downs and our home was quite sparse. That year in particular my mother had lovingly wrapped our few meager gifts in the largest boxes she could find, hoping my sis and I would be fooled into thinking there was more under the tree.

On Christmas Eve, my sister and I dressed in our traditional matching red and green holiday dresses, and we attended our church Christmas Eve service, reciting passages and singing Away in a Manger...but truly I excitedly thought only of what was underneath the tree. On our trip home, my father steered the car through our snowy street, and our house appeared through my frosty car window. The porch light shined softly on the front steps....its glow outlining something large and bulky on the top step. When the car pulled into the driveway, I burst from it, my tiny mary janes crunching through the snow. As I got closer I could make out the form: it was a dollhouse. An enormous dollhouse. My little mittened fingers brushed snowflakes from the dollhouse that was nearly as tall as I. It was a dollhouse out of my dreams.

My mother read the card aloud:

To Dana and Bethany,
Merry Christmas girls!
A Friend.

“But who is it from, Mom? Is it from you and daddy?” my sis and I asked.

“I…don’t know…I really don’t know,” my mother responded, stunned.

"No, girls...it's not from us," said my father, stumbling over his words. "I promise."

To this day, we’re not sure who left the sweet gift on our step. A family friend says it was a woman who knew us from a distance...and thought the dollhouse would brighten our tough Christmas. Twenty years later, I can still remember the exact emotions I felt as we hauled the glorious dollhouse into the kitchen. Excitement. Disbelief. Gratefulness. And now, each Christmas Eve, I turn this story over in my heart, encouraged to remember that the world is full of loving people, and that our God always provides in the most beautifully creative ways.


This Christmas, I pray someone warms your heart so entirely that 20 years from today, you'll still cry thinking of their sweet gesture. May life bring you a metaphorical dollhouse.

Much love and Merry Christmas, dear readers. :)


  1. What a beautiful story, just reading it gave me a bit of Christmas spirit

  2. Such a wonderful memory for you and Dana. It's one of those stories that helps me remember our true gift that we are rejoicing over.

    Merry Christmas to you, sweet Beth!

  3. Wow that brought tears to my eyes, what an amazing gesture and memory. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas B!

  4. What a heart warming story, it brought tears to my eyes. Merry Christmas to you.

  5. i love that story. my parents were in the same boat when I was a child and i have lots of stories about how we were provided for above and beyond what we could ask. It is a great lesson to teach our children.thanks for the good reminder.

  6. Stories like that never get stale and never fail to bring tears to my eyes - thanks for sharing a lovely story and a timeless reminder of a generous heart and the response it creates, both in giving and receving.

    Merry Christmas

  7. well isn't that the sweetest story ever! what a great memory.

    thanks for the nice comments. they made my day...

  8. A beautiful memory so perfectly written. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the reminder of how one kind gesture can last a lifetime. Merry Christmas!

  9. Wishing you a belated but equally as merry Christmas! I hope the rest of the festive season is magical too.


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