Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Story

by Robert Roman
When I heard that I got the day of Christmas for the 30 Days of Decadence blog, I knew I had to do something special.  I mean, for a lot of people it's the climax of the season.  It's the big kahuna, the center ring, the headline act.  Whatever I put up here has got to be something amazing, right?

Yeah.  I froze.

Worse, after I froze, I wrote, and discarded, and wrote, and discarded, and wrote, and... I think you get the picture.  Our Valerie certainly does; I think she's about to send tracking dogs to find me and drag my frozen, lifeless body back to her so she can hit it with a stick for making her wait so long.  Seriously, though, Val, shoot me an address and I'll send you a bag of pfefferneuse.  Because everyone likes cookies, right?

Okay, after going completely bonkers for nearly two months, I took a deep breath and really thought about this.  First, Christmas isn't the 'main holiday' for everyone.  There's Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Winter Solstice, and others that I can't remember right now.  So for some folks this won't be the uber-post.  Also, for those folks for whom Christmas is the big holiday, sitting in front of the computer reading blog posts isn't going to be high on their list.  So...  No pressure.

Okay, there are some folks who don't have anyone to spend Christmas with, or who can't spend it with loved ones.  Those folks need a little lift.  I'm a storyteller.  So, for you guys and everyone else who is reading, I'm going to share my favorite Christmas story.  Warning: it does have a moral attached.  Don't worry, I'll tell you before I get to it.

Anyhow, here's the story (it's short), as told me by my eighth grade Social Studies teacher.
There once was a man who known throughout his community for his love and kindness.  Every day, as he went about his day with a smile on his face, he made sure to spread joy and heal sorrow in every way he could.  He visited those who were alone.  He helped those in need.  He tended to those who were hurt.  He had a kind word for everyone he met, a pat on the head for every dog he passed, and even helped the little ducks out of the water when they were tired.
Every day but one.
One day a year, the man was the meanest man anyone had ever met.  He would tromp around sullenly, almost as if he were seeking out ways to be unkind.  He said mean things to people.  He cut in lines and took the last piece of food at community dinners, then didn't even eat it.  He kicked the dogs and even pushed the little baby ducks into the water.
(A side note: as my teacher made clear, he didn't push little chickens in the water; that would just be wrong.)

That one day, every year, was December 25th.

Now, if you're one of those folks who skips the last five minutes of any cartoon from the eighties and nineties, because you're congenitally allergic to morals, go ahead and skip down to the end of the post for a chance at cookies.  Not that I think it matters.  As morals go, this one is pretty anvilicious.  In the end, Christmas is only one day; even if we're angelic that day, the other three hundred and sixty four don't really balance that kind of bad karma.  When you go out tomorrow, instead of grouching about the return crowds, try to keep a little of the Christmas Spirit with you.  Try to keep it all through the year.
And yeah, I know it's tough sometimes.
But what makes us the best we can be is when we help others, whether by action or inspiration.

**Okay, story time (and moralizing sermon time) over.  Something everyone likes at Christmas, along with Stories, is cookies.  So!  In the comments, to give those folks looking for a way to help others out, tell me the nicest thing someone, especially a stranger, has done for you, whether it was at Christmas or not.  I'll pick one person (using my patented 'put your names in a hat and have my kids draw one) to win a bag of this years homemade pfefferneuse AND a copy of Volume One of Yule be Mine!**

And this year, when someone is rude, or mean, or just plain annoying, remember the Zen of Twi: 


  1. Sorry I stressed you out, Bob! LOL And I'll pass on the cookies, I don't need any more than I've already had. But eat one for me, I'm sure they're delish!

  2. Merry Christmas Robert. I am up waiting on my teenager to wake up and start the presents(I find that I like the teenage years at Christmas time...LOL) Anyway the kindest act I have ever had done to me was this. One day I shopped at Walmart and had a horrible time. People were rude, the cashier talked to another cashier the whole time, and I was tired. So afterward I decided to go to McDonald's for a drink and fries. I ordered and pulled up to pay. The worker handed me a postcard and said that the person in front of me paid for my order. I was stunned, I even cried for a little bit. I gave the driver in front of me a big smile and wave. Needless to say I was happy for the rest of the day.
    Merry Christmas!!

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  3. That was one of the nicest things I've ever heard, Michelle! I may do that on New Years.

  4. Merry Christmas, Robert!

    Yesterday when I went to pick up some last minute groceries from the grocery store, I was surprised at how calm everyone was. People would allow me out of an aisle-which can be tricky with so many people-and I in turn did the same for others. It was a nice change compared to the rush I'm used to before Christmas.

    And here, our local radio djs - when in the company vehicle - will pay for the order of the vehicle behind them at the Tim Horton's (coffee shop) drive-thru. It's always a treat!

    All the best!

  5. We were waiting in line to get tickets to a football game when a man and his wife handed us a pair of tix. We tried to give them money and they wouldn't accept it. They just said "enjoy the game". When we got to our seats we were amazed to see that they were better than any we could have bought on our own.


  6. One year, my husband and I were driving to Pennsylvania to visit his grandparents for Christmas. When we got to the Pocono mountains, they closed the road to catch up on snow plowing. A car with an older couple pulled up next to us and told us to follow them. They took us to their house for several hours of food and fun. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us.


  7. Thanks for the story. I liked that it had a moral and I hope people take it to heart. It's the little things I'm most grateful for and whenever someone brings me a cupcake or a latte when they know I'm having a bad day makes me smile.

    Merry Christmas!

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  8. Good advice to follow for the new year. THank you for the post.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  9. It was very good advice! We do need to keep the Christmas spirit going the rest of the year.
    Nicest thing anyone has ever done for me? It's ongoing - husband does the grocery shopping because I HATE it.

  10. One of the nicest things was not at a holiday. When I had blood clots, and was on bed rest, my family made sure I always had a variety of books to read to help pass the time.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  11. LOL *hugs Bob*

    I don't know if anyone has ever done anything epically nice for me, but there were a bunch of little nice things this year.

    For starters, to counter all the bad Black Friday stories... I was at Walmart and decided NOT to wait in the line for my 2 items. Guy next to me had this huge item and says "I wish I had a cart". Since I was leaving, I said he could have mine. He tried to pay me for it. I thought it was crazy sweet. Then a lady (a couple hours later) at Target left the line to go get me a Blu-Ray I hadn't been able to find.

    But my biggest surprise this year was when my friend sent me a Leverage-geek-girl gift. I'm a huge Eliot Spencer fan and she sent me a magnet with a quote from him on it. That has a place of honor on my fridge :)

  12. I used to work a late night shift at a call center & one winter day I broke my snow brush cleaning off my car before going to work. All through my shift I was looking out the window at the snow continuing to fall, dreading having to clean my car off, in the dark, without a snow brush. When it was finally time to go, I grabbed a trash bag out of one of the offices, thinking that if I was going to have to use my hand to clean the snow off, at least I could keep my glove dry. When I got out the door, I saw that my car had been completely brushed off. The security guard, that walked those of us who got off after dark to our cars at night, knew what time I would be coming out & had taken the time to clean off my car.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

  13. When i was little, my siblings and parents went out of town and about 8 miles from home, in the middle of the night, our car broke down. It was cold and it was going to be a long walk. Some man pulled over and offered us a ride. He was so sweet and wouldnt even excerpt gas money. Ill never forget his kindness.

  14. Thanks to everyone for your stories!

    I've put the names in The Hat, had Big shuffle them and Little pick one, and The Winner is...


    Congratulations Joder! I'll be emailing you for a delivery addy tonight!