Today we continue my tradition of featuring an old-fashioned, feel-good holiday story in this space during Christmas week. Many readers have told me that they read these stories to their children or grandchildren and look forward to them as a refreshing change during the hubbub of the season.
This year’s story comes courtesy of an old edition of “ideals” magazine that I found amongst my mother’s things after she passed away. “Ideals” (spelled with a lower case ‘I’), is no longer in print but during the 1950s — 1980s, it was welcomed into millions of homes across the USA.
Each season and holiday was honored with its own special issue of the magazine. The copy I have is nearly 40 years old. A Christmas issue, it is overflowing with full-color photographs and drawings of apple-cheeked children that reflect a kind, gentle, country lifestyle that is still appealing today.
I can remember my mother and grandmother leafing through the thick pages for decorating ideas and inspiration for the current season. All of the important qualities of life that we talk about today were emphasized on the pages of “ideals.” The innocence of children, the importance of home, respect for our country and our elders were modeled in every issue.
This Christmas issue is a real showcase of poems and readings and a bit of history about our Christmas traditions. It features “The story of Santa,” many snowy scenes, a true story of the glass blowers of Nurenberg, Germany and an excerpt from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
This year’s story is about a selfless little deer who made one special request to Santa. She and the other animals of the forest were dreaming of snow but there was none. But unlike little children who go to bed on Christmas Eve dreaming and hoping for a white Christmas, the animals decided to do something about it.
I trust that this story will warm your heart first with the joy of Jesus who is the heart of Christmas and then the magic of Santa Claus delivering not only snow but also gifts for the spirit of mankind.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Long ago, not far from here, there lived a worried little deer. “It’s almost Christmastime,” she said, “and there’s no snow for Santa’s sled. How will he bring gifts and cheer to all my forest friends this year?”
The others were amazed and stunned. This predicament could spoil their fun. There had to be a way, they thought, to end this winter’s great snow drought.
So each one pledged to find a way to make it snow for Santa’s sleigh. A sassy squirrel was first in line; “You’ll soon see snow, I’ll do just fine.” She scampered up the tallest tree and threw pinecones to jar flakes free. But nothing fell; no snow came down. And all the animals sat and frowned.
The Grizzly Bear snarled, “I’ll get snow. After all, I’m king, you know.” He growled and made the forest shake but could not budge a single flake.
A proud young hawk said, “Hey, I’ll try. I’ll beat my wings against the sky.” So up he flew with a swooshing sound but only feathers hit the ground.
A spindly spider had a way to coax the snow to fall that day. “I’ll spin webs to catch each flake so they won’t hit the ground and break.” But even that was not enough to bring the frosty, fluffy stuff.
A coyote with a pointed nose was certain he could bring the snows. “This,” he yipped, “will be no muss, my howls create a lot of fuss.” Though he caused sheep to cry and bleat, the clouds would not give up their sleet.
A bunny child stepped up to say, “I’ll get the snow to fall today. I’ll gather strength and hop up high and let my sharp ears pierce the sky.” And jump he did, way out of sight but nothing made the forest white.
A fishy in a nearby brook said, “You need snow, well, take a look. I’ll splash some water in the air and northern winds that blow up there will freeze each drop and when it fall we’ll have a million snowy balls!” The fish swam hard and flapped her tail and really stirred up quite a gale. But it didn’t snow (to all’s regret); the only thing they got was wet.
“Let’s all try,” a raccoon quipped “and we will get this problem whipped. Now, everybody, here we go. We’ll make those clouds give us some snow!” They screeched and stomped and gave a shout but not one single drop fell out.
“Well, that’s it, we’ve done it all. I guess the snow will never fall. Santa Claus will go on by. His sled can’t land on ground that’s dry.” And all the creatures one by one wandered home — their faces glum.
The little deer with sad, soft eyes lifted her face and searched the skies. “Dear Santa Claus, I know it’s late but I have a wish that cannot wait. Please send the snow ahead of you so we can have a Christmas, too. It’s the only present I request. It’s for my friends — please do your best.”
And while the creatures all were dozing, a million flakes — like diamonds frozen — fell to earth and lingered there, a Christmas gift for all to share. Santa brought a thousand joys and stuffed caves and nests with fruits and toys. The day was filled with all that’s good — peace and love and brotherhood.
Since then each creature great and small, spreads Christmas joy to one and all. And if strangers ask, “How’d it begin?” they tell the story once again … about that time so long ago, the day they tried to make it snow.