Merry Christmas from 2TheHeart!

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there's room in our hearts for Jesus."  ~Unknown

Today is a very special Christmas edition of 2TheHeart! I hope it helps make this day before Christmas a blessed, peace-filled day for you. I am writing this from the very center of the heart of America, where we are watching the beginnings of a Kansas blizzard, just in time for Christmas!  I am thankful for warmth, family and the Greatest Gift of all. Merry Christmas! (Be sure to read all the way down - this issue is chock-full of Christmas spirit!)

A Dr. Quinn Christmas
by Sharon Bryant

Back in the 80’s, I used to watch “Dr. Quinn” on TV with my children.  The night we watched it that I will never forget and that gave me an idea, changed my whole plans for Christmas that year.  I was divorced that year and stretching pennies.

On the TV show, Dr. Quinn was making gifts for her three children.  I watched as she knitted at night on three scarves, three pair of mittens, and three hats.  My children and I watched as Dr. Quinn wrapped the gifts in brown paper then tied a big red ribbon on all three gifts.  I decided that night that we too, were going to have a Dr. Quinn Christmas.

I told my children that we were going to make our gifts that year for each other.  I decided to do some heavy duty baking for my family and friends.  I told my children to go into their rooms and think about what they wanted to make for each other. 

My son came out of his room and asked for some Popsicle sticks and glue.  I gave them to him, and then he ran back out and asked to use some of my paints. 

My daughter came out of her room and asked if she could look through my craft box and get some ribbons, lace, straight pins, and several other items.  I told her yes she could.

At night when the children were sleeping, I knitted on the hat and sweater I was making for them. 

We began these three weeks before Christmas that year.

I took the brown grocery sacks from the grocery store and used that for my wrapping paper.  Inside were the sweaters, and mittens to match their sweaters and hats.  I got a box and filled it with the cookies I had made and wrapped those in brown paper also, and tied each one with a big red ribbon.

When the kids asked me for wrapping paper, I handed them a grocery sack and reminded them that Dr. Quinn didn’t have printed wrapping paper, and to make their own.  I watched as they went into their rooms and brought out crayons, paints, and colored pencils.  I smiled knowing my idea caught on.

I bought hot dogs and marshmallows for Christmas Eve that year.  We sat in front of the fireplace, with our hot dogs stuck on twigs I got from outside, and I have to say, a hot dog has never tasted as good as the ones we made that night in the open fire.  Nor the roasted marshmallows we ate after.  I heated hot water in the fireplace and we drank hot cocoa.  No lights were on, no television.  We used lanterns that night as we sat in front of the fireplace singing Christmas songs.  Jingle Bells has never sounded as sweet as it did that night to me.

We opened our gifts to each other that night.  I smiled as I looked at my gifts from my two children, wrapped in brown paper and decorated with the paints and crayons and pencils they used.

I still have the birdhouse my son made me and the gorgeous Christmas ornament my daughter made for me.  I still smile when I think of how happy they were with their new sweaters and hats and mittens.  When they opened the box with all the goodies inside, I can close my eyes and still hear them squealing at all the pretty cookies in the box.

My children are 28 and 31 now.  But they still remember that Christmas Eve we spent alone.  They learned it’s not how many things we receive for gifts.  They learned it’s not how much we spend on a gift.  They learned to take the time and to make something they were sure the other would like.  But most of all, they learned that gifts should come from the heart and not the pocketbook.

Christmas to me is from the heart.  There is no greater feeling to me than to surprise someone. 

I know my son will be asking me any day now what I would like for Christmas.  I think I am going to him them I would like two handmade gift certificates for my three dogs to be groomed.  My daughter-in-law is a groomer.  And of course I want my “furry little children” to look good for Christmas!  My only request will be that the gift certificates have to be hand made.  I want to see how creative my son and daughter-in-law can be!  My daughter lives 1200 miles away and I will mail her gift as always.  But there will be something handmade for her this year.

I will never forget that Dr. Quinn Christmas as long as I live.

And now, I shall close because I’ve got a whole lot of baking to do this year.  I have several I want to surprise this year.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Sharon Bryant  copyright 2009

You can find other stories by Sharon in the 2TheHeart archives! She owns a homemade chocolate shop in Alabama, is married and has two living children, one in heaven.  Sharon also founded “Angels Remembered” in memory of her little boy lost in 1977.


For more inspiring Christmas stories from 2TheHeart, click any of these story links (& more in our archives!):

Coming of Age by Susan Farr Fahncke (about my amazing son, Nick)

Christmas Smiles by Susan Farr Fahncke (about my darling son, Noah)

Storybook Christmas by Mary-Ellen Grisham

Miracle of Christmas Lights by Francine Pucillo

Angel edition:


Look T'ward the Star

by Linda Newman

When dark of night seems not to end,
With life it's hard to cope;
Lift up your eyes! Look t'ward the star
Lighting the world with hope.

When tumult and chaos fill your days,
When troubles just won't cease;
Lift up your eyes! Look t'ward the star
Bathing the world with peace.



When doubt and sorrow fill your heart,
Your happiness to destroy;
Lift up your eyes! Look t'ward the star
Coloring the world with joy.

When anger and hatred run amok,
When people push and shove;
Lift up your eyes! Look t'ward the star
Filling the world with love.

Oh, lift up your eyes! Look t'ward the star
That shone that night long ago;
Open your heart, let the Christ child in,
Let His love and peace in you glow!

By Linda Newman

© 2003 Linda Newman (All rights reserved)
I was born and raised in an historic little village along the Niagara River in New York State. I began writing poetry when I was ten years old and was being published in school newspapers and literary magazines by the time I was eleven. I have twice won second place in 2theheart's poetry contest: for "Mary's Dream" (and I forget what the one about two years earlier was). I have two beautiful daughters, three precious grandchildren, three cats, and a dog. I am a Deacon in my church where I sing in the choir and play handbells. I  am employed full time and also volunteer to do church services in the local nursing home. My dream is to someday publish a book of my poetry.



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