Downey-Florence Seventh-day Adventist Church

Features & Stories

Adventist Church logo

"The Great Christmas Memory"

A true story from Shelley Batty, written by Len Evans.


Over time Christmas memories begin to fade or blur. The ones that you recall years later can involve heartache, jubilation or both. As the oldest of two brothers and a sisters, I often bore the weight of being the "big sister." We lived in a rural area of eastern Oregon. My Dad had been out of work for a while as Christmas approached. Money was tighter than we could have imagined at such a young age. I was only eight with brothers who were seven and six and a little sister who was five. We didn't know exactly what was happening, but we knew things weren't normal.

Our meals were a little different but the biggest difference was our Christmas tree. It wasn't a sad "Charlie Brown" tree, but the gifts under the tree forced us to realize this would be a unique Christmas. Actually, there weren't any multicolored boxes or any exquisite bows. Instead we had one present, but it was a huge box wrapped with care. We tried for days, but we could not imagine what it was.

Christmas day finally arrived and anticipation consumed us. As always, Dad read the Christmas story from Luke before we could open any present. After the reading he put the big box in the middle of the floor. He directed each us to stand by one side of the present. He told us that the gift was for all of us and we had to share it nicely, then he gave us the motion to open our present.

We ripped the wrapping paper faster than a chain saw!

We had waited all that time for a refrigerator box?! But we discovered that there was something else inside that refrigerator box. Large appliance boxes with medium-sized moving boxes inside of them. Inside the medium boxes were other boxes and then shoeboxes and even more boxes until we finally arrived at the tiny jewelry boxes! Believe it or not but at the bottom of all those boxes was a book called "Things to Make with Boxes."

We made forts and castles, cars and airplanes, boats and trains, sets and scenery for make-believe plays, and all sorts of cool things. My parents still have a box of snapshots of all the things we made with our boxes.

The four of us are now straddling 40. If asked individually for our best Christmas memory, you will get four variations of the story of a box full of boxes.

Copyright 2002 Len Evans. Permission is granted to send this to others, but not for commercial purposes.

Back to Features and Stories