Gifts and Giving

Slim Randles is here today with a story to warm your heart as we get closer to Christmas. My anticipation of the holiday has as much to do with kindness and touching moments like these as it does presents and parties. Enjoy… And have a cookie or two.

Sugar cookies are my favorite Christmas cookie.

Mabel Adams was sitting in the day room at the Rest of Your Life retirement home when the children came in. She smiled and so did all the others in the room except for two who didn’t know what was going on.

The old-timers in the home knew the kids were coming and had put up Christmas decorations around in the day room and on the doors of their own small apartments and on themselves. Mabel had been reminded several times by the staff that morning that the kids were coming over, this being necessary as Mabel’s memory isn’t what it used to be. And she put a sprig of imitation holly in her hair and tied a red ribbon on the other side.

The little girl smiled and walked over to Mabel.

“Are you a grandma?” she asked.

“Why, yes dear, I am.”

“I brought you a present, Grandma,” she said, handing a box to Mabel.

Mabel opened it and was delighted at the sandalwood-scented hankies inside.

“Why thank you so much, Honey!” she said. “And what is your name?”

“I’m Candice. I’m four.”

“Well, Candice, merry Christmas to you. Have you been here before?”

“Well … no, I guess. Mom said this is where the grandmas are and we can have fun bringing presents to the grandmas.”

“I see,” Mabel said. “Well, Candice, come over here, dear and let me give you a hug. There!”

Sometimes, it isn’t the cost of the hankies, or the fun wrapping them up. Sometimes it’s just a child’s smile and a small taste of love that makes us treasure Christmas.
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Brought to you by Dogsled: A True Tale of the North.

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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I have two short stories for Christmas that reflect the same kind of tenderness and the magic of the holiday that Slim described in his essay. The Last Dollar has been called “A sweet and heartwarming short story.” And readers of The Gift have found it “A lovely story of hope.”

Check them out for yourselves.

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