Many years ago, when my children were quite young, we made the decision to invest in an artificial Christmas tree. These trees weren’t as popular then as they are now, and this was not an easy decision. However, the cost of “real” trees was continually rising, they had to be bought early to find a really nice one, and then, since the temperature in San Bernardino can sometimes be in the high 80’s in December, a real tree would dry out long before Christmas day—-with drooping branches, pine needles everywhere, and worst of all, a definite fire hazard. A “fake” tree was the only choice. This decision also involved a credit card, something we didn’t often use back then. And, after going through all the pros and cons and actually making this purchase, someone stole our Christmas tree out of the back of our car!! To say the whole family was dismayed is to put it mildly, but it turned out to be a memorable Christmas, mainly because of the creative thinking of our oldest child.
Sometime in the early 1980’s, when I was a few years into my writing career, I wrote an article on this momentous event in our lives, making it a “Christmas in California” story and telling it from a mom’s point of view. I was grateful that it was accepted the first time out and published in Liguorian, a leading Catholic magazine for adults. It was one of my first “big” sales.
Fast forward to this year, 2008. I re-wrote this story, cutting it considerably and telling it from our oldest child’s point of view. It was accepted by the online Christian children’s publication, My Light, and appears in the December issue. That editor cut it even more and thought it was a good idea to give it a universal theme by leaving out the “California part.” But the main idea of the story still holds up, and it can be seen at http://www.mylightmagazine.com.
Now, I’m planning to use this incident in a third way. I recently heard about an anthology, called “Christmas Miracles,” that is accepting submissions for a book that will be published next Christmas. My plan is to rewrite this story one more time, again from an adult’s perspective, keeping the main details and theme but using an entirely new slant.
Even though having our tree stolen was devastating at the time, the story has a happy, and uplifting, ending. Plus, it’s a family story we never grow tired of telling, and obviously, one that has given me plenty of material to write about.
Contributed by Marjorie Flathers
P.S. It also gave me the idea for this blog!