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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Let me be your Santa #2

Posted December 10, 2008 9:27 a.m. EST

What is the most satisfying holiday gift you have given over the years?  What was it about the gift, the recepient and the circumstances that made your gesture so special?

Please share your stories today. We'll put all entries into a hat and draw a winner tomorrow. That person will receive a copy of my coffee table hardback book Blue Ridge Reunion and companion CD by the same name.

One of my favorite stories dates back more than 20 years. Several families in our church, Cary Presbyterian, adopted a needy family near Holly Springs for Christmas. After receiving a wish list from the family we shopped at area stores and presented the gifts on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas. The family we were helping promised to wait til Christmas to open the gifts but we later realized they opened them as soon as we left.  Somehow a wrapped gift intended for me ended up in the pile that was taken to the adopted family. It was a beige London Fog sent from my mother-in-law, Margie, working overseas at the time. She knew every good reporter needed a handsome trench coat.

Christmas Eve my wife Cindy realized the mistake and called the woman to let her know she was coming to the retrieve the coat, The woman was very upset. Even though a trench coat was not on her wish list, this one fit perfectly and she loved the warm lining. Cindy called our covenant group members. Each one dropped what they were doing and went shopping. It wasn’t easy finding an extra large women’s trench coat on Christmas Eve but Joan Haskin came through with the perfect garment. Cindy delivered the new coat. The disadvantaged woman was delighted. She gave back the London Fog intended for me. I would have gladly given up my coat but I didn’t find out about the mix-up until the next day. Despite the drama we all had a Merry Christmas.

Please share your gift stories.

Congratulations to racinjunki!  Your name was pulled from the hat this morning as winner of the first Let Me Be Your Santa drawing. Please send me your name and address and I'll send you a book and CD.