Christmas for a Dollar
Covenant Communications, Inc., 2008
Christmas for a Dollar is the story of a family making ends meet during
the Great Depression, in Bakersfield, California. The mother has just
died unexpectedly and one child has accrued medical bills from polio. A
strike is pending at Dad’s job, threatening a possible loss of income.
Already the oldest daughter, Verna, is running the house, and working on
weekends at a local cafe to help with the finances.
Wow, this is a heart-wrenching story, definitely being released at an
appropriate time, when our current economy is struggling, and we are all
pinching pennies as in this story. You know lack of money always spurs
creativity and helps us look to our current resources first before
spending, and this book prompts those possibilities. No one is immune to
poverty. Anyone can read this and relate on one level or another,
perhaps when lifestyle changes are being considered to save money.
The wonderful memories and thought that the children put into the
decorations that brought back the memories of their deceased mother was
so touching and adds an emotional element. The decorations being hand-made
and food prepared was something that made it seem to the family
that she was with them.
The young boy with polio gifts his sister with a hand-made wooden
jewelry box that he had slaved over for some time. Coming home
exhausted, worrying his eldest sister to the point where she needed to
know exactly what he was doing even if it meant finding out the
Christmas secret he was working on. She becomes his mother and she even
has to deal with feelings of letting go and letting her little brother
The whole family dynamics were so well put together. The whole family
pitches in to help the eldest daughter feel comfortable in applying for
college, by offering to do chores, cook, give her money, etc. Her
ultimate dream/gift was also achieved which, given the circumstances,
she was not even considering. This shows how much they all are dedicated
and willing to put each other first to get things done.
When you read a story like this, where the dad places a dollar in change
on the coffee table and tells the children that this is what they can
use for Christmas, and everybody is dedicated to finding the perfect
gift for that someone, even children, it stirs the soul into thinking of
others before yourself and trusting in the Savior’s example. I loved how
the author included the importance of the Savior’s birth to the father,
William, when his son gifts him with a manger set, and he shares the
story from the scriptures at breakfast. They show their great faith and
know that they are experiencing their own great modern-day miracle.
The Savior is and should always be the center of why we do things, and
this family really makes the best out of a dire situation. If they can
do it. I can. Very motivating. Loved it. would give it away for
Christmas with some hand made paper snowflakes or Danish aebleskievers
(Scandinavian pancake balls).