Your Best Christmas Surprise: Part 1- Christmas on a Homestead in Nebraska

How Christmas Memories Are Made

We love a great Christmas surprise. But no surprise here: INSP viewers have a lot of heart! From joyful memories to Christmas miracles, thanks for sharing a part of your lives.

Your Christmas Stories…

“I was five years old in 1945. We lived in a four-room house out in the country. We had no running water, electricity or telephone. In fact, at that time in our lives, no one in our family had even met anyone who had a telephone! We raised chickens and turkeys, a big garden, and cattle. We had a few milk cows, and always sold our extra eggs and milk in town for spare cash. My Dad had found work, helping a nearby widow harvest her fields for a share of the crop. During the winter, besides taking care of our own cattle, he also worked, helping other ranchers take care of their cattle.


In those days, we still used horses for most of the work with cattle. One day, when there was a lot of ice and snow on the ground, my Dad’s horse slipped…and, when my Dad fell, he broke his leg. This meant that he would NOT be able to work during the winter months…My sister – who was three – and I had seen a beautiful doll house in an advertisement in the newspaper. We just LOVED that doll house…We cut out the advertisement picture and pretended that our “paper dolls” (who had also been cut out of the newspaper) were entertaining visitors in their paper doll house. Even though our Dad’s leg was in a cast, he began making daily trips down to the barn. We figured it was just to check on the cattle and horses…He would stay gone most of the day, every day.



Finally, Christmas morning came. We had a pot-bellied stove in the “sitting room” – which was next to the kitchen…my sister and I rushed into the sitting room. On either side of stove were ladder-backed chairs. Each chair had a stocking, filled with nuts, raisins and oranges. However, parked right between the two chairs, was the grandest doll-house which my sister and I had ever seen! Of course, you need to realize that our Dad had built it himself – and he was not exactly the handiest guy with a hammer and nails. So the floors slanted to one side and most of the doors between rooms only opened with a LOT of effort – and the roof was a bit wobbly. But, to my sister and me – that was the grandest dollhouse we had ever seen! Mom, with the help of our grandmother, had made a couple of small doll families…just the right size to have great adventures in this dollhouse. Beds were made out of matchboxes, but they had lovely quilts, made out of scraps of fabric from the rag bag! Tables were made out of empty spools which had once held thread.



Looking back over all the Christmas surprises which I can remember – that lop-sided doll house was probably the grandest surprise of all! Needless to say, we really, really, really enjoy Saddle Up Saturday on the Inspiration Network!” – Phyllis, CO