The Twelve Gifts of Christmas
December 1974

“The Twelve Gifts of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 62

The Twelve Gifts of Christmas

Loneliness and Christmas are not meant to go hand in hand; yet Christmases for Elizabeth Blumberg, a Hungarian convert of 20 years, were very lonely indeed. It had not always been so; she had raised a family and had had the fun of traditional Christmases, both in Budapest and in Canada. But now she was lonely. People didn’t mean to be unkind, she knew, but Christmas was a time when everyone was just too busy.

Sister Blumberg accepted the situation with the same calm she accepted all else—things she regretted but could not change: advanced age, partial deafness, failing eyesight, widowhood, a halting command of the English language, and the fact that she could not share her love of the gospel with the nonmember daughter and family with whom she lived.

Christmas 1973 approached in the usual way. On the 14th of December, however, there was a knock on the door, a bright package on the doorstep, and a card that read, “On the first day of Christmas what did Sister Blumberg see? A potted plant, as pretty as can be. From a Secret Friend.”

This Christmas season would be the most memorable one of her life. Someone did care.

The next day brought another knock, another gift, and another card, again signed, “Secret Friend.” This time the package contained two Christmas candles. Someone was taking the time to give a lonely elderly sister something to think about and to look forward to—not just once, but 12 times that season.

The gifts were delightful: four tree ornaments, five flowers, six Santa soaps, seven cookies, eight candy canes, and so on. Finally, on Christmas day, a red felt stocking holding 12 little gifts was left on the porch. This time Sister Blumberg opened the door in time to catch a glimpse of a young girl scurrying into a car.

Several weeks later Sister Blumberg discovered, quite by accident, that her secret friends were a class of Young Women. How she loves those sweet girls! She treasures their cards, and laughs with delight when she recalls each thoughtful gift. Twelve secret friends took time to care at Christmas.

  • Joyce C. Backstrom, a homemaker, serves as visiting teacher in the Edmonton Sixth Ward and as family health leader for the Edmonton Alberta Stake Relief Society.