“Following Christ at Christmas,” Friend, Dec. 2012, 8–9
These latter-day prophets followed the example of Jesus Christ at Christmastime. What can you do to follow Christ this holiday season? Turn to pages 24–25 for ideas.
When President Thomas S. Monson was 10 years old, his parents gave him an electric train set for Christmas. Tommy was happy until his mother showed him a less-expensive train she had bought for a neighbor boy. Tommy noticed a car that his train didn’t have. He was jealous, and he convinced his mother to let him keep the train car. When they went to surprise the neighbor boy with the gift, Tommy realized how selfish he had been. He ran back home and got the car, plus another car from his own set, to give to the boy. He felt joy when he focused on giving instead of getting.
President Gordon B. Hinckley learned at a young age that good gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. He watched his parents visit widows during the holidays and take them bread and treats. As he grew up, Gordon tried to make thoughtful gifts for others. He and his brother, Sherman, decided to work together to build Christmas presents for their sisters. Some of their gifts over the years included a small cupboard, a yellow treasure chest, and a fancy desk and chair.
The McKay family loved music. Each Christmas, President David O. McKay attached jingle bells to his horses and took his grandchildren on a sleigh ride around town. After sledding through the snow, they would sing carols around the family’s piano. Once, while President McKay was working at the Church Administration Building, he was surprised by a different group of carolers—165 Primary children who had come to sing Christmas songs for him! President McKay appreciated their musical gift, especially when he learned they had given up their annual Christmas party to make the trip.
Christmastime at the Smith home was filled with fun and service. On Christmas Eve family members hung stockings in front of the fireplace to collect presents. As a joke, President George Albert Smith always hung a huge stocking instead of a regular sock. On Christmas day President Smith took his children to visit people who might be feeling lonely or forgotten. Once he and his daughter Emily visited an elderly woman who lived alone. The woman was so happy to have visitors that she cried. She said she was grateful that someone had thought of her on Christmas.
President Heber J. Grant taught his family to look for ways to be unselfish during Christmas. One year President Grant’s children decided to donate money to help build the Salt Lake Temple instead of getting Christmas presents. Another year President Grant noticed that a woman he worked with was very poor. His family decided to take the money they would have spent on gifts for each other and give it to her instead. The woman was overjoyed on Christmas morning when President Grant handed her a turkey and a check to help pay for her house!