The lesson of the Christmas candy

Published 7:34 pm Saturday, December 18, 2010

By David Carter

I think most of us at one time or another have reminisced about the good old days. Many years ago, my coworker, Christine, and I were having one of those moments, sharing Christmas stories of our youth.

Many times, I told her, the simplest of things can awaken precious memories. The smell of evergreen, a turkey baking in the oven or the taste of a special candy — like the candy my mother always placed in my stocking.

Email newsletter signup

After my mother’s death, I said, I was unable to find that candy anywhere. I explained to Christine that despite all the decorations, the family dinners and the presents, Christmas just wasn’t the same without that candy. She asked me to describe it, and I did.

Weeks later at our company Christmas party, I opened a beautifully wrapped package from Christine. Inside was the chocolate candy I had missed all those years.

“Where did you find that candy?” I shouted. “I didn’t,” she replied. “It’s homemade.”

Every Christmas for the next 20 years or so, she made me a full tin of candy. This made my Christmases complete. And then, my friend Christine Rawls was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 1999.

Sometimes, we get caught up in Xmas. What am I getting? How much did it cost? Why did you give me this when I asked for that? Sometimes, we fall prey to a never-ending desire for more things that never satisfy.

What is the true meaning of Christmas, and is that spirit alive or dead? The meaning is in its name, Christ Mass, the celebration of God’s gift to mankind and the worship of that gift, his son, Jesus Christ our Savior.

And that spirit of giving is thriving. Just look around our community. Neighbors helping one another, a child adopted by loving young parents, a new home built for the homeless — and a homemade tin full of candy for a friend.

There was a big knock on my door the Christmas Eve after Christine passed away. It was my neighbor, Ed. He is a tall, big man with a deep resounding voice.

“Merry Christmas, David,” he exclaimed, and with both hands, he pushed a package into my hands. “It’s your Christmas candy. I made it myself.”

If you haven’t guessed, Ed Rawls is Christine’s husband, and he has made my Christmas candy every year for the last 11 years.

That is the true spirit of Christmas.

David Carter is the owner of Brandon House Furniture store on W. Washington Street. He can be reached at