Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Book Review: A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson

I love December! Years ago, when my husband and I were just starting to create our family, I was looking for traditions we could share at Christmas time. My in-laws gave my husband an ornament each year so when we first got married, we had quite a few ornaments to put on our tree. I like the tradition but found something that worked better for me. One day, I was visiting my sister and she brought out her large basket of Christmas books. It was then that I realized that I didn't have any so I decided that my tradition would be to buy each of my children at least one Christmas book each year so when they leave my home, they will each have a nice collection of Christmas books. Some years my budget has been better than others so they've received nice books and other years, it's been a bargain bin kind of book. I have a great store I go to locally, though, that has nice discounted books so we've been able to get some good ones and we enjoy reading them together every December.

I'm going to share some of these books with you this month, and I would love to hear about the picture books you've enjoyed over the years.

A Christmas Dress for Ellen, by Thomas S. Monson
1998, 28p, Christmas
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Given a copy as a gift

On Christmas Eve, 1927, in the prairie town of Hillspring, Alberta, Canada, a young mother, Mary Jeppson, was getting her five small children ready for bed. Her heart was full of sorrow, for there was nothing to fill the stockings, and there would be only a little mush for breakfast. Mary had written to her sisters in Idaho, asking for help with such necessities as wheat, yeast, flour, and cornmeal. She had also asked for clothing and some old, used quilts, for all of hers were thin and full of holes.

At the close of the letter, she had written, "If you could just find a dress that someone has outgrown, I could make it over to fit Ellen. She is far too somber for such a young girl. She worries so about the family and about our needs. She has only one dress that she wears all the time, and it is patched and faded."

Her letter had gone unanswered, it seemed, and their Christmas would be far from merry. But George Schow, their mailman, had a surprise in store. Could he brave the coming storm and bitter cold to deliver a Christmas miracle? And would there be a special present for Ellen? Find out in this classic tale of Christmas sacrifice and service.

About this book: President Thomas S. Monson told the story "A Christmas Dress for Ellen" at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in 1997, and an adaption of his address was published as a Christmas booklet in 1998. The story was related to President Monson by Marian Jeppson Walker (now deceased), a daughter of Mary Jeppson, the mother in the story. Sister Walker and her husband, William, also exchanged correspondence about the story with President Monson over the years. Additional details were obtained through correspondence with descendants of George Schow, the mailman who delivered the long-looked-for packages to the Jeppson family on Christmas Eve. In addition to other family members, those descendants include Mark Schow (now deceased) and Gayla Woolf Holt. The help and information from all these family members is acknowledged and appreciated.

I received a copy of this book in December 2006. I was teaching piano at the time and one of my families gave it to me as a gift. Mary Jeppson is their great-grandmother and the baby in the story is their grandmother. In their note to me, they said that they hope I enjoy it as much as they do every year. I want to let them know that I do and am grateful to them for giving me such an amazing book. Even knowing the story, it still makes me cry and when my children were young, they would look at me wondering if I was okay. Now they're used to my crying through this story and they understand how touching it is. This is a great Christmas story and I highly recommend it!

Kindle Price is currently $1.95! 

About the Author

President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963. Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service. President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.


Katie W said...

What a great tradition!! I look forward to seeing what books you've collected over the years.

Someone Critique said...

I have not worn a dress like this since my wedding eight years ago, but my friend's wedding was formal attire so I had no choice. I am so glad I went with this dress.
preowned wedding dress

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