December 23, 2016

Readers share their favorite Christmas memories

Fifty years later, manger from faraway place a family tradition

By Lana Hoffman

A long time ago, in a faraway land (Florida), I spent Christmas. Having run away from home (Philadelphia) at the ripe old age of 18, I felt lost and lonely. Where was the snow, hills, ice, cold and winter coats? Surely this wasn’t “the season.”

Walking downtown in St. Petersburg, I passed a Kresge Five and Dime store and decided to go in. There it was—a manger complete with a donkey, three sheep, cow, three wise men, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and an actual wooden manger for $4.99. I was elated until I dug in my purse and had only $4.53. The clerk that helped me, to this day, I think was an angel. Now it truly felt like Christmas. Yes, the clerk bagged up the manger and sold it to me for $4.53!

That was 50 years ago! To this day, my family celebrates Christmas with my manger from that faraway place!

(Lana Hoffman is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Indianapolis.)

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