A Post-Apocalypse Christmas Story

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

by Daisy Luther

It has been only 7 months since the lights went out, but it feels like forever. Some people call it the Apocalypse and consider it the worst disaster that the modern world has known. At our house, we call it the Change, because my mother says that just because it is different, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world, and that words matter. Whatever you call it, though, the day the lights went out is the day that everything in our world became dramatically different.

The days go on and on, blending into one another with the sameness of our tasks.  I don’t go to school anymore because there is no school. My mother teaches me at night, when we leave the door to the wood stove open to preserve our precious candles, but still have light bright enough to read by.

I never thought I would long for gym class or for the school cafeteria, but I do. I miss hanging out with the other kids, sitting around the table making fun of the food, and being in the classroom, learning about the things that I used to consider incredibly boring. If I had only known then what true boredom was I would have cherished the time to just be a kid. I would have delighted in every bite of food that I didn’t have to harvest myself.

Instead of school, I work to keep us fed and warm. I work in the garden in warm weather.  My mother walks with a cane, so it is my responsibility to be her legs. I walk in the woods near our house and look for anything that might be edible or useful.  I collect branches and twigs in the cold weather.  Staying warm and fed is the focus of our daylight hours, and those two tasks take up nearly every minute that the sun is up.

We have heard from those passing through that the cities are death traps.  People there quickly ran out of food and water and had no way to get more. Violence erupted because people were scared and desperate, and there was no one left to quell it. All the police had gone home to take care of their own families. The people who left right away were the lucky ones.  Those left behind are constantly at the mercy of thieves and worse.  I’m not exactly sure what “worse” is but when the adults talk, that’s what they say: thieves or worse.  I’m glad that we don’t live in the city.

Our home is in a very small town. We have a big fenced yard with an apple tree.  My old swing set has become the support structure of a makeshift greenhouse, and the rest of the yard is no longer a yard, but more of a field. I used to think my mom was kind of weird, with her backyard chickens and her garden and her herbs, but now I am glad because we have food. The well water that tastes so different from the liquid that used to come from the taps is our true saving grace, my mother says, because water is more precious than gold.

Other people trade with us for eggs and apples and the seeds that my mother saves from her garden. The man next door with the pale, quiet wife and two rambunctious children gives us firewood in return for 8 eggs per week. We eat a lot of venison because my mother traded her skills and some of her precious jars to preserve some venison for an old man who hunts.

We are safer than most because our home is very small, and it is hidden behind trees.  You can’t see it from the road. My mother says that the smallness of our house is a blessing because it takes less wood to stay warm.  Since I am the one who goes out to pick up kindling every day I agree completely. I can’t imagine needing even more wood.

The past week has been a break in the daily monotony. It was the week before Christmas.

This Christmas is entirely different from any holiday season I have ever known in my 11 years.  There will be no brightly lit tree, half hidden behind a pile of brightly wrapped gifts that were purchased in the months leading up to the big day.  We won’t be going to parties or buying useless gifts for the teacher just because I don’t want to be the only one not giving a useless gift. I won’t be getting the newest electronic gadget.  We aren’t inundated with Christmas carol muzak at the mall, with people pushing to get around us anytime we stop to look in a window.

The stores are all empty, yawning caverns, littered with discarded wrappers. Anything that could possibly be of use was taken months ago.

Still, Christmas is something to be anticipated.

My mother said that all school children need a holiday, so for the past two weeks, instead of lessons in front of the fire at night, we have been making gifts. Whereas we once would have gone to the store and purchased yarn, waffling between two favorite colors amidst all the choices, this year I have unraveled an outgrown sweater with a hole in it in order to make my mother a scarf. For my next door neighbors’ young children, I have drawn small pictures – one of a kitten, and the other of a puppy.  I placed these pictures in little frames made from twigs.  Now they will have something cheerful with which to decorate their rooms. For the Smith’s daughter, who is 7, I have made a little book with carefully printed letters and drawn pictures. It is the story of the Three Little Pigs, from memory. For the man who hunts – his name is Roger, but I always just think of him as the man who hunts – I have helped my mother make a warm hat. I embroidered an R on it for his name.

Many of us in the small neighborhood where I live have families from far away.  There are no visits to family anymore, because there is no gasoline to fuel the vehicles. If you can’t walk to your destination, you don’t go.  So my grandparents will not be coming, and this is the first time I’ve had Christmas without them in my life. I don’t know if they have survived the Change and I probably never will.

Even though I feel as though I will probably be disappointed in the morning, I have trouble going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I’m still only 11, despite the heavy responsibilities in the world after the Change.

***

I awaken to bells ringing.  Bells?

I sit bolt upright in bed, the heavy covers falling to the floor.  “Mom?”

“Get up, sleepyhead! It’s Christmas!”

I bounce out of my room and I have that oh-my-gosh-it’s-Christmas-morning feeling fluttering around in my stomach.

My mother is smiling from ear to ear, and she has a steaming mug in each hand.  One has coffee for her, and the other has….I can’t believe it – cocoa!

“Where did you get hot chocolate?” I ask as I take the first decadent sip.

“Santa must have brought it, ” my mother says with a wink. She picks up the jingle bell ornament from the table and rings it again.

My stocking is not full to overflowing like it was on Christmases past, but I’m just happy to see that there are a few strange bulges in it. Inside I find a ball of yarn that looks suspiciously like an old sweater that I had outgrown a couple of years ago, an apple from our tree that has been covered in a sugary candy coating and placed in a bread bag from before the Change, and a clean cloth wrapped around something mysterious.  When I unwrap the cloth, I discover a hair barrette that my mother has decorated for me with a piece of wire and some beads from an old broken piece of costume jewelry.  I put it in my hair immediately and preen.

Our tree is from before the Change.  It is an artificial tree and its lights remain unlit, since, of course, there is nothing to plug it in to, but it still looks beautiful with the assortment of ornaments that we have used for as long as I can remember. Under the tree is a large, lumpy bag for me, and two small paper-wrapped packages for my mother from me.

I make her open one of her presents first.

She gasps in delight to see the word LOVE made from twigs I found in the woods and tied together with garden twine to form letters.  She immediately gets up and places the word on the bookshelf, front and center.  Her hug and her smile make me feel warm and happy.

It’s my turn now.  I open my bag and find a purple winter coat.  I could hardly believe my eyes because I had never expected anything half so wonderful as a coat. “Where on earth did you get this?”

“I traded your outgrown coat from two years ago to the Smiths for their daughter, and Mrs. Smith gave me one of her coats for you.”

“We have to find someone who needs my coat that I have outgrown, then,” I tell my mother.  My wrists have exceeded the length of my coat sleeves by about 3 inches.  Change or not, I still had continued to grow.

My mother opens the last package, which is the scarf I have made for her from the holey sweater.  She dons it immediately.

I can’t help but compare this with the previous Christmas, when there were at least 20 presents to open.  Somehow, I feel happier drinking this cocoa made with water, stroking the sleeve of a used purple coat than I ever felt then.

***

We are hosting Christmas dinner. My mother says that our neighbors are now our family and that we must love and care for each other if we are going to survive. The old man who hunts brought us a turkey yesterday. It is cooking with garden garlic and onions in a big roasting pan on the woodstove.  My mother says that the turkey may not look like the kind we usually have, all brown from the oven, but that it will be an amazing treat.  It smells so good that my mouth has been watering since early that morning.

Our home is decorated with pine boughs that I brought back from the woods, and iced with a fresh layer of snow.

We are serving with the turkey with applesauce from the jars of it my mother canned from our apple tree in the backyard.  She had been storing crusts of bread and leftover biscuits in the outside cold room for a few weeks to make stuffing, and yesterday she cooked a pumpkin from the cellar as well as a big pot of potatoes.

When the neighbors begin to arrive, we are excited to see that they are also bearing food.  This has been a hungry time and we rarely eat until we are totally full, as our food must last until the snow is gone and we can grow more to eat.

The Smiths, from whom my mother got my beautiful purple coat, have peppermint sticks for all of the children.  Mrs. Smith found them in her bin of Christmas decorations.  They are stale and chewy and the most delicious candy I have ever eaten.  I take small licks to make it last as long as possible. The man who hunts, of course, has provided the turkey.  The people next door, who keep reminding me to call them Tim and Libby, have arrived their children and a basket of cookies. They are the only people in the neighborhood with an oven that still works for baking. Sadly, their fuel for the oven will soon run out and there will be no way to replenish it. But for today, we have cookies.

For the first day in a long, long time – it feels like forever – all I have to do is play.  My mother and the other women will keep the fire going, the men will sit and talk, and we will play in the snow without a care in the world. When you’re playing in the snow, you forget that there is no electricity and no heat except for that from the fire.  You are just a kid throwing snowballs and building forts.

At dinnertime, we eat and eat and eat until we couldn’t hold another bite if we tried.  My mother uses some of our candles and opens up the woodstove. The living room glows. Mr. Smith reads the original Christmas story in his deep melodic voice, followed by How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was brought over by Tim and Libby.

Then, the most magical thing of all: Christmas carols.

We have no music except that which we make, but we all sing the familiar songs: Jingle Bells, Come Let Us Adore Him, Silent Night, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – we run out of songs we know and begin to sing them all over again because no one wants the music to stop because then the night will end. One by one, the younger children fall asleep, with their full tummies and flushed cheeks.

I sit there on the floor, leaning against my mother’s chair.  The sweet voices of our friends and neighbors surround me like the softest blanket.  I’m full, warm, and content. And although it is all by candlelight and my “big” gift is a used coat, it seems as though this day, this brief respite from the battle to survive, has been the best Christmas – a true holiday full of all that is sacred and beautiful.

Books by Daisy Luther

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

The Prepper’s Canning Guide

And more here…

 

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • i enjoyed that story very much.

    just maybe an out nation wide black out will be the saving grace of us all. maybe it will bring us all back to the basics and teach us that people are worth more than the next electronic gadget!

  • Daisy, first of all, I know this is somewhat late, but Merry Christmas to you and yours. Secondly, that story is one of the most sobering I’ve ever read anywhere. We all know deep down within us that the story will become true someday somewhere. The cities, even the one I’m in, will become deathtraps. BTW, back in May, I negotiated an arrangement with one of my cousins in north GA to come to her place when TSHTF. Yes, I now have a BOL to go to when the balloon goes up and I’ve already moved half of my preps there. As long as I can get out of Memphis in time, I’ll be fine. I think it’s coming sometime in 2014; I can feel it. I’m hearing through some back channel sources there will be budget cuts coming to certain programs in the 1st quarter of 2014, so things may become “interesting” between now and spring. As always, my prepping is continuing at the best possible speed. And of course, I did get some more preps for Christmas. Best wishes and prep, prep, prep. MOLON LABE braveheart

  • The simple life of the 1900-1930 era is better than today. People should simplify their lives thus to be happier. Nice story….

    • We will all love going back to outdoor toilets smell of smoke in our clothes all the time. Hot baths maybe once a month. Used everything. Scrounging for food. And all the lovely thing that lack of teck will bring.

    • Based on what my parents have told me of their childhood years, life had all of the “grit and grime” (I am being nice) of today, but usually stayed in the background instead of broadcasted 24/7. There was more disease. Relatives, born before 1900’s, lived with the effects of many childhood diseases, including polio. My maternal grandmother died around 1935 at 27 from TB. Overall, there was less stress. Even though the FED was in place by Dec 1913, there was more freedom and less taxes than today. Money was worth more than today.

      Simplifying ones life does contribute to a happier life.

      Having a “limited palette” of clothes, fosters an appreciation of the blessings of having those clothes.

      People learned fortitude.

      Radio had side effects, but more limiting than TV. Your imagination told you what these characters looked like. Unless, of course, you saw them at the Saturday movies.

      Limited budgets encouraged making skills. Those who learned, not only had the joy of making and sense of accomplishment that purchasing rarely gives, but also increased the quality of life. It may contribute to a long healthy life as well.

      We have simplified in many areas. We do not miss those things we eliminated. Instead, we are glad we did!

      • G! That sounds like life on the dairy farm my dad grew up on during the depression. Their operation was a little more modern than some of the others in the community–they had a generator that charged a bank of batteries that kept the lights on, but little more. They had no refrigerator–an ice box, instead. No TV. No indoor plumbing, and while they did raise hogs and chickens as well as crops to keep themselves fed, they also supplemented their diet with poached deer. They did a lot of horse-trading with other farmers in the region–and even a local physician. Still, they survived, and since Americans had not yet evolved into the soft, undisciplined whiners they’ve become in recent years, nobody sat around feeling sorry for themselves, or hating the neighbors that were perhaps a little better off.

  • Very nice Christmas story! I think anyone that has read it will remember it and think of it every year. Merry Christmas!

  • A simple but short story and very sobering. Thanks Daisy, well written and will share this with my grandchildren.

  • Thanks for a great story. It brought tears to my eyes, reminding me of some of my Christmas’ as a child.You see, we were poor, most of my presents were made by hand,or handme downs from my older brother and maybe 1 or 2 store bought items….our stockings were a cardboard lid filled with an orange, some nuts and a few pieces of hard candy. Thats all my folks could gives us and we had great Christmas’s….may all of us have a happy new year…

  • This story is beautiful, eloquent…powerful, real. Brought me to tears and reminded me of all we have to be thankful for. Going to read it to my children now.

    Thank you!

  • Yes a good story. A lot like the Christmases that I used to hear about from my depression era father. As preppers we all know about the feeling we get from being able to ” make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”. The sheeple generally will not get it.

    I can see this scenario coming true in possibly the next 5 years. I sure hope not though. As the main character kept remembering, we have it pretty good now. Even the smallest comforts will be hard to reproduce in a SHTF situation.

  • Nice Christmas story Daisy…Hope you and ‘the little one’ and all your friends have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! p.s.I emailed you but not sure if you are getting your mail or not? take care, S.

    • Hi CC – My email has not been working – if you contact me through the page on the website I will be able to reply to you from there. 🙂

      Merry Christmas to you as well!

      ~ Daisy

  • Beautiful story and beautiful writing. It shows that hope does not need electricity and “civilization” to thrive.

  • A charming and hopeful story! Thanks for writing it. A little constructive criticism: It was hard to immerse myself into the character because of the choice of several adult words and phrases. It’s not as though teenagers can’t say, “I never thought I would long for” or “We aren’t inundated with Christmas carol muzak” or “this brief respite from the battle to survive”. But it’s not typical, and the advanced language distracted me from thinking I was inside her head. (These were just three examples. There were more.)

    I don’t quite know how to accurately speak “teenager” — I don’t imagine there are online guides. I suppose the best strategy is to ask a teenager to review it.

    I still enjoyed the story. Hope that helps next time. Good job! God bless.

    • Hi, Christopher!

      Thank you for the suggestion. I based the character off my own girl, and she is such a little bookworm and wordsmith I could completely imagine these thoughts coming from her. For future efforts, I’ll have to work on that “voice”.

      Merry Christmas. 🙂

      Daisy

    • Many homeschooled teenagers do use language like that. (I homeschooled 6 for 27 years and all are educated and successful in their careers)

  • Dear Daisy,
    We live in Bangkok, a place hard to imagine without electricity. Of course, it is ALL OF US who have the real power. Everything else is just vanity & illusion.

    Best Xmas story I’ve read in a very, very long time! It gave us a tiny glimmer of hope.

    Thank you so very much…

    <3

  • I must say, this article doesn’t sound positive to me. I’ve 2 teenagers, both really wanting to (in a positive way) go out and explore the world. To travel, see other places, experience new things. I encourage that.

    But if the world collapses, their existential grief would know no bounds. They’d truly never get over it. To never be able to leave and see the world, experience different places, expand their horizons, and have the adventures that young people should have (and I did).

    The world you describe would be unending drudgery and uncertain fear. Not an appreciation of simple pleasures, which we can make up, but our kids may not see it that way.

    Not to mention the disease and hardships we seem to have forgotten. Things like deadly pneumonia, infections, TB, dysentery, typhoid, and even things like blood poisoning, lock jaw, and simple loss of blood in trauma.

    No, thanks. And don’t presume your loved ones will be immune due to isolation, herbs, and homeopathy. See how you feel as you see a loved one die in the aftermath, when they wouldn’t have died now.

    • Here are a few things your teens wouldn’t have to experience –
      – Big Nanny Government robbing their paycheck to give to the lazy and unproductive.
      – The Fed debauching the currency, making it impossible for them to fulfill their ambitions.
      – Their children being taught Revisionist Liberal History in school.
      – The conversion of freedom into Socialist slavery to the State.
      These are just a few of the many benefits of a collapse. So your kids never get to travel overseas – so what? I’ll bet they’d rather live as free men.

    • The difference between those who survive severe adversity, and those who don’t is never more clearly illustrated than the difference in the attitudes shown by yourself, vs Daisy’s fictional daughter. Some years back, I read a book entitled “Deep Survival” by Laurence Gonzales (bought it used on eBay). The author relates numerous true stories of accidents, wilderness misadventures, boats sinking in the ocean etc. Some of the characters–through sheer determination managed to carry on for months in some cases until they were rescued. Others–even those in the same lifeboat in one account, all died. While attitude can’t compensate for massive blood loss, acute infection or other physical insult or injury, the unshakable will to overcome and adapt is what made the difference. Your inability to even envision someone managing to appreciate what is possible and finding a measure of contentment, should assure you that when the SHTF, the more flexible thinkers among neighbors find your corpse and divide up your possessions–they’ll survive longer than you, if only for awhile.

  • Wow-just read your story. Really great! I worked as a “Holiday Extra” at Home Goods this year. It was an amazing eye opener. I don’t know why, but we forget how odd, demanding, and strange consumers can be. I had parents shopping at 1030 pm with babies, toddlers, and children who would need to be in school at 8am-because “it is nicer to shop when it is quieter”. I had people who would literally take their arm and clean an entire shelf of towels or rugs onto the floor, look at something that they MAY want, and then walk away from the entire disaster. Shoppers who broke crystal, left the mess half on the floor and half on the shelf; walk away to let any/everyone get cut on their carelessness.Empty boxes where the item was stolen, and it didn’t matter if it was $350 or $3.50. I could go on and on; but I wonder how these “consumers” will fair when it all winds down. Many shoppers thought nothing of putting $400,$600, or more on a single credit card. Many times, their behavior was simply mind boggling.
    Personally, I shop sales all year for gifts. Why would I pay $200 for something that is on sale for $30? I have found that the most loved gifts are the ones that aren’t expensive-but come from the heart. I’d rather have one thoughtfully considered, unique to me, gift than 10 expensive gifts that someone bought because they felt “obligated” to do so. My personal favorite this year was a tin with doggie shaped biscuit cutters in various sizes and a dog bone recipe. I love my dogs, and my girlfriend nailed what would make me happy!
    The best Christmases are the ones where you have friends, family, food, and laughs. Anything else is just extra.

  • I have followed you for awhile now and I love your site. This story really hit home with me. I grow up in Fargo ND with 4 brothers and a wonderful single mom. Our house was 3 rooms…living room kitchen and an upstairs, where we slept in bunk beds with the tub and toilet at the other end of the room. I remember my mom running the oven all winter to keep us warm since there was no heater in our home.I could go on and on with stories of our little house but I think you get the point. We never went hungry, my mom was a prepper before it was even thought of, garden that we lived off, kids always fished and my mom would trade home baked goods for deer meat from our neighbors in the fall. Our Christmas gifts were sock and underware, because that was when we could afford them, but anything else was always homemade gifts, a new quilt, mittens, even toys that my mother would trade something for with friends that worked with wood. Always the gifts were wrapped in empty food boxes and in the Sunday comics, that my mother would save through the year. My childhood was hard, we survived, and all of us now are very grounded and hardworking people. The lessons we learned growing up dirt poor are lessons that I am so thankful for. I wanted to say “thank you” for writing a beautiful eye-opening story. My children and I now have a new favorite story that will be read every Christmas.

  • You should invade and robb more foreign countries for their wealth and oil , in order to avoid such a disaster. Or stick to what you can get from working your own land and give thanks to the Lord for that little ,that is if you’re a christian.

  • Great story, Daisy, with a wonderful message of gratitude and community during a time of hardship.
    Thank you for writing and sharing it with us!

  • What a beautiful story, Daisy!! I grew up in West Africa, the child of missionaries. Christmas was always exciting and fun…and most important, meaningful. There were no Christmas trees, so Daddy would nail and wire together branches from thorn trees–which made the perfect place to hang tinsel and ornaments! 🙂 In the evening when he turned on the “light plant” (generator!) for a couple hours, we would play our Christmas records.

    There were no stores from which to buy gifts, so one year my brother and I went off on our bikes to different villages to buy as many eggs as we could find as a gift to Mama. We managed to gather around 100, out of which I think about 10 were usable! She would candle them, the #1 ones for eating, the #2 ones for baking and cooking…and the #3 ones for the dogs! I’ll never forget the year my brother put a box (with holes in it) under the tree as my gift, but warned me not to touch it. I assumed it was something live, as he had made breathing holes. Sure enough, on Christmas Eve when I opened it, there was a little lizard he had caught just that day. I loved it!

    Christmas isn’t about “things”…it’s really about Jesus and His incredible love–evidenced by His coming as a human baby in order that He could pay the ultimate price on the cross for our sakes. Wherever we are in the world, and no matter how much we have or don’t have of earthly goods, that message brings joy and peace!

  • Wonderful story! I have been a spoiled child for 61 years but this tale reminded me that there’s much more to Christmas than getting gifts! Thank you…,

  • Certainly a warming story for me Daisy! I was sitting at home sniveling about the young woman who backed into my truck, now the insurance company may “total” it and I cannot find an insurance carrier to provide me when or if it becomes “salvage”! Absolutely CANNOT afford to buy another vehicle…
    I am 63 and in great energetic health, with everything I NEED, and certainly MOST of what I WANT! I am blessed and grateful for reading your site for these many years!
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and hope you know that you are a gem for many of us! Blessings to you and your family! Rattlebone

  • Thank you, Daisy.
    Your realistic story truly touched my heart. I’ve been chasing the perfect Christmas for weeks now while fighting a nasty flu. I wouldn’t let myself just rest and heal and know that my husband and visiting family would understand some dust and not getting everything they wanted and things I just thought they’d enjoy for Christmas. Silly me. I got my version but your story and my family brought me back to reality. The things my family loved best were the popcorn and cranberries my husband and I strung and hung on the tree and the homey things like quilts on the beds that made them comfy and warm.
    Life after a huge “change” will be harder than even we preppers think but you managed to tell a touching Christmas story without the need to dwell on the gritty details. We’ll have enough of that when the time comes.
    Thank you again for a wonderful, heartwarming tale reminding us that even in hard or desperate times, it our humanity and our love for each other that matters.
    Merry Christmas!

  • What a great short story. The details and thoughtful writing made me really feel it. It also brought back some good memories of being a kid playing in the snow, throwing snow balls at friends and playing in snow forts. It even brought a tear to my eye. You’re a good writer 🙂 Merry Christmas.

  • What a wonderful story! Please keep the story going! Merry Christmas to you and thank you for all you do!!

  • Merry Christmas to you Daisy and your family! May God bless and protect all of you in the (hopefully) more prosperous new year!

  • I really enjoyed your story, Daisy. I think you should write more- if you can find the time.
    It reminded me of that program where three groups of people were living for a while in Montana like they did in the 1870’s and the teenagers finally found it so much more interesting than going back to the mall when it was over. Life was more meaningful even though each one had to be in charge of their own rag to go to the outhouse. And the girls had to go to milk the cow in the snow without socks because the ones they had were still drying over the woodstove.

  • A heartwarming and sad story that was beautifully told. I love that it’s based on your daughter – you must be a wonderful mom to have such a lovely girl!

    I purchased the children’s book Apple Tree Christmas for my daughter this year. It’s about a family living in the early 1880s and what truly matters. I highly recommend it. And it’s published by a great company and printed here in the USA.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1585362700/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

    Merry Christmas and keep up the great work Daisy!!

  • Great story. Still timely and hopefully won’t happen. But if it does, your readers and many others will know what to do because of your information. Merry Christmas!

  • Enjoyed the story very much as I’ve lived a bit like this. This story is a reminder of how good most of us have it and often times forget how things can change.
    Thank you Daisy !

  • Great story.
    That’s how I imagine it too.
    Thank you for your time, effort, and caring to help us all.
    Unless a person has experienced poverty, they will go into shock with what may happen. Shock can kill. Therefore, poverty now will bless us later.
    Bless You Dear.

  • I enjoyed this little bit of fiction. I was thinking the other day how different the holidays would be after the apocalypse. It isn’t really addressed in any of the stories I watch or read. I know I would do my best to continue the traditions I could. I make all my wreaths and garlands from cut greenery and pinecones from our neighboring trees. I love to craft and make gifts. I have so much yarn and fabric and can crochet and hand sew. We’re very close to our neighbors and even now we take care of one another, we garden and share tools etc. I have no doubt that would continue. The sad thing would be not knowing what happened to my grown children and other family members. Food for thought for sure.

  • Wonderful story Daisy, not because it romanticized a collapse or longs for it to happen (life in a collapse would be filled with sorrow, hardship, and loss) but because it would not necessarily consist only of hardship, sorrow, and loss. Furthermore, it points out that there can be a different kind of richness of life that can be born of the drudgery of survival as opposed to travelling the world.

  • Cute little story, but how realistic is it?

    Rural living is not necessarily safe during a SHTF situation. I read a report from a person, whose name I’ve forgotten, telling about the troubles when Argentina fell apart economically. It was not a total collapse like Venezuela, but bad enough. Rural living was not necessarily safer than bugging-in in an urban situation. Gangs commandeered enough fuel to travel to rural areas and take on the farmers. Farmers were tortured and killed, wives raped, crops stolen. Because of the remoteness, the gangs could stay for days, while in town they would be noticed.

    I hear preppers talk about bugging out to the country as a panacea. Is that true?

    Rural towns and villages may have to go back to medieval and before practices of having a town wall around tightly packed houses. While that would protect against gangs, armies can defeat them.

    • Richard, your thoughts may be very realistic, but while sobering, they are fatalistic and a hopeless worldview. This story is not meant to be a blueprint for harsh realities but for how the future will shape youngsters whose parents care enough to prepare for them.

      We prepare for the children’s sake. We keep love alive for their sakes. No doubt there will be very ugly things which cannot be hidden from children as they unfold. We have no idea really how it will hit each of us. Good stories of hopefulness and contentment will go a long way to soften the blows and nourish our souls come SHTF or high water.

      Merry Christmas Daisy! This story is worth repeating! 🙂

  • Merry Christmas Daisy! Loved this story, such a sweet, happy ending! People don’t realize that their kids do not really need expensive techy presents. I have deliberately gone into a Salvation Army store and bought things that are used but are way cheaper than new store bought things.

  • Wonderful. This year I treated myself as much as I could. Shops open now may not be open next year. And so on. Preparing mentally and otherwise for when shtf.
    One thing I do is fill my own capsules. People don’t know about that, but it saves money. Getting supplies while I still can.

  • Thank you Daisy. Both your sweet email and this story changed you from another prepper author to my sister. I wish you the best this Christmas.
    Sincerely,

  • Nice story; thank you Daisy; gives some hope after reading One Second After=/ Makes me want to get a little further from a big town though, and to a small community and a house not able to be seen from the road!

  • This story is so touching. I love to watch Alaskan Bush people & this is right out of their story. Homemade simple Christmas is what our country & the years gone by were all about….
    Thank you for reminding us!!!

  • I’m in my mid 60’s and did 20 yrs in the military, i am astounded at how far downhill as a society we have gone.

    The lack of civility is palpable. The crudness of people’s behavior is breathtaking. I suppose it is to be expected considering the output of movies and various other so called “entertainment” venues.

    Thank God I live alone and don’t feel pressure to have any pay t.v. in my home. Don’t want it. Don’t need it. All potential purchases are carefully vetted before purchasing anything.

    I reflexively cringe whenever I think about the money I wasted over the years. Worst of all is the TIME that I wasted. My weakness in these matters is my great shame.

    Thanks for your Christmas story. I pray that people will come to their senses before it is too late to turn away from the politics of envy, hate and division.

  • Daisy’s wonderful heartwarming story sparked some thoughts about what might be different today in comparison with rural life a century ago, the memories of which are still active in my tribe. By 1930, there were still about 30% of families living on farms, and while many had added Henry Ford’s Model Ts and As for transportation, most still kept horses as well, whether for farm labor or transportation. My maternal grandfather never learned to drive a motor vehicle. He used a horse to pull a plow, to pull a wagon full of grain destined for a local grain mill, or to take the family into town to church, etc. He didn’t have a hand-cranked mill at home like we could have today. And in the hot summer, freshly milled flour would only last about 7 days before it turned rancid, so it had to be used up fast.

    There was an interesting fuel aspect to the Model T cars and trucks. In the decade before Prohibition interfered by shutting down rural (legal) production of alcohol, Model Ts were flex-fuel. That is, depending on whether alcohol or gasoline was available, the driver could switch settings on the engine to handle the available fuel, which in rural areas was almost always home or locally distilled alcohol. (When the Rockefellers kicked off the political drive for Prohibition with a $4 million dollar grant to the WCTU for a “morals” campaign, it provided cover for their push to drive alcohol off the market as a motor fuel, making it easier for their large-city-based gasoline stations network to expand and swallow the rural market as well.) Today it would take some engine modification plus relearning how to distill alcohol plus access to enough suitable plant material for an alcohol fallback strategy to work. (My paternal grandfather apparently did a little home brewing during Prohibition — there are family stories of his hiding large tightly sealed ceramic crocks of hooch under the muddy soil of his cattle feed lot. The “revenuers” never caught on.)

    In that rural pre-electric era, ice boxes were the rule before electric refrigerators became possible. That required regular resupplies of ice. That was also the era of the milkman and his milk delivery business.

    It was also the era when flour companies printed patterns on their flour sacks to appeal to housewives who would use those sacks for home sewing projects. My father used to joke that his grade-school era underwear was made from flour sacks of the “Kelly’s Famous” company.

    My maternal grandfather also had built a smokehouse so that when hog slaughtering time came around, he had a way to preserve that meat.

    It’s still possible today to locate a reproduction of the Sears catalog of that non-electric era. Besides being a regular accessory in most outhouses (in place of toilet paper), it provides a fascinating look at the products and technology available to anyone in that era. A lot of the industry that created those products went away when rural electrification came in, and it would be quite a shock to try to recreate some of that after a major catastrophe.

    I once asked my mother why she cycled dishes being hand-washed from left to right in her double sink. she smiled and explained that was the order in which she was taught to wash dishes when she was a little girl using a wood-fired stove at home, about the time of WWI. So memories of such times are not completely lost … yet.

    –Lewis

  • I seldom comment, Daisy, but today I just need to tell you how much I appreciate you. I’ve learned from you, been guided to look at some things from a different perspective by you, and empowered by you. Thanks for the lovely story & I hope you & yours have a fantastic 2020!

  • Wonderful story, seems like the small things will be very important if the SHTF. We should appreciate all we have now.
    Thanks and keep writing.

  • I love this story. I don’t want this to happen, but, wouldn’t it be nice if people were like this now. The love and caring and all? It used to be like this long ago. Not in my lifetime, but in my parents and grandparents. My parents were born in the mid to late 20’s and my grandparents were born in 1896 and 1901.

  • I have been saving your story until I had time to sit and read. Im glad I saved it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could pictured it as I read it. Well done

  • Merry Christmas daisy, I loved the story, it took me back to visits of my great aunt. She didn’t have an indoor toilet until her late 80s and then gave in to getting a telephone, bloody nuisance she’d say and would pull it out the wall. Let people visit. Her wood stove was magical to me as a young child , her fresh baked bread was the most delicious bread I’ve ever tasted. She lived simply and gave simply hers were always the best most thoughtful gifts.

  • Lovely story. I have often thought that people need to simplify their lives. Christmas is about so much more than piles of shiny rubbish.

  • Reminds me of the christmas when I was six – living in the northwoods of Idaho with my folks. My mom’s “Big Present” was four glasses we found on a trip to town plus a shelf my dad and I made for her. Wood heat, outhouse instead of plumbing, buckets from the creek or melted snow for water. Kerosene lamp for light. It was a good Christmas. I didn’t care what the other kids had, I didn’t know about it! Even later when I found out what the rest of the world did I still thought it was nice.

    By the way, your “teenager voice” doesn’t sound strange to me at all – I grew up reading everything I could lay my hands on and would have talked that way too at that age.

    (For those naysayers who say this doesn’t sound like a very nice time – it’s meant to be more about showing there is hope in the midst of drudgery. And Daisy, if you’d like a free copy of a book my folks and I wrote about similar threadbare but merry Christmases, send me a reply at rohvannyn (at) gmail.com.)

  • Nice short story. Reads like something of a mix from Little House on the Prairie and Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling (an odd SF book about Change in physical laws of nature and no more electricity). While the heroine is a New Age Wiccan, the book has many how to do things to survive. Stirling has written many post apocalyptic SF stories some in combination with Jerry Pournelle. Worth reading!

    I also like the picture of the cabin illustrating This story. Where can I get a copy of it?

  • I found and read your story last Christmas and it gave me inspiration to prepare for Christmas 2020 by purchasing little stocking stuffers in case there was no money for this year. I found stuffed gingerbread toys along with bath items and other stocking stuffers marked down on clearence after 2019 Christmas and I saved them for this Christmas.

    This year I decorated new red velvet stockings and stuffed them with the things I purchased last year and had the stuffed gingerbread toy in the top of the stocking , the kids were so surprised and happy with these stockings.

    I purchased different things this year I found on clearence for their stockings next year.

    I can’t say thank you enough for all the things I have learned from you. You have taught me and inspired me to change many things in my life for the better.

    Thank you and wishing you a Blessed & Happy 2021 New Year

  • Like watching Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, or A Charlie Brown Christmas, reading this is in fact becoming a tradition.
    After this past years high weirdness, mandates of various kinds, forced jabs, etc. Daisy’s story is all the more relevant.

    Merry Christmas all!

  • WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS DAISY to you and yours!!!! May you stay happy, safe, well, and hope the new year will be better. God bless!!!

  • Merry Christmas from our home to yours. may your blessings be many and your trials few in the year ahead. God Bless you all.

  • Merry Christmas !!
    A truly wonderful story of hope when there appears to be none. Survival is a mind-set. Realistic expectations will bring happiness.
    Thank You.

  • If I were you kid, I would skip the venison. A large percentage of wild meat in the US is contaminated with prion diseases. Even trout have been identified with whirling disease. And nope, deer, elk and moose did not pick this up by feeding on contaminated grain left over from feeding cattle on pasture. That is a BS cover story. Prions came out of a lab, and were seeded into the environment, because the globalists want to control ALL sources of food.

    If the schools had closed when I was a child, I would have been jubilant. I recognized and hated their propaganda from an early age. I have spent decades educating myself about the genuine history if the world. Nothing I learned in my forced public education has helped me in life. However, what I have taught myself has saved my a** more than once. The plandemic has merely been a blip on my radar screen.

  • Daisy – I love this story – i read it last year for the first time and when we had a power out in November i was remembering it then and again just this morning – and i come on my emails and find it here – thank you so much for the blog, the stories and for being part of our family xx

  • Thank you for shinning some light in this ever increasing, dystopian and darkening world Daisy. You are a blessing!

  • That’s a lovely story, Daisy, thank you for that. It reminds me of “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  • We need a nationwide blackout for about at least a month to set America straight and end the MSM/Internet monopoly on our brains and lives.
    Most do not remember that only 130 years ago, everyday life was what we call TEOTWAWKI.
    No power, no cars, no radio, no TV, no grocery stores, no toilets and little running water.
    But that was LIFE for MILLENIA.
    We need to return to it.
    Merry Christmas,
    Gunny

    #GardasilKilledJessica ~ 12/16/1993-12/24/2013

  • What a truly wonderful Christmas Story! It brought a tear to my eye and touched my heart! Many blessings to you Daisy for the coming new year and may God continue to bless you and all you do for us readers!

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