Thursday, December 24, 2015

Storytellers Christmas: Two Short Tales

The day is passing quickly, isn't it? Since our time this afternoon will be limited and probably very busy, here are a few short stories for this Christmas Eve evening.

Storyteller Mary Garrett tells a family memory:

The Truth

Mary Garrett's nieces and nephews
from about the time this story happened
Listening to Michael Lockett's Christmas from the Heart CD, I remembered a family tale.  

Great-nephew Stephen was told by older kids that there was no Santa, and his mom had given him the "spirit of Santa lives in your heart" talk, but my mom and I could tell he wasn't ready to give it up.  On Christmas Eve the local newscast announce some special interviews at the airport, and I got the VCR going in time to catch passengers saying that on their way from Minneapolis they had seen a sleigh pulled by reindeer and a driver in a red suit.  

I took it to Stephen’s house, put it in the VCR and pushed play

"Minneapolis is north, like the North Pole.  There IS a Santa!"  Stephen shouted.

Yes, yes, there is. 

Mary shared a few other favorites:

Reading "The Night Before Christmas" was a favorite when the nieces and nephews were small, and one fall I put some "down of a thistle" in a baby food jar, to show just what that is.

I love telling Chuck Larkin's "The First Christmas Gift" for its spirit of giving, and to remember Chuck.  I have a little sheep toy from England to hold if it's with me.

"Santa's Noisy House" is a variation on the Jewish "It Could Be Worse" tale.  I first heard it told by a Jewish teller at a Christmas gingerbread house event. shows my version and Marilyn's as well. ;-)

I sometimes tell  Pandora's story, emphasizing the "Do not open" aspect as a connection and Persephone for the connection to winter.

And I read I. B. Singer's "A Parakeet Named Dreidel" with students, to round out the season of holidays. 

Mary Garrett, writer and storyteller, tells folk tales, humorous tales and personal stories.  She shared stories with her students at Francis Howell North High School and has since told at the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration, Texas, Timpanogos (Utah), O.O.P.S. (Ohio), and NSN (national) conferences, the St. Louis and St. Charles Storytelling Festivals, the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire, day care centers, parks, scout events, elementary through high schools, and retirement communities.

John Fussner, Mary’s father, was the first storyteller in her life. She credits him with instilling the love of make-believe. Mary believes in the world of story and the power of story to make this world a better place. 

Read more about Mary at and order her CDs at: 
Frog & Friends and Courage and Wisdom CDs 

Melanie Pratt, a storyteller from the Columbus, Ohio area, shares the following experience:

I was telling Christmas stories in an Alzheimer's unit of a local nursing home. About 20 residents attended, plus a couple of nurses. I told one of my favorites, "Cat on the Dovrefell" first, followed by several more tales (totaling about 35 minutes). One lady sat there quietly throughout the entire program, not smiling, not moving a muscle. 

When I finished telling, I asked if anyone had any recollections from their childhood, as several of the patients who were listening to the stories were fairly lucid. The silent lady spoke up and told me that her parents were born in Denmark, and this was a tale her mother told her and her siblings every Christmas. 

Our conversation, which she had initiated, lasted about 5 or 6 minutes. As I was leaving the Alzheimer's wing, a nurse expressed her surprise at my conversation with the patient. 

"She's been a resident for two years or more," the nurse said. "As far as we could tell, she was unable to speak anymore. That's what we were told when she was checked in by her family."

The power of story!

A bit about Melanie:

"I've been telling since 1986. It was in 1990 that my interest in the Celtic tales started when Terry Jaworski (my Significant Other) asked me about my heritage and stories. He, being 2nd generation American of Danish and Polish Ancestry, sparked my interest. I then was determined to find a Christmas story from either Denmark or Poland. It has become one of my favorite tales.

I love telling tales of the Celtic nations, they are varied, they are fun, my favorites are from Scotland, but being an eclectic teller, I will tell tales from all over the world that tickle my fancy."

Email Melanie at 
Phone: 614-596-7487

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


storytellermary said...

Melanie, how beautiful! You reached her in the best possible way. <3

Brighid said...

Thank You so, for all of these stories. Merry Christmas to you & family!

Deborah Wilson said...

Stopping by to say Merry Christmas to you and yours, Susanna...:)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...