Christmas Memory: Christmas Surprise

  By Linda S. Reeves second counselor, Relief Society general presidency

  • 30 December 2012

Mel and Linda Reeves spent a memorable Christmas landscaping the yard of a family friend who had served and helped many others—including the Reeves family.  Photo Courtesy of Reeves family.

Article Highlights

  • The Reeves family had a contractor friend, Brother Kent, who once surprised their family by sending his work crew to their home and converting their garage into a large bedroom for their five boys.
  • Knowing that 1996 had been financially challenging for the Kents, the Reeves wanted to give a Christmas surprise to Brother and Sister Kent and their six boys: a landscaped yard.
  • After a lot of work and with the help of volunteers and other donations, sprinklers, shrubs, flowers, and even a trampoline were waiting for the Kents when they returned from visiting relatives on Christmas Eve.

“Working so hard to do something special for someone else created feelings in our children that they have never forgotten. They often remind us that this was their favorite Christmas.” —Linda S. Reeves, second counselor, Relief Society general presidency

One of our family’s most memorable Christmases took place in 1996.

We were fortunate to have a great contractor friend, “Brother Kent,” who for years blessed our lives on a regular basis!

Several years previous, Brother Kent surprised our family by sending his work crew to our home and converting our garage into a large bedroom for our five boys. We also had a number of daughters, and our house had been bulging at the seams and finances were tight. Brother Kent would not allow us to pay for any of the materials or the work.

As happens with many contractors, the Kent home was the last to be worked on, mostly because Brother Kent was always busy helping other people.

We knew that 1996 had been financially challenging for the Kents, so, as a family, we thought about what Christmas surprise we could give Brother and Sister Kent and their six boys.

As their Christmas gift to their children that year, the Kents took their children to visit relatives the week before Christmas.

The large front yard of the Kent home had sat vacant without any landscaping for many years, though Brother Kent often talked about his landscaping plans. Knowing they would be gone until Christmas Eve night, we decided to go to work.

We contacted a friend who owned a plant nursery; he discounted everything and even donated many rose bushes. Other friends volunteered to help us lay sprinkler pipes. My husband took the week off work, and at the crack of dawn each morning, we got the children up and headed for the Kent home.

Once the sprinklers were in, we planted trees, bushes, and flowers until dark each night. Neighbors would drive by and stop to help. Other neighbors donated plants or flowers.

On the last night, we worked by the light of lanterns and flashlights until everything was finished. A group of members had been able to purchase a trampoline for the Kent boys and set it up in the backyard.

Our children had never worked so long and so hard.

On Christmas morning, we had a knock at our front door. There stood Brother and Sister Kent and their boys. With tears streaming down their faces and emotion in their voices, they expressed their love and gratitude.

Working so hard to do something special for someone else created feelings in our children that they have never forgotten. They often remind us that this was their favorite Christmas.