Carol & Carl Reed
Favorite Christmas Memory:
It was a snowy night on Christmas Eve in 1946. Carl’s parents didn’t have enough money for presents for their children that year. His dad was sick and unable to work, and his mom was busy taking care of five kids—including Carl. On Christmas Eve, his mom gathered her children together in the living room for an announcement.
“When dad gets better, then we will be able to have Christmas dinner and presents. But right now, we don’t have any,” she said.
So, she put beans on the stove to simmer for Christmas dinner the next day, and sent Carl and his siblings to bed. Just when they had fallen asleep, there was a knock at the door—it was Santa Claus and his helpers! Dressed in blue uniforms, a group of Salvation Army officers delivered delicious holiday food, Christmas presents, and even a fully-decorated Christmas tree for Carl’s family. A family at the children’s school heard about the family’s struggle and donated everything so they could have a special Christmas.
The officers shared the Christmas Story with Carl and his family and invited them to attend church. When Carl’s dad got well again, he took the family to church because of one thing: kindness.
“These people have shown me what Christmas is really all about, “said Carl’s dad.
Carl’s life was changed on that day because of the “Santa Clauses dressed in navy,” and he and his wife, Carol, devoted 50 years to serving others through the Salvation Army.
Every day in December, when their kids were young, Carol would tell all her kids to go and hide while she put out a new Christmas decoration. Then, she would have the kids search around the house and guess what she added.
The kids and grandkids get a new pair of pajamas each Christmas from Grandpa Carl. Since Grandma Carol usually does all the Christmas shopping, it has been a nice way for Carl to be involved with gifting.
“Sometimes our kids won’t even bring pajamas home because they know what they’re getting,” laughed Carol.
Favorite Christmas Memory:
Six years ago Lynne was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She was given 3-4 months to live. Six years later, she is celebrating her sixth Christmas since her diagnosis.
“I am just happy to be enjoying another Christmas with my family,” Lynne said. “God has given me six years of joy, new friends, and time with family. It is the best present I could ever ask for.”
Lynne’s family enjoys eclectic meals around the holidays. On Christmas Eve, Lynne visits her nephew and his family, and they enjoy Lebanese cuisine for dinner, and Chinese cuisine for dinner on Christmas Day.
“My dad was in the army, so I moved a lot growing up,” Lynne said. “For me, being with family is my favorite tradition around the holidays.”
For the last few years, Lynne has purchased gift cards for nephews and nieces to their favorite stores, so they can choose exactly what they want and what size.