How $10 Made Two Boys Happy on Christmas

During this time of year I often come back to one of my favorite images from the Lundquist family album. If you’re anything like me, life is starting to feel stressful, Thanksgiving plans are in motion, the December schedule is getting too packed already, and you’re wondering if you’ll have any sense of peace during the holiday season. This picture helps me put things into perspective.

christmas cape

Let me introduce you to my grandparents, mother, and the four-year old version of me and my twin brother. This photo was taken during a time when my family had very little money as my mother was a single parent doing her best to work full-time and raise us boys. We lived a modest lifestyle out of necessity, and so when December rolled around, there wasn’t much to cover Christmas gifts. My Mom had a total of ten dollars, and since she was too proud to accept additional funds from family members, she made due with what she had.

When I look at this post gift-unwrapping picture, I see two extremely happy boys and an amazing mother who stretched out ten bucks to provide both of her sons with a superman t-shirt and cape, Mork & Mindy egg, coloring book, and soccer ball.

Maybe it’s just subjective sentimental goo, but this photo gets me thinking about what really matters and even how I can enjoy the coming month ahead. There are some real nuggets of truth here: Family time is so important. Money doesn’t make us happy. Humble circumstances can teach us valuable life lessons. Moms are amazing. Christmas is not about the gifts. Financial hardship doesn’t have to steal our joy. Life is good. There is much to celebrate and be grateful for. We need to savor the time we have with our kids.

How do you plan to find joy in this next month? How $10 Made Two Boys Happy on Christmas


  1. Merry (Annie's Mom) says

    This is a great, inspirational story, Ryan. We all need to realize it’s not how much we spend on each other but the time we spend together that counts.

  2. says

    What a heart-warming real life story. More families should read this and learn what is important in life. Thanks for sharing a personal side that we can all learn from. Merry Christmas, superman!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Gena. I really appreciate your comment. This memory is one of my favorite stories from childhood. It really gives me a whole lot of perspective and reminds me of a wonderful mother, a grandfather I dearly miss since he passed, and God’s provision. I hope you have a tremendous and joy-filled holiday season, Gena. Let’s all remember the important things over the next two weeks.


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