Christmas Trees

His children are used to fending for themselves. They’re used to preparing their own suppers, watching television alone, and tucking themselves in. But not since she started coming around.

He’s single father. A widower, to be exact. But that’s not the story here.

He waits tables for a living. And on his off-days, he works at another restaurant.

Sometimes, he works with his brother’s power-washing business for extra cash. He does handyman work, and installs home sound systems. He is a busy man.

He does it for his kids.

The money goes out the window as fast as it comes. And he’s away a lot.

His children are used to fending for themselves. They’re used to preparing their own suppers, watching television alone, and tucking themselves in.

But not since she started coming around.

Let me back up.

Nine months ago, he met her. She’s a receptionist at a doctor’s office. She was at his restaurant for her coworker’s birthday party.

He saw her and couldn’t stop looking at her.

By the end of the night, his friends in the kitchen knew he was smitten. They teased him. “Go talk to her,” they said, shoving him.

But, confidence doesn’t exactly grow on trees, and our Lone Ranger has been out of the saddle since high school.

He didn’t know how to approach her. He was—according to his coworkers—a big, fat, hairy chicken. So, without his permission, one of the waitresses spoke for him.

“See that guy over there?” the waitress whispered into the receptionist’s ear. “He’s the best guy you’ll ever meet. He likes you, but he’s too scaredy-cat to talk to you.”

Ouch, Kemosabe.

But that’s how it started.

A little bout her: she was married once. The doctor told her she couldn’t have kids. It broke her heart, all she’s ever wanted were children.

She likes long walks on the beach, Mexican food, Trisha Yearwood albums, chocolate ice cream, and any book that wasn’t written by Danielle Steel.

They went on a first date. It lasted for sixteen hours. But they darkened no bedrooms, rustled no sheets. In fact they didn’t even kiss.

Instead, they sat on his balcony, talking. They watched the sunrise together. When his kids awoke, they ate breakfast. Thank God for simple pleasures.

Since then, she makes him keep nights and weekends free. The four of them do everything together. They go hiking, fishing, ice-skating. They do movies, concerts, board games.

Sometimes, they have sleepovers on the living-room floor. Sleeping bags and all. The eat popcorn and watch black-and-white movies.

But nothing will ever top this weekend.

This Friday is going to be a doozie. They will buy a tree from a nearby farm. They will decorate it together.

There will be a giant Tupperware crate of ornaments, lights, and garland. Tucked in the bottom of this crate is a tiny clamshell box made of felt.

She will find the box. She will reach for the box. She will open the box.

She will see an unassuming diamond ring.

He and his children will have already taken a knee—they’ve been rehearsing this—and say:

“Whenever we’re with you, we’re a real family.”

He will ask her to be his.

“Hey, Sean,” he wrote me. “I’m so nervous, man. Just wondering if you’d ask your friends to put out good vibes today?”

You don’t need any help, brother.

But I’ll tell everyone I know


  1. Jean from Chatom - December 1, 2017 2:05 pm

    I’m so excited for them. Would love to be a fly on the wall to witness all that loving feeling.

  2. Patricia Schmaltz - December 1, 2017 2:09 pm

    Sweet! Good vibes galore!

  3. Jon Dragonfly - December 1, 2017 2:09 pm

    What can I say?….But a prayer.

  4. Pam Bishop - December 1, 2017 2:12 pm

    Love it!!

  5. Dianne DeVore - December 1, 2017 2:13 pm

    Another heartwarming story about every day people. Dreams can and do come true!!

  6. Shirley J Brown - December 1, 2017 2:13 pm

    They have my best wishes for s long, happy life with their children. A male figure doesn’t make sense father,b but the man checks the list for inconditional love for his children and a new wife who knows the value of the meaning of family. The people in a family aren’t bound by blood, but by love and with that comes acceptance. Best wishes family!

  7. Mary - December 1, 2017 2:24 pm

    I hope that when I die, your column will be available in the great hereafter. Thank you for standing up for kindness and love in these dark times.

  8. Trailer md - December 1, 2017 2:26 pm

    That’s the thing about love. You don’t need good vibes, you’re generating the good vibes! Happy for this couple and especially the kids. ?

  9. Roxanne - December 1, 2017 2:27 pm

    Hallelujah! More love. Blessings for a long and happy life.

  10. Lynn Shurden - December 1, 2017 2:30 pm

    Sweetest Christmas story I’ve heard in a long time. Good vibes for him and a little prayer for all.

  11. Lynn - December 1, 2017 2:36 pm

    What a sweet beautiful story! It already made my day a good one. Best wishes for a long wonderful life together! What a Christmas this will be!

  12. Connie - December 1, 2017 2:38 pm

    Sending love and every good vibe I have in me. Everyone deserves a chance at happiness and it sounds like they found theirs. God bless them all, and you for sharing their story.

  13. Marty from Alabama - December 1, 2017 2:41 pm

    Please let us know how it went. Such a beautiful story and everybody wins❤️

  14. Rita - December 1, 2017 2:42 pm

    How could she not say yes?!!! Blessings to you all!!❤️

  15. Sue Cronkite - December 1, 2017 2:42 pm

    Got the good vibes going. Blessings on you all.

  16. George Brannen - December 1, 2017 2:42 pm

    no sheets were rustled…….that is an excellent turn of a phrase…..these are the columns that keep me coming back

  17. J Jones - December 1, 2017 2:52 pm

    Absolutely, many kind, caring, supportive thoughts will be with them today!!! Best wishes to them! Thanks for sharing their story and giving your readers a daily lift!

  18. Sandi in FL - December 1, 2017 2:59 pm

    Abundant blessings to the entire family, and may this be a Christmas they will always remember fondly.

  19. Marlene - December 1, 2017 3:02 pm

    What they said, plus thanks for those co-workers who cared enough to open the door your man couldn’t. We all need friends like that!

  20. Donna Dicks - December 1, 2017 3:16 pm

    Wow! Another zinger, Sean. What a gift you have…PLEASE don’t ever stop writing, inspiring and showing us how to live.

  21. Jacque Kochak - December 1, 2017 3:21 pm

    Another one that brought tears to my eyes.

  22. jennifersekella - December 1, 2017 3:23 pm

    Oh he’s got this. ❤️

  23. Jan - December 1, 2017 3:31 pm

    Honored to be praying for this sweet family!

  24. Jack Darnell - December 1, 2017 3:31 pm

    To reflect all the comments above, and to give an AMEN. Good writing. Love the story of course. I’m with Brannen above. You can turn a great phrase.

  25. Susan Carlson - December 1, 2017 3:33 pm

    Thank you for letting us know…the Lord’s blessings to each one of you!

  26. Bob Hubbard - December 1, 2017 3:59 pm

    I’m a widower and was not going to put up decorations this year. Guess I better head to the basement to dig out a few. Can’t let this marvelous family celebrate alone…..

    Bob from Alabama

    • theholtgirls - December 1, 2017 8:19 pm

      Bob, your response to this did me in all over again! I am sorry about your loss, but please do enjoy your decorations and celebrate Christmas? And keep your eyes open – someone in Atlanta is praying for man like you!

  27. Karen - December 1, 2017 4:06 pm

    I’m shivering with joy!! Is that what “good vibes” feel like? This guy could give lessons to some big names that have appeared in the news lately!

  28. Margaret Holmberg - December 1, 2017 4:27 pm

    In the midst of my grief over my husband’s death, this made me laugh and smile. My prayers are for all people in love.

    • theholtgirls - December 1, 2017 8:24 pm

      Margaret, goodbyes are so hard; I am sorry for your loss! I will pray for you, that your heart finds reasons to go on beating, and that you laugh and smile often.

  29. Mary Lee - December 1, 2017 4:28 pm

    Beautiful, living and heartwarming. Love this story so much. Prayers for Hod to bless this family. They are a family now and forever more.

  30. Janet Mary Lee - December 1, 2017 4:57 pm

    I’m with all the people above! No way this is anything but a yes!! But would still love a follow up story here!! It makes my heart glad these things still happen. Blessings to him and this new family and blessings to the coworker who spoke up! Sounds like a God thing!! 🙂

  31. Lynda Clemons - December 1, 2017 5:03 pm

    Please give us the next chapter of this story. I’m sending prayers for all of them.

  32. Pamela McEachern - December 1, 2017 5:53 pm

    BEST WISHES to this new family.Sweet story.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  33. Susan Hammett Poole - December 1, 2017 6:29 pm

    Sweet Jesus! This is the best story, and I send my warmest wishes to this little family of four. May they live happily ever after.

  34. Carole - December 1, 2017 7:09 pm

    We certainly need a follow-up on this wonderful love story,

    • Laura - December 2, 2017 8:57 pm

      I agree! Praying for these sweet people!

  35. Paula Ann Tulkens - December 1, 2017 7:09 pm

    This story has to have a wonderful ending. I love it. Please let me know how it ended— every wonderful detail. TY

  36. Debra - December 1, 2017 8:26 pm

    Better than a Hallmark Movie – mainly because it’s the real thing. Wonderful!

  37. theholtgirls - December 1, 2017 8:28 pm

    Sean, you and your readers bless my heart daily. Thank you for sharing the news of this man’s request – He and his delightful plans are being prayed for!

  38. Jenny Young - December 1, 2017 8:35 pm

    Please come back & tell us she said yes! Of course she will.

  39. Jo Brooks - December 1, 2017 10:29 pm

    Good vibes and wishes for years and years of happiness. I am smiling.

  40. Regiena Berry - December 1, 2017 10:47 pm

    Love this. In fact, I love all of your columns so far.You have a way of looking at ordinary things and ordinary people that illuminates the fact that none are really ordinary.

  41. Deena - December 1, 2017 11:28 pm

    I am sending every good vibe in my heart and soul!! I know she will say yes!!

  42. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - December 2, 2017 12:18 am

    You’ve got this! You don’t need us. Wishing you the best.

  43. Michelle - December 2, 2017 1:01 am

    This story is beautiful. Thank you so much, Sean. Best of prayers and wishes to that sweet family.

    Love never fails

  44. Michael Hawke - December 2, 2017 3:00 am

    Aces. Count me on.

  45. Leslie Pletta-Smith - December 2, 2017 3:32 am

    I’m sure she’ll say yes but, please, please let us know the outcome. This sounds like a match from God himself.

  46. Gloria Wethington - December 2, 2017 3:54 am

    Love your story! Prayers for all!

  47. Julia - December 2, 2017 1:51 pm

    Did she say yes?

  48. Marilyn - December 3, 2017 2:24 am

    I hope it went well, he sounds like a “keeper”!

  49. carol jones - December 3, 2017 4:46 pm

    Hope she says yes! Update the masses your stories..some days I just tear up..Thanks for touching souls

  50. J. Atchison - December 4, 2017 7:32 pm

    Beautiful – most of your stories are soooo touching. Thanks

  51. Pamela McEachern - December 6, 2017 7:09 am

    Please let everyone know if they have a registry where we might send a gift. This is would be a gift I would love to buy.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  52. Jan Pleasant - December 22, 2017 8:49 am

    I’m vibing strong over here in Louisiana!

  53. Jackie Bailey - December 22, 2017 9:10 am

    Oh Sean, one of your beautiful stories has made me ugly cry again. I’m reading this after the special weekend has occurred, but I’m sure she’s overjoyed with that unassuming diamond ring and her new family! I sure am praying for them all!

  54. Nancy - December 22, 2017 10:45 am

    Do we have an update?


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