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On Christmas Eve, 1927, in the prairie town of Hillsspring, Alberta, Canada, a young mother, Mary Jeppson, was getting her five small children ready for bed. Her heart was full of sorrow, for there was nothing to fill the stockings, and there would be only a little much for breakfast. Mary had written to her sisters in Idaho, asking for help with such necessities as wheat, yeast, flour, and cornmeal. She had also asked for clothing and some old, used quilts, for all of hers were thin and full of holes.
At the close of the letter, she had written, “If you could just find a dress that someone has outgrown, I could make it over to fit Ellen. She is far too somber for such a young girl. She worries so about the family and about our needs. She has only one dress that she wears all the time, and it is patched and faded.”
Her letter had gone unanswered, it seemed, and their Christmas would be far from merry. But George Schow, their mailman, had a surprise in store. Could he brave the coming storm and bitter cold to deliver a Christmas miracle? And would there be a special present for Ellen? Find out in this classic tale of Christmas sacrifice and service.
About this book: President Thomas S. Monson told the story “A Christmas Dress for Ellen” at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in 1997, and an adaption of his address was published as a Christmas booklet in 1998. The story was related to President Monson by Marian Jeppson Walker (now deceased), a daughter of Mary Jeppson, the mother in the story. Sister Walker and her husband, William, also exchanged correspondence about the story with President Monson over the years. Additional details were obtained through correspondence with descendants of George Schow, the mailman who delivered the long-looked-for packages to the Jeppson family on Christmas Eve. In addition to other family members, those descendants include Mark Schow (now deceased) and Gayla Woolf Holt. The help and information from all these family members is acknowledged and appreciated.
About the Authors
President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963. Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service. President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.
Ben Sowards – Formally trained at Brigham Young University, Ben Sowards loves the preparation, research, and travel necessary to create images worthy of the individuals and themes he strives to represent.
When he is not working on his own projects, he is teaching others how to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where he has directed the Illustration Program since 2001. Ben is grateful for the encouragement and support of his family and friends along with the generosity of fellow artists that continue to teach and inspire him.
Being a father is his greatest challenge and he continues to learn the most important lessons in life as he and his wife, Connie, strive to instill in their six children the values they cherish.
by gayla - reviewed on November 08, 2004
Thank you to President Monson for combining the two stories so eloquently. Thanks to Ben Soward. for his inspiring pictures. They aptly capture the humble essence of the story. What a priceless book! We are so delighted. Many thanks to all at Deseret Books from Canada! And a big hug to the Jeppsons from our family. Gayla W. Holt (Schow Grandaughter)
by Anne - reviewed on September 22, 2008
I absolutely love this book. The story hits home everytime I read it and the illustrations are outstanding.
A perfect addition
by Kathi - reviewed on October 18, 2008
A perfect addition to your Christmas Treasury. Beautifully told and beautifully illustrated.