The Story Behind the Story: THE CHRISTMAS HOUSE

Dear Readers,

I’ve recently taken down my old web site about The Christmas House, so I’m including its story here:

When I was a little girl my parents signed me up for piano lessons. I had a series of kind teachers, who never yelled too loudly at me for not practicing. One of the many reasons I found it difficult to practice was that one of my little sisters had a terrible aversion to my playing. Above the sound of my wrong notes echoing through our house floated audible signs of her exasperation. You can imagine, then, that I have never thought of myself as the sort of pianist anyone would actually care to listen to. Still, I cannot help it. I love to play.


One evening, after a normal day of teaching fourth grade, I opened the front window to let in the cool breeze before I sat down at the piano. I was playing a Christmas carol (as I often do no matter what season it is) when I felt, unmistakably, that someone was staring at me. I knew it wasn’t my husband. He was still at work. I slowly turned my eyes away from the music and glanced over my shoulder. There was a man, a stranger, standing on the sidewalk in front of my house!

For what happened next, I am ashamed. I got scared. I popped up from that piano bench, swooped to the window, and shut it. It wasn’t until I was out of his sight, heart pounding at the top of the stairs, that I realized why the man had been lingering there. Wonder of all wonders, he had probably just been enjoying the music.

About a year later, as I sat with my baby boy in front of our Christmas tree, I prayed for a Christmas story to write. The picture of that stranger standing before my house came back to me. I began to imagine what might have happened if I had left the window open. What if, instead of being afraid, I had reacted in the true spirit of Christmas? Then, I wrote the story of Kathleen, filling it with all Christmas means to me.

To my solitary sidewalk listener: If you are reading this, please accept my apology for shutting that window. Your listening ears blessed me. May this book serve as a substitute for the remainder of that song.

4 thoughts on “The Story Behind the Story: THE CHRISTMAS HOUSE

  1. This is so good for your readers to hear the sweet story behind your book. It is so well written, Carol. Do you have a new website? Where can we go to read your story behind your new book? I so wish I could buy copies of The Christmas House!!

    On Wed, Mar 31, 2021, 12:32 PM A Children’s Book World wrote:

    > Carol posted: ” Dear Readers, I’ve recently taken down my old web site > about The Christmas House, so I’m including its story here: When I was a > little girl my parents signed me up for piano lessons. I had a series of > kind teachers, who never yelled too loudly at m” >

    • Thank you so much! This will be my only web site from now on. I’ll be posting about the idea (and miracle) behind Your Nursery Is an Everywhere soon. 🙂

  2. It will be wonderful to have all of your posts, updates and book information in one location! I’m truly enjoying your beautiful new book, and of course, your Christmas book, every Christmas! Keep the stories coming!

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