Journey Carlson-Campbell is the first place winner of the Tribune’s Spirit of Christmas writing contest in the 13 to 19 age category with her story Tawny’s Spirit of Christmas. (Photo submitted)

Journey Carlson-Campbell is the first place winner of the Tribune’s Spirit of Christmas writing contest in the 13 to 19 age category with her story Tawny’s Spirit of Christmas. (Photo submitted)

SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS: Tawny’s Spirit of Christmas

Journey Carlson-Campbell was selected as the winner of the writing contest’s 13 and over category

By Journey Carlson-Campbell (age 13)

Tawny slid into the backseat of her Mother, Dawn’s grey Ford Escape. She smoothed down the folds of her black, knee-length dress and brushed the snow from her cedar-coloured boots. Dawn, already in the vehicle, turned up the heater. They had just finished shoveling their neighbours’ driveway of yesterday’s snowfall.

The neighbour down the way worked long shifts and had a busy life. She knew he would appreciate not having to shovel his driveway after a hard day at work.

To get into the Christmas spirit, this year Tawny’s family had a mission: to do random acts of kindness on Christmas Eve. First step: shovel a few driveways. Second step: give out tins of homemade Christmas cookies.

Her father, Matteo got into the car with them and began to back out of the driveway.

“Well,” said Matteo, “I think a mid-mission coffee stop is in order. I’m in the mood for a Toffee Nut latte.”

Tawny spoke up. “I completely agree.”

She wished they could actually go into Starbucks, but the COVID-19 pandemic complicated things.

Just gotta stick it out and be safe, Tawny thought.

She gazed out the window as they drove through town. The white mountains surrounding the area looked as though they had been dusted with icing sugar. The sky started to grow dark, making the lights of the city grow brighter.


“Tawn!” Matteo said, pulling her from her daze. He turned around in his seat to face her and handed Tawny a steaming cup of coffee.

She reached forward to grab her peppermint mocha from her father, careful not to spill. The heat from the hot drink warmed her gloved hands.

“Merry Christmas!” the drive-thru teller said with a cheerful smile and a wave.

“To you as well!” Dawn called out the window. She blew in her hands to warm them. “Mmm.” she sighed. “This should warm us up.”

Tawny smiled back at her, grateful for the drink. She loved the combination of peppermint and chocolate, especially during the holiday season. Like pumpkin spice, only much, much better.

Just as they pulled away onto the highway, the fog that had been lingering all day was fading. New snow had begun to fall, taking its place.

Every Christmas Eve, Tawny’s family would take a drive on the southwestern side of town to look at the intricate Christmas lights and displays people set out.

It had become one of their family traditions, along with making sugar cookies and peanut butter blossoms, and watching TV classics like Home Alone, Elf, A Christmas Story, and any Hallmark movie they could get their hands on.

Each year, they would have an entire day set aside for a Christmas movie marathon (in their pajamas), complete with the best snacks. Pretzels, trays of fruit, endless cups of eggnog and hot chocolate, and buttery popcorn. No wonder everyone gains weight over the holidays!

To set the mood for the drive, the smooth, calming tones of Michael Bublé flowed through the speakers. She could listen to his voice all day. Having that CD on 24/7 in the car was yet another Christmas tradition they had.

As they started driving past the first row of houses, Tawny noticed many of them displayed hearts in their windows. Hearts had become a symbol of the pandemic. It signified how we’ll all get through this together, and that we appreciate our front-line workers’ sacrifice.

They parked the car at the side of the road and started walking down the street. Every few houses or so, they would go and leave a tin of cookies on the front doorstep.

The flakes of snow were coming down heavier now. Surprisingly, it was not very cold. The perfect weather for a winter stroll on Christmas Eve. The world around them was dreamy and quiet.

All aside from a few, the houses were draped in shining, festively coloured décor. Strings of glowing lights lined the tops of roofs and ran down the sides of fences, glowing brightly in the darkness of the evening. A smile spread across Tawny’s face as she spotted the wire deer decorations that adorned a snow-covered lawn.

Deer always reminded her of Christmas. When she was young, she believed that any deer she saw in December were really Santa’s reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and so on). She thought they were keeping an eye out for who was naughty and nice, and later that night they would report back to Santa.

They neared the end of the road with one cookie tin to go. As Tawny approached the last house, an elderly woman appeared in the doorway.

“Can I help you?” she asked in a soft voice.

Tawny replied, “No thank you, but we thought we’d like to share a little Christmas spirit with you.”

Tawny set down the tin on the top step and moved away from the porch.

“My, what a kind gesture.” said the woman.

“My sons couldn’t visit me this year. I was feeling so alone. I had just gotten up to brew a pot of tea and saw you coming up the walk.”

The woman turned back into her house. “Wait just a moment, Dear. I have a little something for you.”

When she returned, she placed a little velvet pouch on the step. Tawny picked it up and opened the top. A red, glass ornament of a heart lay inside.

Even though Christmas was going to be different this year, so much was still the same. There was joy, giving, and togetherness — the Spirit of Christmas.

Journey Carlson-Campbell, 13, was selected as the winner of the Spirit of Christmas writing contest in the 13 and over category.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ChristmasWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert Dale Stanton of Clinton was last heard from on Jan. 9, and police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo credit: RCMP)
Police ask for help in locating missing Clinton man

Robert Dale Stanton was last heard from on Jan. 9 and is believed to be in the Clinton/70 Mile area

Williams Lake is beginning to freeze over and with temperatures expected to remain below zero beginning Tuesday evening the ice may get thick enough for residents to recreate. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake could freeze enough for outdoor recreation activities

Overnight lows anticipated to dip below -13C beginning Wednesday

From the peak of Mica Mountain in the scenic Cariboo Mountain Range, which has a view of the distant mountains in the Clearwater area, including Raft and Trophy mountains.
Teen snowmobiler says South Cariboo SAR ‘real heroes’

Youth built a snow cave after getting separated from his friends, family

Laura Ball (from left), Simone Groundwater and Steve Carpenter curling during the final bonspiel of the 2020 season, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With uncertainty regarding what the future holds surrounding gatherings and organized sporting events, the Williams Lake Curling Club has made the decision to cancel the rest of its 2020/21 season. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Curling Club ends season amid pandemic uncertainty

WLCC will now look to the resumption of curling in the fall

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

Most Read