Tara Crawford of Chester won $500 in local gift certificates from Coldwell Banker Kehr/O’Brien for her submission to their “Share Your Favorite Christmas Story” contest.
Owner Tim O’Brien said the idea to run the contest came from his real estate agents and employees who wanted an engaging way to give to the local community at Christmas, and decided to reward a local contest winner with gifts from local stores.
“Sharing stories with friends is the way we connect,” noted O’Brien, “and our agents thought it would be a great way to connect with our community.”
When the agents picked Crawford’s story as their favorite, she was able to choose from any number of stores, services or restaurants in the Lake Almanor Basin to use her gift certificates.
She chose to receive gift certificates from The Coffee Station, Tattered Rose, Lassen Gifts, Intermountain Hardware, Holiday Market and the Dollar Store.
Crawford’s submission about her favorite Lake Almanor Christmas is as follows:
“For as long as I can remember Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I grew up in the Bay Area with lots of people and city lights. We didn’t have much.
“My mom and dad had split when I was 3 and my mom raised us. We saw dad on the weekends, but he didn’t provide much and my Mom didn’t ask for much. She did the best that she could without him.
“Christmas for us was always small and simple. Maybe we would receive a bike if we were lucky, but mostly a few small toys. They seemed perfect for me, but my mom was always sad.
“One year I remember that my mom called my dad for some help with gifts and he said, “sure” he would help. But when Christmas neared, he called my mom and said that he had been robbed and didn’t have anything to give us.
“I remember that year we got a doll and an outfit and something in our stockings. It was that year that I decided that when I was old enough I was going to try to help kids that were in need at Christmas time.
“It was many years later, but I finally got the opportunity to do just that. I moved back to Lake Almanor in 2010. That year my Mom was helping with the Toys for Tots drive for Chester and the Lake Almanor Basin. When she asked my husband and I to help we were thrilled.
“She put us in charge of making the giant boxes to put in the stores and collecting the gifts as the boxes got full. At the end of the toy drive I cried. We had transported somewhere between three and four carloads full of toys.
“I found myself reflecting on the time that we were in need and the people who had helped us. I remembered my young soul wishing that I could help others in need.
“Now, here I was gathering and wrapping these gifts for similar children with joy and happiness in my heart. I had gotten my wish. These toys were not just for the kids, they were for the mothers too, mothers like my mom, or families with parents that had lost their jobs.
“Whatever the unfortunate circumstance, I was doing what I had dreamed. It was the best Christmas ever!”