Heartwarming Christmas Stories for Adults

8 Short Heartwarming Christmas Stories for Adults [with Videos]

Are you searching for that one short Christmas story that will warm the hearts of your listeners? Here I’ve gathered eight such heartwarming Christmas stories that you can also tell.

Out of hundreds of Christmas stories online, I chose the ones below. They are short, heartwarming, and aimed at adults: no Dickens, no Little Match Girl, and no Rudolph.

Whenever possible, I have included YouTube videos of these stories. In addition, I have added tips for telling each story.

As a professional storyteller, I can quickly see which stories are suitable for telling and which aren’t. I hope you find one that you like and will tell!

8 Short Heartwarming Christmas Stories for Adults [with Videos]

💡 The links to books on this page are affiliate links to Amazon. Whenever you buy something after clicking on such a link, I get a little percentage. This costs you nothing but helps me make this website possible. Thanks!

💡 The links to books on this page are affiliate links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Whenever you buy something after clicking on such a link, I get a little percentage. This costs you nothing but helps me make this website possible. Thanks!

1. The Gift of the Magi

On Christmas Eve, a wife discovers she has only a few dollars to buy a present for her husband. So she sells her beautiful long hair and buys a gift: a pocket watch chain.

Her husband comes home, and she gives him her gift. Jim gives Della a set of combs and tells his wife that he sold his watch to buy the combs for her.

Both received gifts they could not use, but they felt deeply loved.

Tips for telling

  • You might want to change the gifts in the story to something more contemporary while keeping the idea the same.
  • The story’s climax is when Jim gives her the combs and tells her he paid for them with his watch. Please resist the urge to add some explanation when you tell this story to adults. Instead, pause so everybody gets it.

💡 This story is also included in my collection of short Christmas stories with morals.

2. Empty Hands

Caleb is one of the shepherds in the field who visits the newborn child. He is ashamed because he has no gift to give.

Mary is dealing with all the gifts she gets and is glad she can put the baby in someone’s arms. And so, Caleb came with empty hands, and they were filled.

Tips for telling

  • The priest in the video above tells the story quite well. Not too long, not too short. Keep it that way.
  • Like most heartwarming Christmas stories, this story does not need a sermon or explanation. Better to let the story work its magic.

3. The Gold Wrapping Paper

His little girl used all the expensive gold wrapping paper. And on Christmas Eve, he saw that she used it all to cover a big shoebox. What a waste!

However, she came to him on Christmas and gave him the shoebox. It was her gift to him. But, when he opened the shoebox, it was empty. What?!

He looked sternly at his child and told her there needed to be something inside. She said: “Daddy, I blew kisses into it until it was filled.”

Later the child dies in an accident, and he has the gold box to remember her and comfort him.

Tips for telling

  • This Christmas story appeals to parents who all at some time were irritated or angry with their child.
  • For me, the story ends when the girl tells him that the box is full of kisses, followed by a hug or another beautiful moment. I don’t buy the accident. It feels to me like an unbelievable, cheap addon to the story. You don’t need that.

4. The Elves and the Shoemaker

Christmas Story: The Elves and the ...
Christmas Story: The Elves and the Shoemaker

A poor cobbler struggles to make ends meet in the weeks before Christmas. Then, finally, he leaves his last materials in his workshop and goes home.

The next morning he finds a beautiful pair of shoes. This continues for days.

When he and his wife stay a night, they see that it’s the work of elves.

On Christmas day, they decide to offer their gifts back. Together they make suits and shoes for the little Elves, who happily receive the gifts and dance away. The cobbler and his wife live happily ever after.

Tips for telling

  • This story is straightforward but suited for a group of adults that like a comfortable story.
  • Take some time before telling this story to imagine the feelings of the shoemaker. This helps you in your telling to not pretend but to feel what is going on.

Read the full story: ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker.

💡 Check out more Christmas fairy tales and Winter fairy tales.

5. ‘Tis better to give

A girl 11 years old is anxiously looking forward to Christmas. She looks at the gifts under the tree and checks them all. Which one is for whom?

Her mother warns her they do not have much money to buy gifts. It will be less than any other year.

When they gather to unwrap the gifts, she suddenly receives a gift she has seen before. It had her mum’s name on it, but now it is her name.

Puzzled, she looks at her mum and unwraps the gift. It is a blow dryer, so lovely for her hair. She looks up at her mum, whose eyes are shining happily. “Mum….”

Tips for telling

  • I suggest you take the time for the scenes where the girl looks at all the presents and checks which one is for whom. She probably is a bit disappointed.
  • Aim to tell the story so that it speaks for itself. I hear many people underestimate their listeners. You don’t need to spell the message out for them.

Read the full story at Reader’s Digest.

6. Catch

It’s Christmas and father is also present. But, suffering from Alzheimer’s, you never know what he notices and what not.

Suddenly one of the grandchildren loses his little basketball, and it rolls towards his grandfather. He picks it up, starts to bounce it, and then starts to play. Then, to throw the ball around, his eyes sparkling like stars.

For one moment, on Christmas Eve, he was the father I wish I had known all my life.

Tips for telling

  • This is more an anecdote than a story. However, I have included it because it can speak to the heart of adults who have family members suffering from dementia.
  • Stories thrive on contrasts. When you tell it, start with painting a picture of this dad with Alzheimer’s. The contrast with the happiness in playing Catch will be more significant.
  • Keep it short, and give people time to contemplate this story. It’s an excellent story to open and bring forth other stories in your listeners that they can tell.

Read the full story at Reader’s Digest (scroll down to ‘Catch’).

7. One Man’s Persistence at Christmas

A package containing a Santa suit has been delivered to the wrong address. The UPS driver learns that this suit was meant for the father of a very sick boy.

He visits the house where the package was delivered daily, but nobody opens the door. Then, just in time, people arrive, and he gets the package to the correct address.

The boy is delighted, and that’s all the gift he needs.

Tips for telling

  • This story is a bit cheesy. Yet, delivering packages is a huge deal at the time of Christmas. When you tell it to adults, you might tell it as a true personal story.
  • Whatever you can say without words is often more powerful. Fewer words, more imagination in both teller and listener.

Read the full story at Guideposts.

8. The Christmas Truce

It’s World War 1 in Flanders.

On Christmas Eve, the Germans and the Englishmen in the trenches at the front line start singing, singing Christmas songs. Then, after a while, one by one, they leave their trenches.

They walk toward echt other, shake hands, and discover that they share the same Christmas feelings.

Sadly, the next day the fighting continues.

Tips for telling

  • This is a true historical story. You might want to check different sources to ensure you know all about it.
  • Think about what message you want to give to your listeners. I suggest stopping after they celebrated Christmas together and returned to their ditch.

More short heartwarming Christmas stories for adults

All stories on this page you can read or listen to for free.

But maybe you would like a book that you can hold in your hands while sitting next to the fire.

In that case, I’d like to suggest this collection.

It’s a collection of the most magical, moving, chilling, and surprising Christmas stories worldwide. Stories from the frozen Nordic woods to glittering Paris, a New York speakeasy to an English country house, bustling Lagos to midnight mass in Rio, and even into outer space.

Check reviews and price on Amazon

Are you thinking about telling the nativity story? I have collected several creative ways to tell the Christmas story to adults.

Photo credits: Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

💡 Once a month, I send out an email with new writings on storytelling and fairy tales.

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