The beautiful new book, All American Christmas by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy, shares an array of holiday traditions, emotional stories and cherished moments connected to the Christmas season, all from Fox personalities.
There are plenty of surprises within this book’s pages, too.
Charles Payne, host of “Making Money with Charles Payne” on Fox Business Network and a contributor to Fox News Channel as well, says his Christmas memories are “wrapped up in thoughts of my beloved mother.”
She was, as he says in the book, “the greatest gift I ever received in my life.”
Sadly, Payne’s mother, Ruth, passed away four years ago. But she raised Charles and his two brothers, Clarence and Cecil, with dignity and courage, including during some very tough times in Harlem in the 1970s after his parents separated and divorced.
From left, Clarence, mom Ruth holding Cecil, and Charles Payne. This photo and many others from an array of Fox News personalities appear with stories and memories in the book ‘All American Christmas.’ (courtesy Charles Payne)
Today, Charles Payne explains that his happy Christmases are “due to the kind of care and devotion” that his mom and his family showered on him and his siblings, no matter how trying their circumstances.
In this excerpt from All American Christmas, Payne writes about the importance of “another kind of giving and receiving” — the kind that makes this Christmas season “so important and wonderful.”
Read this memorable story from ‘All American Christmas’
Charles Payne in All American Christmas: I’ve been fortunate in my career and in my personal life. I’m blessed with great kids and grandchildren, but my wife received one of the greatest gifts possible. She has had a very serious heart condition since she was a teenager. Doctors had tried numerous treatments, she’d undergone multiple procedures, and she was finally at a point when nothing was working as they hoped. It seemed as if her death was imminent.
I was filling in for Stuart Varney on Fox, and during a commercial break, I noticed that I had received an email from a close friend. He was living in California then, and his daughter had died. I was stunned and saddened. He was reaching out because he wanted my wife to receive his daughter’s heart.
I wasn’t sure how to respond to his kindness. I forwarded his message to my wife and finished the show. There were a lot of obstacles to overcome.
“She’d been approved for the heart transplant,” Charles Payne writes about his wife, describing a dramatic period in his family’s life and much more. (File)
Normally hearts can’t be transported more than four hours; that and other things made the possibility of a transplant seem like a real, real long shot if not a hopeless case. (I was forgetting my mom’s example — she always believed that things would work out.)
A day later, my wife called, excited and crying. She’d been approved for the heart transplant; if we could get out to Los Angeles, she’d receive it.
I went to the daughter’s funeral while there. It was devastating. She was only twenty-one years old, but she had the forethought at that age to sign up as an organ donor. She was thinking of others and not just herself. That young woman gave us back my wife, my kids’ mom, their kids’ grandmother.
‘You have no idea what we’ve been given’
I don’t know how to describe how grateful we are. That word feels inadequate, and it seemed like there was no way to say anything or do anything to thank my friend’s family.
But, of course, there was. There is always something you can do, and in this case, it took the form of paying it forward. What better way to honor their daughter than to give in a new way?
For the past nine years since my wife’s recovery, we’ve gone to various stores at different times in the LA and New York/New Jersey areas, found the layaway department, and asked people if we could help them out by paying off what they owed on purchases they were in the process of making.
We supplement that with other items they need. We give them some additional cash to help them.
The first time we did that, when we were in Los Angeles, I was so overcome with emotion when I saw their response to us, how grateful they were. I kept thinking, “You have no idea what we’ve been given, all the blessings we’ve received.”
“We’ve had a soft spot in our hearts for anyone in need,” writes Payne in ‘All American Christmas’ as he shares a story of reaching out to others in “tough circumstances.” (File)
I was also responding to my childhood memories. I remember my mom putting items on layaway. I knew it was stressful for her. It was a good service the stores were offering, but the closer you got to Christmas, the more you had to watch your pennies! It was a countdown to Christmas, and you wanted to be sure you could pay for the item so that you could present it as a gift and put it under the tree.
I’d say 99 percent of the recipients are single moms. We’ve had a soft spot in our hearts for anyone in need, but given my mom’s situation, there’s a special section of our hearts reserved for women like her who find themselves in tough circumstances.
“All American Christmas” by Rachel Campos-Duffy, along with her husband, Fox News contributor Sean Duffy, is available now.
Even before this, my family and I had tried to do what we could to lift up people in need. Convent Baptist Church in Harlem played a crucial role in my life after my mom and my brothers moved to that section of the city. I could have gone a different way in life without the influence of the ministering that was done there.
One year, my wife and I donated fifty backpacks (I got vetoed on the idea of donating briefcases!) and loaded them with books and supplies. One child who received one of those told people at the church that that gift changed his life.
He’d been led to believe that he didn’t matter to anyone outside his own family.
Such a simple gesture like that changed a life.
We all have a role we play in helping one another to get the most out of the time we have.
Excerpted from the new book All American Christmas by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy. To purchase your copy, click here.