The Simplest of Gifts: Stories

Thanks for all of your stories so far! We’ll be posting them all week long.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

There is a story I once heard about an innkeeper whose inn is full on a very stormy night. A knock comes on the door. A shivering couple is outside asking for shelter.

“I am full up,” he says, “but you can come in and find some room here.”

A little while later three people show up looking for shelter. “I am full up,” he says again, “but come in. You are welcome to find some room here.”

This happens again and again that night, and every time he says the same thing and every time more room is mysteriously found. Strangely, dozens and dozens show up that night, and every time the innkeeper welcomes them in with the same words…

He shouldn’t have any more room, he says he’s full up, but everyone finds room and the inn is quiet. The boundaries of his inn stretch mysteriously to match the generosity of his spirit. In the morning, the storm breaks and everyone moves on, thanking the innkeeper as they go. Impossibly, he has given shelter to hundreds of people.

I love this story. It is one that is impossible and real at the same time. For me it conveys the spirit of giving that it easy to forget at this time of year.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Sure, this is huge shopping season (even in a recession) and it’s hard to avoid even modest desires for a new item or two to replace old ones, but with all the “gifting” it is too easy to forget the “giving.”

Today, I wanted to do something unusual and put out a call for stories of giving. I’d like to collect a number of stories of personal giving and share them as a tonic and an inspiration over the next week. Please share a story that inspires you or actually give something this weekend or next week – anything – and tell us about it. Short, long, silly, sad, funny or simple – it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is your own story of giving. I’ll then share your gift with our community.

There’s plenty of room at our inn.

Thanks in advance,


maxwell @ apartmenttherapy . com (put “GIVING” in the subject)