History of the Christmas Stories

St. Paul writer Roger Barr wrote “The Last Christmas” in late 1996 as a one-off short story about a remarkable nativity scene and its impact on a father-son relationship.

The story was published in December 1997 in the Villager, the Twin Cities’ oldest and most respected community newspaper. In 1999, a sequel “The Orphans’ Christmas” was published by the Villager, inaugurating what has become an annual holiday tradition. With the publication of a 2019 story, there are now twenty-two stories in the Villager series.  The Bartholomew Christmas stories remain the only fiction the Villager has ever published in its nearly 70-year history.

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About the Author

Roger Barr


Roger Barr is the author of ten published books, 30 short stories and countless newspaper and magazine articles.  His most recent book The Christmas Promise: More Holidays Stories from Roger Barr, collects nine Christmas stories originally written and published from 2011-2019.  His collection Getting Ready for Christmas & Other Stories collects 13 stories written and published from 1997-2010. His novel The Treasure Hunt, based on the St. Paul Winter Carnival was published in 1992.   He is the author of seven non-fiction books, including books on the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and Malcolm X. His play “Decoration Day” was selected as a 2010 winner of the Lakeshore Player’s 10 Minute Play Festival. He was the winner of The Loft’s Spring Writing Contest in 2013 and received third place in the nationally advertised Hal Prize short story competition for “Lost and Found” in 2017 and for “Hail Mary” in 2018.  He recently completed the manuscript of a new novel Humbug:  The Untold Story of the Wizard of Oz.  He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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The Mission

Today, more and more Minnesotans are turning to food shelves for assistance. The number of people visiting a food shelf tripled in the period from 2000 to 2009, from 1 to 3 million people. In 2010 alone the number of people visiting food shelves grew by 28 percent, a trend that has continued. Today 13 % of Minnesota residents have food insecurities, many of them children.  Estimates indicate that 52 percent of individuals visiting a food shelf have jobs, but are unable to afford to buy groceries.

This year (2020), author Roger Barr is proud to partner with The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center for the sixth consecutive year to support the organization’s food shelf. In 2018, the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center Food Shelf, distributed 864,000 pounds—232 tons—of healthy and nutritious food to people in need.

Our Goal

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