Better to give
A Tulsa couple makes the holidays brighter for 64 boys at the Tulsa Boys’ Home.
Chris and Becky Lincoln with a stocking made by Becky’s mother, Doris Smith, of Joplin. The Lincolns fill the stockings with toys and candy each holiday season for the Tulsa Boys’ Home.
Stockings weren’t on their minds when Chris and Becky Lincoln first bought gifts for the 64 boys at the Tulsa Boys’ Home. They started simply filling gift sacks with candy.
Chris, a local TV figure with a long history as an American sportscaster, is the sports director for KTUL Channel 8. He and Becky stay actively involved in local causes such as the boys’ home.
Their generosity became a family affair when Becky’s mother, Doris Smith, began to make stockings to hold the boys’ gifts.
For the past seven years, the heartwarming event that evolved out of the Lincolns’ giving has become a highlight of the year for all involved.
“The fact that someone goes out of their way to hand-make these huge Christmas stockings that are oftentimes the first (one) that many of our boys have ever had is really beyond words,” says Gregg Conway, TBH executive director. “This is a huge gift.”
How did you become involved with the Tulsa Boys’ Home?
Chris: I was introduced to TBH when I was at Winnercomm, my old company here in town, and they had asked me for help (raising) money to start a therapeutic equine program. I joined the board in 2006.
When did the idea of “playing Santa” come about and how did it unfold?
Becky: Seven years ago ... my mother and I were at Garden Ridge and I said, “It would be fun to put their things in a stocking.” Then she said, “Becky, I could make these. Look at this big one here.” We bought one as a pattern and took it home. (The stockings) are 3 feet tall, at least. Then it became more about things than about candy.
C: It got so big (referring to the annual event) we finally opened it up to the rest of the board to see if they wanted to contribute ... and they responded incredibly. Some gave $50 Walmart gift cards, watches, stocking caps, gloves, flashlights. The challenge is trying to find 64 of the same item.
When do you start preparing each year?
B: Usually (in the) fall time, I start shopping. My mom starts making the stockings in mid-October (and they’re) done by Thanksgiving and shipped from Joplin. That’s her gift.
Do you get to see the boys’ reactions?
C: They bring the boys in, one lodge at a time, and the board members help hand them out and give them a hug.
B: I overheard one boy say to another as he was going through his stocking, “I never got anything this ... nice in my own house.”
Do you have a favorite story or reaction from a particular year?
C: The one little boy the first year asking, “Is this what a stocking is? I’ve never had one.”
B: It was at that moment we (too) had Christmas. I think the whole thing behind it for us is, it’s not about the stuff. I’m hoping they’ll realize that somebody ... cares.