Dear Santa, I Want to Sell My House for Christmas

Our New Home

Right now, I should be in Banff, Alberta on a sleigh ride with my daughter… dashing through the snow with the cold Alberta air filling our lungs. Instead, I flew home last minute to pack up my house in Charlotte, North Carolina and move to California. It was a dream come true. We put our house on the market less than a month ago and we had an offer on December, Friday 13th. Should that have been a sign? I didn’t think of it.

I canceled my long-awaited Alberta trip and jumped on the next plane to Charlotte. With a closing date in less than a month, we had a lot of work ahead of us, but it was exciting. We live each day and make it the best day of our lives. Living in California was like being on permanent vacation so moving back seems like an obvious choice.

I put everything we own for sale, contacted moving companies, U-Haul, and apartments in California. Although the official paperwork wasn’t being signed until December 20th, the potential buyer’s enthusiasm left little to be questioned. We were moving!

I arrived home on Saturday, planned everything with Darren, and started dreaming of California.

On Sunday, we received an email:

Dear Darren and Lesley,

Thank you so much for opening your home to our family today.  I know it was rather hectic!  We really needed them to see the dining room to voice their opinion on the size.  We loved your house so much that we were trying to make it work even though we later had reservations about the dining room.  We have family gatherings every Sunday with 17 of us! Everyone agreed that it is too small and it is not going to work after all.
You have done an exquisite job with your house and we are very sorry but feel it is best that we exercise our right to terminate during the due diligence period.  I’ve attached the termination agreement and would appreciate your signing and returning.
We wish you all the best and know that you will have a sale soon.  It is a beautiful home!
Best regards,
B

I was devastated. My heart sank and I actually thought I might cry. It was never that I was in a huge rush to move and I wanted Athena to spend Christmas in our Charlotte house, decorated with a beautiful tree and garland hung over the staircase like a house you’d see in a movie, but I was envisioning it. I could picture myself in California on the beach in the soft sand.

We’ve since wrapped our heads around the situation and feel grateful for all that we have, including a house. We have an amazing life filled with health and happiness. We’re surrounded by neighbors that have come together like family and we don’t have major daily stresses like finances or marital issues. I was “devastated” about not selling my house for Christmas, while millions go without a place to live.

I’ve decided to still pack up things that we don’t really need around the house and rid myself of any unneeded clutter, but instead of selling it, I’d like to give it to local families in need. We have toys, furniture, and clothes that could all use a good home for the holidays.

Do you know of a great charity in Charlotte area? I’d love to read your suggestions of places that take donations for families in need during the holidays.

Happy holidays; I hope you are living the life of your dreams and bringing that joy to others.

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52 thoughts on “Dear Santa, I Want to Sell My House for Christmas

  1. When helping my parents declutter their house, we have brought a lot of stuff to the Salvation Army Thrift Shops. They are so happy to have the donation. Plans really do have a way of falling down mid flight. I hope you do sell your house soon. hugs

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  2. I would contact homeless and DV shelters to see what they need. Often at this time of year, it tends to be coats, blankets, food. Pet supplies and food are also needed. Small appliances can also go a long way. I know when my mom left my dad, our small apartment ended up being furnished with mostly donations from the shelter and from friends- chairs, a microwave, an old TV.

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  3. We have a local women’s shelter that is always looking for everything. Women come to the shelter with their kids with what they have on (usually pyjamas). When they get back on their feet they need clothes, furniture, appliances etc. The things that are not used by the women’s shelter are sold in a little store called “Second Chance” run by volunteers and all monies go towards the shelter and helping the women who need it. There must be something similar there as unfortunately women’s shelters are needed everywhere.

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    • We did. A traveling heart is never completely settled somewhere I guess, but the place that felt most like a dream world was California. We left because we wanted a community for our daughter but we realized we can create that anywhere in the world as long as we maintain good family values and connections. What we can’t do, is bring the ocean to Charlotte and we miss it too much to stay.

      We don’t believe in settling and we would be if we stayed in a colder climate without daily access to the ocean.

      🙂

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  4. I’m not in Charlotte, but I take my unneeded items to a thrift store that supports the local Humane Society. I also use Freecycle alot, which is fun to connect with people and see the things go to a good home.
    As a side note, it feels really great to get rid of things I don’t need. I feel so much lighter and freer. Ironically, it’s amazing how little I really need to enjoy life.
    Good luck with the house, everything works out for the best:)

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  5. I’d also recommend giving to a women’s shelter! I had to stay in a few shelters with my daughters some years back and really appreciated the donated items we used to rebuild our lives. They are usually underfunded like most charities.

    Where are you wanting to move back to in California?

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      • Yes, and roots prevent all that. It’s a great way to be. I’m a deep-rooting type, familiarity becoming beloved. I do love to travel, though and see new places. I think I could live anywhere and be happy. CA is certainly a great choice. Charlotte is pretty, too. Not far from the coast of SC.

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  6. Wow! I know how that feels. I have a friend who stayed in a outdoor homeless camp in the Charlotte area before finding a shelter in Greensboro, NC which is helping him. The need for help is there in the Charlotte area. I hope someone can buy your house soon, it’s a nice house from the pictures you have posted on this blog.

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  7. Selling a house is the hardest, most stressful job I have ever done. Close calls almost killed me. Better luck with next client(s). 😀
    In Ontario, we have charities who have stores: Salvation Army and Value Village. When I last moved, I took car loads and car loads of stuff to them. You can always try churches and schools. Let us know how you make out.

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  8. As exciting as it all might have seemed… I’ve learned that sometimes slowing down; taking mindful, deep breaths, and going forward not in a rush… leads to a much more solid landing. As a fellow Carpe girl, I’ve really been accepting that Carpe doesn’t always mean: this very second. Happy holidays friend. Enjoy it in Charlotte; next year in California… where it’s much more likely we can meet in person. Add that to your Bucket List. 😉

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  9. Wow. You know back here in the Philippines people don’t really have the chance to own a house much more donate descent household items (there maybe some I suppose). it’s a very noble cause. I must say you can start from finding one within your family. A distant realtive or a distant freind maybe in need then if none then maybe find foundation in need. Here, I have been wanting to give something to the project of the local Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco which is a shelter for elderly sisters.
    Yes. Like you we have a beautiful house too and living a beautiful life. .
    Life is good…I wish you find one who truly deserve it. ..merry Christmas. .

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  10. Leslie, I hope that it all works our for you. You have a beautiful home and I know that it will sell fast. I enjoy reading your blog and wish I had more of an adventurous spirit. Follow your heart.

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  11. So you are saying no pictures from Alberta, then? 🙂 You had me thinking about sleigh rides. I am going to have to take one some day. Good luck with selling your house. I think it is a good idea to de-clutter and donate. When I have things to give away, I take them to Goodwill.

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  12. I am a firm believer that everything is a blessing in disguise. And because you are such a positive individual, things will turn out for the best. Make it a memorable Christmas in Charlotte this year, and the next year, you’ll be where you want to be 🙂

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  13. Lesley I was thinking I might see you around a snowbank at any moment.
    I applaud your ability to see the positive, refocus and embrace your family, wherever you are this Christmas. As so many of your readers I will be cheering and sending positive energy your way. Alberta will be waiting for you when the time is right. It sounds like you have some great suggestions for donations which I would agree with. Often women’s shelters will take most anything in helping restart shattered lives.
    Happiest of holidays to all three of you.

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  14. There are so many worthy causes Lesley. Try your local YWCA – Y not M – since they often have a woman’s shelter for domestic violence victims. Also Goodwill. Check out http://www.freecycle.com for those items that you want to recycle for someone else to use. Lots of options listed here.
    May you enjoy your holidays and concentrate on what brings you and your family joy and peace. Blessings!

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  15. Congratulations. I am not sure where in California you are going to live. I lived in Los Angeles for a lot of years befor deciding it was all to much but go and do what I did. I LOVED the weather and ignore th attitude and enjoy it for what is offers you and your family.

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  16. There’s that saying, that whatever you’re going through, there is someone who has it worse… but that doesn’t mean that your devastation doesn’t matter! I understand how horrible that must have been, it happened to us too many times trying to sell our house.

    I think your reaction is so admirable, donating to those in need. Have a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy California when you get there 🙂

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  17. I love your positive attitude about the situation…and it is indeed a beautiful home. A friend of mine always belief that when one door closes another one opens. Maybe there is a bigger blessing heading your way…perhaps a family who is really in need of this wonderful house will come to you and buy. Just meditate on this for a while and follow whatever inspires you – as this always leads to the right choices and solutions.

    I agree with Kerrieanns, your actions are so admirable and there should be more people like you on this planet.

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  18. I’m sure when it happens, it will be more suited to your family. I think freeing yourself up of things no longer needed is a great idea and and offering those to others, so they can enjoy them is a gift. It feels good to give with no thought of anything in return. Onwards and Upwards I say! 🙂

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  19. hmm, I’m sure that was a real set back from you. Everything happens for a reason. However, as an albertan I’ve got to tell you it is cold cold cold up here. We have had so much snow! I hope that you still consider coming since the mountains this time of year is the best. Good luck selling your home, it is lovely and if I was a US citizen I would snatch that quaint little place up in a heartbeat.

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  20. Lesley – I can feel your emotional distress and that is so common when selling the house. I was surprised that they canceled the agreement because of the size of the dining room. Your house looks like a dream home for many people including us. I know, in time, you will find a buyer.

    We would suggest checking with local churches as they are a great resources to find the right people in need. Thank for being generous.

    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Donny and Stacie

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  21. First let me say, I am very sorry this happened to you, I can only imagine your disappointment. I sincerely hope things work out for you and you are soon on your way to Cali. (I lived in the LA area for 8 years.)

    Were you able to find a place to donate your furnishings? It is very generous of you to want to donate to help others. You received a lot of great suggestions. In 2008, I founded a small nonprofit in PA, Deserving Decor, that cleans, furnishes and decorates transitional housing for homeless mothers, many of the families come from temporary DV shelters. We use donations, from people like yourself, to provide our services. So donations like yours are deeply appreciated and very needed.

    However, a common problem with us and nonprofits that provide the housing we serve is picking up the donations (I use my F250 pickup truck), storing the donations until needed (funding for storage) and then delivering the donations when and where they are needed (man or woman power). We are an all women, all volunteer nonprofit and it is very difficult for us to move heavy furniture.

    I tell you this not to be discouraging, but to educate you and your readers about the reality of donating to small local nonprofits. It can be challenging for local nonprofits to accept donations like yours, but so worth the effort if it can be worked out and your items go directly to someone in your area who really needs them. Good luck!

    Beth

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  22. Selling a house is the worst. The best thing is that the process is soon forgotten. Sell that place a fast as possible and move on. We’ve never had any luck – we always sell at a loss regardless of the market – maybe you’ll do better but if not, oh well. Best of luck.

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  23. We packed up stuff and gave it to local charities, family and well in the end we just hired someone to take the rest away and donate it. Your Home is beautiful! I am sure the right people will come along and proclaim it their own. Best wishes and Merry Christmas.

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  24. Sorry the sale didn’t go through and you missed your vacation. When we sold our house I put an ad on kijiji that listed all the things we were giving away (a lot of older furniture) and said “come and get it”. Our bed went to a couple that had been sleeping on the floor and they were so grateful I almost cried.

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  25. Oh my..I am sorry to hear about the sell falling through for you. Your home is meant for someone else at the right time. You have some wonderful suggestions for donating items and cleaning out to help others. What a wonderful focus, during the season of giving and loving. It is putting feet to your desires. To be sure, you will be well rewarded with just the right buyer for your home and the new one in California. Wishing you and yours the Merriest Christmas ever! Queen Of Hearts

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  26. My, I can feel your disapointment! But I have to say, I love the way you look at the world and make lemon juice if life gives you sour lemons 🙂

    I wish you a happy Christmas with the family gathered around a beautiful Christmas tree!

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  27. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but I must say that (from the outside at least) your house looks gorgeous!!! My husband and I are planning (and by planning I mean we’re going to do it if it kills us, haha) to buy a house this year and I anticipate a lot of ridiculousness. I never imagined how frustrating it can be for those on the other side of that deal, trying to sell!

    Happy holidays!

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  28. I can relate to your California Dreamin’. I’m from Northern California and lived in Southern California all of my adult life. The past 6 years we lived in Michigan and for three of those years I was begging to come back to CA, which we finally did. California is exactly as great as all the hype, especially for someone with an adventurous spirit. It really IS like permanent vacation in So Cal. I’m in love. I hope to never move someplace cold again. Contact me if you come to L.A. and I’ll take you on some brilliant hikes.

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  29. What a bummer. I hate when I get my hopes up and then..dashed, I’m so sorry for your difficulties. I agree with the other posts, that a church would know who in the community would need such a lovely home. Or perhaps, in Athena’s name you could offer a contest for someone to write, podcast, or video you reasons why they would be good stewards of your beloved home.
    Good luck and I can’t wait to see where you land in sunny California.

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