Richard Paul Evans, the father of two young daughters, wanted to show them how much he loved them by writing a story called The Christmas Box. Originally, he only had 20 copies printed for family and friends. But within two years, his book reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, the first self-published book to do so.
The Christmas Box is a short story based on a young couple, Richard and Keri, who have a four year old child. A lonely widow hires them to care for her in her Victorian mansion. The widow soon discovers that Richard is more obsessed with success than with his wife and young child. She urges him to spend more time with his family but to no avail. Finally, when the widow is on the verge of dying, she shares the contents of a Christmas box with Richard. The box contains a series of letters written by a mother who loses her child and mourns at the base of an angel statue. That woman is the lonely widow. Now Richard finally understands how precious his child is. The widow also points out that just as she lost her child, God sacrificed his child, Jesus, who paid the price for our sins.
After sharing The Christmas Box with his family and friends, the author had more copies made, placing them in local bookstores. The story was so well received that it caught the attention of big publishers who vied for its publishing rights. The author signed with one of the well-known publishers. In 1995 it was published in hardcover and hit number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. And it all started with a father's love for his daughters.