Discussion Forums - Christmas(holiday) Memories

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Subject: Favorite Christmas Memory
Date Posted: 12/5/2008 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2007
Posts: 1
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My most memorable Christmas was in the late '50's. I was 7, and of course beginning to doubt; I was in school. My little sister 5. We lived in in a small home my father and uncles had built. My father worked hard and long, I had a stay at home Mom. Looking back, I guess we were in poverty, however, I didn't feel it. I was secure, loved and had what I needed. Christmas Eve my Mother read us "The Night Before Christmas", tucked us in and had to keep telling us to go to sleep so Santa could come. ...my little sister of course dutifully went to sleep. I tried, I really tried, I heard a loud noise and people talking, I couldn't stop myself; I bolted from my bed; I was stopped by my beautiful regal Mom; then my Dad comes in through the front door. My parents then put on such a show of describing Santa's sleigh, reindeer, elf's and the bag of gifts higher than our trees that all doubts totally disappeared. ...on and on they went talking about it was just so wonderful speaking with Santa; and how he remembered them from their childhoods. They said it was so magical and joyful; it seemed they spoke for hours and it had only been 'a twinkling of an eye'. so I went to bed, I don't remember what I got; I remember that magical feeling. My parents faces as they wound their tale. I've always tried to bring that magic to my children and grandchildren. I don't feel I have succeeded. Now my parents have gone on, that is the Christmas I cherish always.  Sherrie

Subject: The things that last
Date Posted: 12/5/2008 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1
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When I was a teen, I longed for store-bought clothes. We sewed all of our own clothing and remade hand-me-down clothes. Each Christmas we made out wish lists, and of course I listed the latest fashions. My dad never paid the slightest attention to my list. One year I got a pushbroom, one year an axe, one year a length of tow-rope, one year a shovel. Not exciting gifts. However, some 40 years later, I still have every one of those gifts, and they've been used many times. My dad died 7 years ago, and every time I use something he gave me, I miss him. He was thinking ahead, of what would be useful for the rest of my life.
Subject: Lean Christmas
Date Posted: 12/5/2008 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 1
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The leanest, but happiest Christmas I have ever had was 1979.  My father had a heart attack in July of that year and was disabled, but there was a six-month wait for his benefits.  In October of that year, my daughter was born and I became a single mother.  Although, I was working at the time, it was very difficult making ends meet - and then came Christmas.  There was just no money.  I was working in a hospital at the time and in the gift shop was a doll with may daughter's name embroidered on the front of the dress.  I fell in love with it, but it cost $12.  I saved $1 every week for twelve until I had enough money to buy that doll for my little girl even though she was only 2 months old - I bought it on Christmas eve and I still have it to this day.

We lived in Maine, where they practically gave Christmas trees away, but we couldn't afford a tree so we strung three strings of lights around a yucca plant that I had that had grown quite tall.  We laughed and laughed because everyone who visited that year thought our tree was so pretty.  There were so many lights, no one could tell it wasn't a real tree. 

My mother, father, baby, and I all had to pull together that year and what a blessing it was.  It was a happy time for me, I will never forget the closeness we shared.

Jeanne N. 

 

 

Date Posted: 12/6/2008 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2006
Posts: 2,239
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Being raised with only one parent, I remember many Christmas' where there wasnt much. On Christmas Eve when I went to sleep my Grandparents made a special trip and put extra presents from Santa under out tree. Mom always made sure there was stuff for me. As well as them. Growing up my Great Grandma always took me into the store and said pick out what you want. We have to tell Santa what is. Great Grandma at Christmas always would have a few of those things that I had showed her under the tree at the family gatherings. The same went for the other to Grandchildren. My Great Grandma used to make Fruit Cake with a Butter Sauce. And the whole family loved being near her. She would tell stories of my Great Grandpa that died a couple days after my Mother Graduated High School. I feel like I know my Great Grandpa from all the stories she told us growing up. We lost Great Grandma Dec 31 1994. The memory of Great Grandma still lives on at our family gatherings. My Grandma her Daughter has taken over the Fruit Cake and the cookies, and Christmas Dinners. We miss Great Grandma and I think about her constantly.

Looking over at the futon I notice this doll still sitting there.  I got it when I was 2-1/2 from Great Grandma. She's ragged yeah but she's still from Great Grandma and she'll be a great memory... I have many memories with my other Grandparents also... But Great Grandma has been on my mind today. As I was Christmas shopping.

 

Mom has always made sure that I had a good Christmas. This year is alittle diffrent cause she didnt have the money to get it. Since August I have been giving her money to go and buy Christmas Gifts. She's Mom what can I say?

Subject: Gi Story
Date Posted: 12/7/2008 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 1
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It had been a pretty hectic year in Vietnam the holiday season was coming up; this just before the Tet offensive of 1968.

I was an Intelligence Officer with a covert unit on the Cambodian border. I worked with a Special Forces G2 Major who had become a very good friend. One day early in December he says, "Hey, Dave how would you like to be Jewish this year?" I replied, "Say. what?" Not being really religious, I was naturally curious to say the least.

Apparantly my fiend's synagogue was preparing holiday packages to be send from Israel of typical Channukah fare for jews serving in Vietnam. There was one stickler: you had to have a 'minion' or ten jews to qualify. We were in the Northern Highlands near Banmethuot and so jews were harder to find then hen's teath. So, I signed up with the Major with my two aides figuring, what the hey Jesus was really a very observant jew so we weren't stretching too far.  A few weeks later, voila - a little holiday miricle arrived.

The care package had Chicken part soup, Matza Ball Soup, Israeli chocolate, Matza crackers, tinned jams and 25 lbs of other delicacies. That coming the week before Christmas made for a really ecumenical feast and smiles all around; we were really really tired of canned C-rations, and creative dishes like Spaghetti with Catshup because we had no tomato sauce. So that is how 10 guys some Jewish some Christian in a tiny enclave in the middle of a War shared a holiday and gave thanks.

Kinda made me think that the Solstice, Channukah and Christmas were all celebrating the same thing - that special feeling of family.

Email ID: MU55THFJdTVYbk09

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2005
Posts: 642
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I am a teacher, so we accrue sick leave - however when my daughter was born, I didn't have enough saved for all of the days I had to be out of school both before and after the birth.  The "lean" paycheck ocurred in December, the same month my husband switched to a much better job, but one in which he would have to wait 4 weeks to receive his first pay check.  I was so depressed that we would not have a tree and ornaments - we had moved recently, and my ornaments were broken - for our first Christmas as a family.  -  I tried not to let it show to my husband, but  did share with my neighbor.  Two nights later, she brought us our Christmas present - a small, just the right size tree, with lights and ornaments!  To me, that was one of my most memorable Christmas's - and showed what a true friend is.  That was 26 years ago, and I still smile when I think about it.



Last Edited on: 12/7/08 9:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/9/2008 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 1,156
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The Christmas my little brother (who now stands 6'4"!) was abouit 3 or 4, (making me about 10 or 11) the plan was that Santa would come during his nap.  I'm not sure why that was decided, we probably were going to go to relatives' houses for Christmas day that year.  Anyway, he was tucked in for his nap and my parents and I put the presents under the tree.  And waited.  And waited.  And my brother snoozed on.  Finally I could take it no longer and said, "I'll go see if he's awake yet."  I went upstairs into our room and gave my blissfully sleeping brother quite a pinch!  Oh, look, he's awake now!  What I remember most is his face when he came down the stairs all sleepy and the transformation in his expression to WOW!

Subject: Christmas Memories
Date Posted: 12/10/2008 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 12
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I was raised old school. I was an only adopted child and always enjoyed a live cut cedar tree for Christmas. That was until 1969 when I spent my frist Christmas away from home in Viet Nam. Christmas then was an artificial tree with a blow-up Santa Claus standing beside it. The only good memory I have of that year is the mess hall that my company had. It could have been rated 5 stars in most places! The food was great, as close to home cooked as you could wish for, except when they served sliced water buffloe! All this is to say, PLEASE thank our veterans and support them in whatever way you can. I was drafted; these folks signed on to do the job that is given to them. Pray that they won't be lonely this season and that they will be protected. Happy Holidays to all!

Date Posted: 12/11/2008 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Thanks for the reminder Jim!  I spent some lonely Christmas's during those Vietnam years too.  My husband was gone on a ship most of them.  But - I always had the knowledge that what he was doing was important and that helped me.   Thank YOU Jim - for having served our country.

Subject: Best Christmas!
Date Posted: 12/11/2008 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 1
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 It had been a hard year.Daddy had changed jobs and we had to move.I had overheard Dad telling Mom that money was tight and he didn't know how Christmas would turn out.Mom said as long as we had each other everything would be fine.But I was 10 years old and I wanted stuff!I worried for weeks after that.I was so scared that I wouldn't have any presents! Well Christmas finally came and I remember getting up before daylight and sneaking into the livingroom and looking for what Santa had left.Not a thing! Nothing! I couldn't help it, I just stood there in shock! I was so disappointed.I was still standing there when Daddy got up to put some wood in the stove.He walked up to me and put his big hands on my shoulder and said. I'm sorry son.I just didn't have the money this year.I knew you wanted a Big Wheel and next year I hope we will be able to get it for you.I looked up at him and saw how sad he was so I said it was ok . I didn't really need that stuff anyway. Thats when he looked at me and smiled and said, I was able to put together a little something for you outside though.I just shouted and ran out the door.I didn't see anything at first and Dad said to look out back.Thats when I saw it.It was a huge pile of sandy dirt  and next to it a huge pile of brightly colored pieces of wood.Daddy had went to the local lumber mill and begged a truck load of board ends from them, this is were they cut the boards to certain lengths and the ends are left over in a pile. He took them to his work and painted them every color of the rainbow and then he went to the river and dug up several truck loads of sand and mixed it with a couple of loads of dirt.So that morning I had a mountain of Christmas in front of me.I tell you right now I lived in the backyard after that,I made roads and tunnels and towns.I would tear them down and make them again.No store bought toy could have come close to the enjoyment I recieved playing in that pile of dirt and wood blocks.Daddy had come through big time! I think of that Christmas alot now that Daddy has passed away.I always smile and hope that I can give my kids a Christmas Memory like that.I keep trying.Mabey it will be this year.     

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Wonderful memory Wade, thank you for sharing it.  Made my eyes water and made me grateful for parents who did their best in rough times.   

Subject: Favourite Chanukkah Memory
Date Posted: 12/12/2008 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,714
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It was my first year at college and I couldn't go home for the break because I had to work.  My boyfriend wasn't Jewish but came by each night to help me celebrate Chanukkah. I had explained to him the tradition of giving "small" gifts each night.

I had to wear pantihose to work everyday.  And they invariably ran.  So for every night of Chanukkah he gave me a package of Leggs hosiery.  With my budget, those were high end pantihose! 

I no longer remember what I gave him each night but I still remember unwrapping 8 packages of pantihose!

 

Date Posted: 12/16/2008 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2006
Posts: 441
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Oh by far the most memorable was when I was 10.

1983 -- Christmas eve -- my family always celebrates on Christmas eve.  The turkey was in the oven baking, and other things were simmering.

There was a blizzard outside, and we lost power -- and heat.  It didn't come back on, and Dad worked 911 (well, that was his job, but it wasn't called 911 then.)  He had to work at midnight, so he wanted to make sure Mom and I were warm.  So after sitting a few hours in the frigid house, we evacuated to may aunt and uncle's house.  All of us, Mom, Dad, me, and my guinea pig. :)

 

My aunt and uncle didn't have power, but they heated with wood, so we sat around and talked by candlelight (my aunt was into candles before they were trendy).

My dad and my uncle went with the local pharmacist to check on a number of elderly people in town to make sure they were okay and see if they needed anything. 

Dad did vol. fire fighting and vol. rescue for parts of five decades, and he had his pager with him (again, before pagers were popular) and there kept being reports of "Santa sightings" on it.

My aunt was to bring tossed salad to the dinner, and so that's what we had for dinner that year -- tossed salad.

 

Eating tossed salad, listening to Santa reports by candlelight, and being evacuated to my aunt and uncle's house was probably one of my most special Christmas memories.  We did have our family party on Christmas DAY, but I don't remember much about it, I just remember the Christmas eve from that year.

Date Posted: 12/16/2008 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,541
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My most favorite Christmas memory is actually two memories (I couldn't decide between them) 

Every Christmas while my step-dad was alive, my brother and I would get up early and check out our stockings.  Those were the only things we were allowed to touch until my step-dad came home.  He was a farm hand most of his life and when we got older, we actually had our own farm.  Well, farm chores don't wait for Santa, and we could only open our presents after morning milking and chores were done.  We then had a big Christmas breakfast, usually eggs, sausage or bacon, hashbrowns, toast and OJ.  Breakfast dishes all had to be washed and put away and everything cleaned before we could get to the presents.  As a young kid, I remember the wait being killer, but we had so much fun during the breakfast, that it made up for it.  Each child had a special job to do for the breakfast, I usually made the toast, mom did the potatoes, my brother set the table (he's younger than I am) and my step-dad did the eggs.  Everyone helped out with the sausage/bacon.  It was actually the only time of year that everyone sat down to breakfast together and we looked forward to it every year.  The presents afterwards were nice too, but I always remember the breakfast more.

My second most favorite Christmas memory is of the first Christmas in my own apartment.  I had been away at college for 4 years and moved into a newly renovated apartment in the same town where my parents lived.  I was used to moving and traveling and never had a moment of homesickness when I was at college, but when I got to the new apartment, I had a hard time sleeping there at night.  My mom always goes all out for Christmas as far as decorating, and I didn't even have a tree.  Well, my mom gave me the old artificial tree that had been in the family for more than 15 years by that point--we called it Charlie Brown because it reminded us of that tree.  She helped me buy lights, garland and cheap ornaments at our local Dollar General.  We then put some Christmas CDs in and decorated my Charlie Brown tree.  After the tree was up, I didn't have any problems staying in my apartment at night.  In fact, I left that tree up until after my birthday (which is in the first part of February ;) 

 

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2006
Posts: 4,386
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I don't have a specific Christmas memory as a favorite, however one of the top ones was getting my first bike at age 4 or 5. I was walking with my parents in K-Mart, and saw a white stuffed eopard. I picked him up and cuddled him in the store until Mom made me put him back. I begged and begged for the leopard but Mom said maybe Santa will bring it if I behave until Christmas. So I cried some but gave Leo up.  Well, Christmas morning comes and my stash of gifts is sitting right there with a brand new pink bike with training wheels, and a white basket is right there! Then I see Leo sitting in my bike's basket. I grabbed him up and cimbed into my bike and remember being sooooo happy.

Lately though, I just remember the pure joy I felt every year sitting with my family each morning opening gifts. We laughed and talked and took pictures when we could afford film. It was always crazy and cluttered even as the years went by and my siblings started to move out. Then It was just my parents and I at home, and we slept in and had lazy Christmas mornings for a couple of years . Then Daddy died, and it is just Mom and me. This has a high probability of being my last Christmas in this house that I have lived in for twenty years. I will come back for visits and other Christmases, but it's just not going to be the same.

So, I will cherish every memory I have of the family memories over the last two decades.

 

Len S. (lens) - , - PaperBackSwap Team
Date Posted: 12/17/2008 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 801
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My favorite Christmas memory comes not from a certain holiday season, but from all the Christmases spent with my late father. You see, my Dad had basically three weaknesses: kids, chihuahuas and chocolate covered cherries. He kept his life full of the first two, but would patiently wait until the morning of December 25th each year to indulge his sweet tooth. Mom would ostensibly reward the best-behaved kid during the shopping rush with his or her name on the From: tag, but I think we all eventually realized she just took turns letting our names grace the treasure.

Dad would always open the chocolate covered cherries last, and all us kids would stare in wonderment at the ecstacy he would (probably) feign as he bit down into the first one. But it's what he would do next that created the memories that still shine brightly for me today. He would offer a piece to Mom (she never accepted) and then pass the box to us kids. Having seen how they affected our Dad, we'd chase the dragon until there was only one piece left, then slyly put it back next to his chair. Like he wasn't fully aware of our raiding his precious chocolate covered cherries...

That is the memory that taught me that it is indeed far more fulfilling (and, yes, less filling) to give than to receive. Miss you, Pop.

Len

Subject: .
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2009
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Subject: A Big Blue Wagon
Date Posted: 12/20/2014 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 1,059
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 I'm an Army Brat - once an Army Brat, always an Army Brat - now 60. We lived in Fort Knox Kentucky. (then) West Germany, back to Ft Knox, back to Germany, back to Ft Knox, brief time in Georgia (Moultrie), back to Ft Knox, back to Germany - and lastly E=town and Radcliffe Ky (just outside of Ft Knox) before I ran off and joined the Navy to see the world.  

I have lots of memories of Christmas throughout the years  but the one distinctive of all the rest was when I was perhaps 4 or 5 - not sure which. I had gotten kicked out of Kindergarten School so I think this may have been before I was 5 (yes, I was that kind of kid). 

Anyway, us kids were taken to see Santa Claus (might have been Kris Kringle), and one by one each of us got to spend time on Santa's lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas, and get our picture took with Santa - we went in order of our age with my littlest sister who was still just a baby being 'held' by Santa for pictures, then my next youngest sister who was just a year younger than me telling Santa whatever it was she wanted and getting her picture took with Santa. Next up was me and I sat in his lap and told him I wanted a Big Blue Wagon to pull around. I was so pleased! Then my older brother got up in Santa's lap and told him he wanted a Big Blue Bicycle and got his picture taken...We were all so happy to have seen and sat on Santa's lap and to tell him what it was we each had wanted.

But my brother asking for a Big Blue Bicycle was getting to me.

I was wishing I had asked for a Big Blue Bicycle as well, instead of a Big Blue Wagon.. Oh how I'd wished I had asked for a bicycle! Any color would do - I never said anything out loud to my brother or Mom or Dad...I was just furious with myself for not thinking so big as to have asked for a bicycle. I remember it oh so bad, praying to Santa in my mind - bring me a bicycle - don't bring me a wagon - Oh Santa bring me a bicycle! Over and Over and Over all the way up to Christmas eve.

 

On Christmas morning we all woke up and went into the living room - there under the tree (actually off to the side) was my Big Blue Wagon, and next to it was a Big Blue Bicycle - in the wagon was a big doll that my sister had asked for and under the tree was shoe boxes full of assorted fruit and nuts and hard candy for each of us kids. 

I was heart broken...

I was heart broken that Santa had not heard my 'prayers' - I put it off that perhaps he had been just too busy taking care of everyone else's request for presents that he didn't have time for prayer's just before Christmas. No one knew I was heart broken about getting that wagon instead of a Big Blue Bicycle. My sister thought it was great that her doll could 'ride' in it, so we played all day with my Big Blue Wagon and her doll. My parents never had a clue that my wishes had changed, and it's just as well. Over the next few days, and weeks, and months, and years - that Big Blue Wagon became it's own source of wondrous memories of pulling friends around, my brother towing me in the wagon while riding his bike. Of me and my Mom going to the commissary to get grocery's and carrying back the bags of food in my Big Blue Wagon. Of our family going to the movie house on base in Germany with us little ones being pulled along by my Dad in uniform to and from the movie house. 

A few years later my brother 'out grew' that Big Blue Bike of his and passed it down to me - so eventually I had both the Big Blue Wagon and the Big Blue Bicycle and wore the both of them out - well wore myself out trying to wear them out - they held up pretty good - I got busted up quite a few times pushing things to the limit (kinda like Calvin and Hobbes). The bike didn't hold up to my punishing use but the wagon did.

In later years I remember us living in Georgia while my Dad was away in (South) Korea - and using the now faded and rusty Big Blue Wagon for hauling coke bottles to the corner store to turn them in for the 2 cent each deposit and buying ice-cold bottle cokes and Nabs, and nickel candy bars and moon pies on hot humid Georgia days with the money. That Big Blue Wagon and I were made for each other. I don;t really remember what happened to my wagon - I think my parents left it behind in Georgia when my Dad came back from Korea and we moved back to Fort Knox Kentucky - that would have been the mid 60's - 5th grade.

Mom and Dad have moved on and I never got to tell them this story, but every-every-every Christmas time I remember those times, and those days, and especially that Big Blue Wagon and the hidden joys it gave me.     

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I always thought I had bad years and good years, but after reading all the stories above (and some elsewhere) I've come to realize that all my years have really all been good years, and that I've never had a bad year of living. Thank you Mom and Dad for having me, and keeping me (and us kids) all those years. 

 

Danny N (Alameda) - Havelock NC 

(an Army Brat)

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 12/20/14 7:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
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