Please share your Christmas stories

It’s Christmas morning as I write this and I hope you all are having a lovely Christmas.  Perhaps the way to celebrate in the Bookwormroom is to share Christmas stories.  I don’t have much to share myself, but I do have one and my wife has a better one, so I’ll share them both.

When I was about 6 years old, I was allowed to stay up to watch for Santa Claus.  I feel asleep, of course, and, eventually, my Dad picked me up to carry me off to bed.  When he did so, I woke up and caught a peek at the presents the adults had already placed under the tree.  This confused me terribly.  Not only had Santa been there and I’d missed him, but he apparently came when the adults were still up.  I think that was the beginning of my suspicions about Santa.

My wife’s story is really cute.  She was about 8 years old.  The night before Christmas, her Dad took her aside and whispered to her that he had a present for her Mom out in the car.  He asked her to sneek out and get it and sneek it back in.  Mom was in the kitchen, so my wife snuck out the dining room door and out to the car.  She got the gift and snuck back, not fully closing the door because she didn’t want to make any noise.  She  made her way quietly and successfully up stairs and hid the present under her bed.  The door blew open and her Mom asked who left it open but never realized what had happened.  The next morning, Dad whispered to my wife to wait while the presents were opened.  Finally, he nodded to her that it was time.  She went up stairs and got the present. When she came back down Mom had her back turned.  She held the present out in front of her and exclaimed Merry Christmas, surprising and delighting her Mom.  My wife says she’s never forgotten the joy of sharing this secret surprise with her Dad.  You might guess (and you would be correct) that my wife had a nearly perfect childhood until the car accident that blinded her and took her parents when she was 15.  I suspect it’s that foundation that allowed her to turn out to be the extraordinarily wonderful person she is today.

I’m sure most of us have stories.  Please share with us all your favorite Christmas (or other holiday, if you do not celebrate Christmas) story.  I look forward to hearing them and thanks in advance.

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Comments

  1. says

    Some few Christmases ago, when my daughter, known as Lance Corporal Blondie was still on active duty and stationed at Camp Pendleton, and my personal economics allowed me to fly out to California to spend the holiday at Mom and Dads’ house, my daughter and youngest brother conceived a grand scheme to give them a large color TV for Christmas. … the rest of the story is here.
    And then there was the one where I had promised to bring home a live Christmas tree… which quest found me halfway up a muddy mountain on a Sunday afternoon, leading a wailing toddler with one hand and a tree saw in the other…
    Merry Christmas from
    Sgt Mom

  2. Jose says

    Dad related a memorable Christmas the other night.  He was stationed at RAF Addlebridge in Norfolk in December of 1944.  He and his crewmates were living in a quonset hut, with a concrete floor, and bare metal over head; not the most comfortable of circumstances.  They were unable to fly due to very bad weather, which was hampering all Allied responses to the German surprise breakthrough in France.  That was known as the Battle of the Bulge.

    The word came down that there was a break in the weather, and so they flew on Christmas Eve day.  They also flew on Christmas, and kept flying until New Years day.  The forecast was that the weather would turn bad again on New Years, and so they were ordered to make a “maximum effort” to launch as many aircraft as possible that day.  RAF Addlebridge launched 58 B-24 bombers, and they had no losses on that mission.

    However, by the time they returned to England, RAF Addlebridge was clouded in, and they were diverted to land at another airfield.  Their temporary home was able to provide beds for them, but there were no blankets so they slept in their flight suits.  The second night they had blankets, and the next day the weather cleared enough to fly back to RAF Addlebridge.

  3. says

    My business has me traveling.  A lot.  Amazing number of small kindnesses in evidence everywhere if you only look.  Especially when traveling on the holidays.
    .
    I recently spent an afternoon and evening with a friend and the children at the central orphanage in Amritsar, played with them on their soccer pitch, shared their dinner, and distributed their favorite trinkets (they love marbles and balls – v. the typical rocks used in their games) and the chocolates we brought for each child.
    .  
    Children at times can be unspeakable cruel to each other, esp. when not disciplined by great expectations and love.  I’ve seen near-feral behavior by children in similar settings (in the U.S. and elsewhere) and was looking for it at the orphanage.  I saw none of it.   These children who have so little would share with those who had less.  And care for blind among them without asking.  Some credit religion and instruction.  I think it is the headmaster, teachers, group mothers, and peer culture expressed as expectation, example and (at times tough) love. 
    .
    If you can make the time (and everyone can make some time) adopt your own orphanage, old-folks-home, homeless shelter, children’s hospital, etc.  Money helps.  But investing you’re own time helps more.  
    .
    For a Christmas story, I nominate Wretchard’s grandmother as a stand-in for the world’s mothers and those blessed with the ability to express a mother’s love for us all:
    .
    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2010/12/23/all-the-streets-were-dark-and-bare/

  4. SADIE says

    I don’t have a Christmas story, but will this do?
    JESUS AND THE DEMOCRAT

    A Republican, in a wheelchair, entered a restaurant one afternoon and asked the waitress for a cup of coffee. The Republican looked across the restaurant and asked, “Is that Jesus sitting over there?”
    The waitress nodded “yes,” so the Republican requested that she give Jesus a cup of coffee, on him.
    The next patron to come in was a Libertarian, with a hunched back. He shuffled over to a booth, painfully sat down, and asked the waitress for a cup of hot tea. He also glanced across the restaurant and asked, “Is that Jesus, over there?”
    The waitress nodded, so the Libertarian asked her to give Jesus a cup of hot tea, “My treat.”
    The third patron to come into the restaurant was a Democrat on crutches. He hobbled over to a booth, sat down and hollered, “Hey there honey! How’s about gettin’ me a cold mug of Miller Light?” He too looked across the restaurant and asked, “Isn’t that God’s boy over there?
    The waitress nodded, so the Democrat directed her to give Jesus a cold beer. “On my bill,” he said loudly.
    As Jesus got up to leave, he passed by the Republican, touched him and said, “For your kindness, you are healed.” The Republican felt the strength come back into his legs, got up, and danced a jig out the door.
    Jesus passed by the Libertarian, touched him and said, “For your kindness, you are healed.” The Libertarian felt his back straightening up and he raised his hands, praised the Lord, and did a series of back flips out the door.
    Then, Jesus walked towards the Democrat, just smiling.
    The Democrat jumped up and yelled, “Don’t touch me … I’m collecting disability!”

  5. Oldflyer says

    Not exactly a Christmas story, although it happened at Christmas time, and certainly has some elements of Christmas spirit.

    My older daughter lives in one of the funky canyons in Orange County, Ca.  During the pre-Christmas storms, the dry creek that points directly at her little house went beserk.  Three plus feet of mud, stones,  and other debris in the house; her old truck in the creek bed.  She and her newly adopted pup ran for their lives about 4AM.

    House is possibly lost.  I mentioned funky.  That means no flood insurance.

    The other side of the coin.  Starting Christmas eve, continuing Christmas day, and through Sunday, people rallied by the dozens to dig our her furniture, and belongings.  More has been saved than I imagined possible.  The house is now almost miraculously  free of mud.

    Sunday I rode with a young man in his truck to take a load to my daughter’s rented storage unit.  He is a five year cancer survivor ( and Marine vet).  He does not live in the canyon, and never heard of my daughtrer.  But, he mountain bikes out there, and knew the area.  In his mode of “giving back”, for the support he received during his ordeal, he left his own family on Christmas day, after the Christmas celebrations, drove out with his mother and step father, and went to work. They were back on Sunday, working  hard.  In a nice coincidence, his five year old daughter was delivered at St Joseph’s Hosipital in the labor and delivery wing where my daughter pursued her beloved profession as an RN.  He says she looks familiar, but doesn’t know that she attended them.  He also recieved his cancer treatment at St Joe’s about the same time. 
    That was one story that I had access to.   There were many neighbors, and many more folks my daughter had never seen.  A number came from various churches in the area.

    One neighbor who organizes volunteers for this kind of effort, said the Mormon Church is always  one of the primary resources.  They typically show up with a hundred or more of their congregation.  (He had not made contact with them in this case.)  This same fellow and his family had been to New Oreleans during Katrina with his own church group.

    This event a timely reminder of what community means. 

    My daughter does not know what the next step will be.  It may be that the house is not repairable despite the efforts.  But, the efforts of these strangers and neighbors will never be forgotten.  The response makes you feel better about our society.

  6. suek says

    Oldflyer…
     
    I’m sorry to hear of your daughter’s misfortune.  You point up a basic fact in our various discussions on different threads – we need to get back to localized government.  Let the feds defend the nation, and standardize interstate commerce … but STOP TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYTHING WE DO!!  I would not for an instant want a tax on people to equal the pay of the hours they gave in volunteer effort – in true socialist nature, the efforts of some would be significantly higher than others.  In point of fact, however, an hour of effort is an hour of effort.
     
    If your daughter isn’t aware of the “free stuff” on Craigslist, or of “Freecycle” – if there’s one in her area – by all means, make her familiar with them.  It’s absolutely amazing what people give away.  On the other hand, it appears my daughter will be moving to Ok…we’ve been checking out various means of moving her household, and I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that maybe it _isn’t_ so amazing!

  7. Oldflyer says

    Thanks for the suggestion Suek.  I will pass it along.  She will need to replace quite a bit of stuff. 

    One positive aspect is that she has vowed to never let herself become a pack rat again.  Easier said than done, of course.

  8. suek says

    Hey!  What’s wrong with being a pack rat!!!  From one pack rat to another…what’s the difference?  If her house had been as spare as a cloistered nun’s, would it have made any difference?   Or is it the sense of loss?  Tell her from me…”better to have loved and lost…!”
     
    Maybe in the clean-up.  That I could see.  Maybe in the sense of trying to replace _everything_ that was lost…but if she really has pack rat habits, that’s just a matter of time.
     
    What kind of a pack rat is she?  I hate to throw stuff out when if it just got fixed, it would be fine for use.  The problem is that nobody “fixes” any more.  I have an old recliner…very comfy.  They tell me it will cost as much as a new one to have it rebuilt, so it’s not worthwhile.  ?? I have a combo radio, cd,  phonograph, tape player…the cd part skips.  I suspect it just needs a thorough cleaning.  My son directed me to the nearest electronic waste collection point – “because new stuff is so cheap these days.  You could buy a new one for about $75.”  This, of course, is my son who has no savings.  Which of us is dumber??? I’m not sure.
     
    I also save stuff for future use.  Still have all my canning equipment.  Don’t know _when_ I’ll be canning again, if ever – but I’m ready!  I sort of collect kitchen stuff.  And then I end up with a daughter who can’t eat gluten.  Have you any idea how much really great stuff you can’t eat when you can’t eat gluten??  Forget baking.  No cakes.  No pies.  No cookies.  When I die, I’m going to will my kitchen goodies to _somebody_ but at the moment, I don’t have a candidate!  It doesn’t look like it’s going to be any of my own kids!!

  9. SADIE says

    George Carlin’s riff on stuff is the definitive commentary on ‘stuff’. I used to have stuff, lots of it. Many years of nomadic living in/out of the states, but an end to it. It just got to be too expensive moving the stuff around. As I waited for my things to arrive, I realized I could do with less. I also found it easier to locate the things I needed or was looking for too.  I certainly kept some amount of sentimental and functional stuff thinking that the ‘next’ generation would want it – they don’t. Seems like each generation wants to collect their own stuff. I have several friends, who have lots to too much stuff, collections. Personally, I think it only matters if it impacts daily decisions or you can’t see the dining room table for the clutter;
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLa
     

    p.s. suek, gluten free flour does exist. Hold onto the canning equipment, one never knows.
     
    Oldflyer:
    Your daughter received quite a gift this Christmas – the gift of giving/receiving from the vet – and hopefully, his act of giving unselfishly will be recycled back into her community.
     
     
     

  10. suek says

    Yeah… I know gluten free flour exists.  But it isn’t the same.  You _know_ it isn’t the same!!
     
    She’s learning to deal with it.   Me?? not so much, I guess.  She’s also developed fibromyalgia.  I’m just waiting for the RA to hit.  All are auto-immune conditions.  Very puzzling.
     
    >>I certainly kept some amount of sentimental and functional stuff thinking that the ‘next’ generation would want it – they don’t.>>
     
    Good point.  You’re right, of course.  I have stuff my Dad brought back from WWII.  The kids don’t care about it – it’s a _my_ Dad  connection, not theirs.  They remember their Grandfather, but he wasn’t in their lives enough for the connection to be a strong one.  So…no problem.  It’ll be up to them to get rid of the “stuff”.  I may not be “able” to throw the “stuff” out – it won’t cause _them_ any grief – so they can do it!

  11. SADIE says

    I have a pretty large carton of things from my Dad. I, also can’t part with it and no one wants it.  Many years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer and knew he was going to die, he gave my brother and me the things from his ‘stuff’. My brother took some things and me, the Smith & Wesson antique gun and assorted other goodies. My Mom, was not a collector, so I kept just some small personal things from her.
     
    That’s the thing with the next generation – they’re so disengaged from the previous ones. I find it terribly sad that they have no interest. I was always curious and coveted the few things I have from my grandmother, like her mother’s ring, which would be my great grandmother’s ring. I have no daughters, which makes it all the more difficult and no granddaughters (nor any coming). My niece and nephew aren’t around- period and will probably just inherit by default the things my sister-in-law and brother will leave (they are collectors) and will probably be so overwhelmed by that, they’ll never get to my stuff. Like you, I can’t part with the past, although I have less of a problem with my stuff (I think) anyway it all fits in closets and storage shelves so it’s not in my way or visible. Yep, let the next generation sort it all out, it’s not like we didn’t try.
     

  12. Oldflyer says

    Suek, when you see hundreds and hundreds  of pounds of stuff dragged out of the house caked in mud, you kind of realize that a lot of it should have gone a long time ago.

    I come from a heritage of pack rats.  My grandfather had a toolroom that would have made a TV reality series just exploring it.  All hand tools of course–this was in the ’40s.  Every nut, bolt and screw he ever came across, because you never know.  It was a genuine treasure (so was he).  I think he could lay his hands on anything in there because he got a little perturbed whenever the kids rearranged things.

    But, my generation and my kids grew up in the Navy, and we moved on the average every three years.  It kept you a little leaner.  So, after many years in one place, you tend to shock yourself.

  13. suek says

    >>But, my generation and my kids grew up in the Navy, and we moved on the average every three years.  It kept you a little leaner.  So, after many years in one place, you tend to shock yourself.>>
     
    Ditto.  I used to joke that we didn’t do spring cleaning – we just moved.  It _does_ help to keep things down a little.  I never realized, though, how much of a bennie it was to have the military pay for moving.  My daughter says she’s being quoted 3-4K to move her household, which might be a quarter of the stuff we have.
     
    We’ve lived in this house for 25 years now, and first it was the kids moving out and leaving stuff they expected to come back for (and they did – for _some_ of it!) and then it was the deaths of parents.  First my Mom…and then my Dad remarried.  That was interesting – everything that was out in public areas that were obviously and apparently my Mother’s suddenly had to go.  My Dad didn’t want to pitch them – so he gave them to me.  Then the in-laws moved from their home to a retirement community apartment…we were the beneficiaries of some of that stuff.  Then my Dad died.  My son lived in his house for a while, but eventually moved out and all the “stuff” ended up here.  And then my father in law died, completing the cycle.  We still have stuff in storage rooms from both sets of parents.  The kids don’t want us to throw everything out or sell it…they’re going to come and get it…soon.  Yeah…right.
     
    So…I need to sell stuff, right?  OK…so first I though Ebay.  But some of the stuff is furniture.  So Craigslist is the ticket.  But for that, I need photos.  For that I need technology of some sort – either a phone that does photos (which I then have to load into my computer) or a digital camera (same)  and that’s when I begin to think that I’m living in “The House That Jack Built” and everything stops cold.
     
    You know…I bet there’s a job out there for someone who could help me on some of this stuff – you know…like the “Bug Mechanix” that run around fixing people’s computers in their homes.  A “Garage Sale Agent” maybe???  Craigslist agent???  There are people who have Ebay stores – you take stuff to them, they photograph it, put it on Ebay and ship it for a percentage.  People are leery (justifiably, imo) about having people from their Craigslist ads come to their homes – maybe a store would be just the ticket.  Although some of the stuff I see on the list is a bit bizarre.  In fact, such a store might end up looking more like a pawn shop…  and it wouldn’t be as fast.  “Here today gone tomorrow” seems to be the Craigslist motto!

  14. SADIE says

    The kids don’t want us to throw everything out or sell it…they’re going to come and get it…soon.  Yeah…right.
     
    That brought back some memories. Several years after my Dad died, my Mom decided that she wanted to sell the house and the announcement was loud and clear: ‘Come and get it or it’s gone’. Oldflyer had jarred my memory when he spoke about tools and tool boxes. My Dad, in addition to his own tools had all the tools he inherited from his father. Yes, I am now the owner of hammers in every weight and size – just had to keep some of the tools. My brother had used the attic for storage for years and was living out of town just as many years post college. What a scene it was with the two of us walking through the attic (yes, it was a big one you could stand in and walk around).
     
    For what it’s worth, my younger son sold a car on Craigs List. I don’t think I would, but being female, I am more leery of such encounters. He’s very comfortable using the list and  has bought all sorts of things for his house and even found a reasonable and honest roofer to make repairs one time. Again, it may be a generational thing, including the ‘know how’ to upload/download and digital pics and all the tech stuff you need. I’ll pass on it.
     

  15. suek says

    >>Again, it may be a generational thing, including the ‘know how’ to upload/download and digital pics and all the tech stuff you need. I’ll pass on it.>>
     
    Heh…as they say…don’t know how to do it??? ask a teenager!!
     
    Someone of the kids gave us a DVD player for a Christmas gift a few years ago.  One of my sons is organized enough to have not only figured out how to use it in combination with our TV, but actually wrote out the directions.  Which we have carefully saved.  It saves a _lot_ of aggravation!  You have to change the TV setting, depending on whether you want to use the DVD player, the TV (on cable setting) or the tape deck.  We usually just don’t.  But we have son’s instructions in case we change our minds and want to!!  (Of course, part of the problem is also the fact that you can’t read the small print on the various equipment because your head’s in the way of the light and besides, you need a magnifying glass!)

  16. SADIE says

    you need a magnifying glass!
     
    LOL. Several years ago, I bought my mom a large, time dated clock. I needed to correct the time twice a year +/- one hour. The back of the clock had 4 buttons and in some too confusing complicating manner, you pushed, pressed some combination of them to change the time. If you hit the wrong button you ended up advancing the clock to the year 2050 and not the hour, as I found out. Anyway, there was an 800 number with instructions and I called to get the verbal help to correct my major error and to set the time for the season. The woman, was ever so nice and supportive at the other end of the line. The company makes stuff for seniors (I qualified that day). With her help, I got it right and told her I would be speaking with her twice a year from then on.
     
    DVD’s – out of the question. Don’t own one. Not getting one unless it comes with a ‘teenager’ on call.

  17. suek says

    Heh.  We have a clock presented to my husband from some place of employment sometime.  It’s battery powered, and has all 24 time zones on a single dimension world map.  You touch the time zone, and it gives you the time and date for that time zone.  It also has provision for daylight savings time.
     
    We hadn’t used it for some time, and the batteries died.  My son got sent to Iraq, so we put in new batteries.  Now to set the time….  _That_ was a challenge – it wasn’t particularly straightforward…you had to do this one and then that one – in a specific order  … my SIL finally got it to within about 10 minutes.  That’s close enough, considering the time difference.  It really doesn’t matter – we don’t call him, he calls us.  However he uses Skype to call his wife every couple of days.  Actually, he calls us using Skype as well, but apparently the Skype to Skype on the computer is free, but Skype to phone is an expensive call – so we don’t get called very often.  Guess that’s the next technological hurdle to master.
     
    By the way…our LED clock/radio alarm was a similar problem.  The old one still worked for radio, but the leds have gone dark(after about 20 years – I can’t complain!).  I’ve learned that green leds are much brighter at night than red leds and that red leds are not the commonly used ones anymore.  You have to pay significantly more to get them. (?)  Also, the new clock/radio was much more complicated to set.  The good news is that when we had a power outage, it didn’t need to be reset.  I’m guessing it has a battery somewhere that retains the memory and eventually the battery will die, and we won’t know it until there’s a power outage and it _doesn’t_ reset.  Cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess!

  18. SADIE says

    It’s battery powered, and has all 24 time zones on a single dimension world map.

     
    Ah, now I understand where the expression ‘zoning out’ comes from ;

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