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Your favorite Christmas memories

Susan M - December 12, 2006

Mine is one that was horribly embarrassing at the time, but I now find hilarious. Or at least, it definitely always makes me laugh, just thinking about it.

When our kids were small we could never really afford much for Christmas. But my husband’s brother, a computer programmer, always had presents galore at their house. One year when my youngest, Elijah, was about 3 years old, my husband’s family did Christmas Eve at his brother’s house. They’d gotten presents for our kids and they were all going to open them after dinner. Elijah’s present was the biggest in the room. It was in a box almost as big as he was. He was soooo excited.

I don’t know what he was expecting to be in that box, but whatever it was, it was something much better than what it actually contained. When he opened it to discover it was a huge plastic dinosaur puppet that made dinosaur noises, he became very upset.

“I don’t want this! This is STOOOOPIIIID!!” and he threw it down as hard as he could on the floor.

I was mortified. I had to drag him out of the room kicking and yelling. There were other presents for him to open but he didn’t care. He was just so mad that the big present wasn’t what he thought it’d be.

One of those parenting nightmare moments that become a favorite funny family moment to reflect on.

One other memory to share—every year when I was a kid, my parents would give me and my two brothers each a deck of cards in our stockings. And we, all being introverts, would each spend Christmas day playing solitaire. My husband still laughs about that one.

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?


  1. I’m from the past generation – we didn’t get much for Christmas – 7 kids made it so the money was spread pretty thin. But I do remember that we would actually hang one of our own stockings on Christmas eve. On Christmas morning there was always an orange in the toe and hard ribbon Christmas candy filling most of the rest of the sock. The problem is the candy always stuck to the sock, so it had all this “lint” fuzz on it….we ate it anyway and loved it.

    Comment by Don Clifton — December 12, 2006 @ 11:40 am

  2. Watching my older sister (little kids at the time) open the red-headed Cabbage Patch doll (when she was under the impression that she had no chance of getting one this Christmas). Lots of screaming and crying. Classic.

    I think my best Christmas gift was an electric football set. It’s that big, tin, vibrating board with the little plastic players who move down the field. That was some serious fun.

    Comment by Rusty — December 12, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  3. Three thoughts:

    My parents always saved the biggest, most expensive presents till last. One year my little brother got his first, it being a giant G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. I immediately made a big stink about how spoiled he was getting such a cool present until my dad rode into the family room on a brand new ten speed mountian bike for me. That brought my mouth closed, reddened my face and got a big laugh from the family.

    Going to midnight mass two years in HS with my friends brought me a newfound perspective not only for Christmas but for Catholicism (and new respect).

    Finally, I love the tradition we have of watching my three favorite Christmas movies every year: Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and the George C Scott version of A Christmas Carol.

    Comment by Bret — December 12, 2006 @ 9:03 pm

  4. My favorite Christmas memory was one year when my husband and I were visiting friends in England for Christmas. We all rented a cottage out in Cornwall near some other friends of ours who lived in a little town there. On Christmas morning we all shared a simple present with each other, and then went for a walk out on a nearby moor (I think it was Bodmin moor). It was cold, foggy, and beautiful, with ice everywhere. We admired the old stone fertility statues and just wandered around. We were an odd group, an Anglican, 2 Catholics, a Mormon, an agnostic Lutheran, and a pagan, and here we were celebrating Christmas morning together out in what felt like a wild and forgotten part of nature. It was so cool. I loved that Christmas.

    Comment by meems — December 12, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

  5. My dad and I used to pick a family we knew, and leave them presents for the 12 days before Christmas. It was so much fun. Especially to hear them talk about it, and all the time feeling great that we were helping someone.

    Comment by Maren — December 13, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

  6. I’m sorry Bret but I think the Albert Finney version, “Scrooge” is far superior to the George C Scott version of The Christmas Carol. Besides all the singing, its much more realistic. But to each his own. My favorite tradition: My mothers home made egg nog. There’s nothing like half&half and raw egg to brighten Christmas morn.

    Comment by cj douglass — December 13, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  7. My most memorable experience was the year I found out the truth about santa. I am the youngest, and my next oldest sibling is 6 years older than I am, so they all knew what was up with santa. On Christmas eve we were all sitting around looking at the gifts under the tree. Keep in mind, my parents never put out extra gifts after we went to bed, and we never had the tradition of opening up one gift on Christmas eve. My older brother got the idea in my head to see if we could open one gift. I begged and the parents gave in. After I opened that one gift, I was hooked. I wanted to open all my gifts, knowing that santa hadn’t come yet. So I begged again to open all of them. My parents once again caved and I opened all of them. It turned out to be a pretty good year, except for the fact that when I woke up on Christmas morning, there were no presents from santa. It was terrible at the time, but the story usually earns me a lot of pity.

    Comment by kneight — December 14, 2006 @ 7:58 am

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