Tell Us Your Own True Christmas Story

Tell us a true story, something that actually happened to you, that made a memory that stuck with you through the years and taught you something about the spirit of Christmas.

I’ve got a bunch of them. For me Christmas is an intensely memorable and meaningful time, so every little thing stays in my mind for years. It seems like most of my old memories are Christmas memories.

To get things started, here’s

  1. Joseph Paquette

    My first Christmas after all my training was very memorable.  I, being the new doc, got the holiday weekend coverage for the whole group.  Working my way through the hospital, I met a nice elderly man, Mr. Jones (names changed to protect the HIPPA police).  He was hospitalized with an infection and was improving.  After checking him out, and talking a little, I went to the nurses station.  About 10 minutes later, I got an odd call from the medical examiner, “would I sign the death certificate on Jones?”  Confused, it was finally cleared up that Mrs Jones was found that morning and had expired.  I sat confused, upset, and wondering what to do.  Tell Mr. Jones?  He’s frail, ill and this might be very dangerous.   No longer in training, no one to call.  I checked with the nurses, he had no other family, and made a tough call.   I asked for the chaplan and we went to tell Mr Jones about his wife.  He was sad, we cried, prayed, and talked a while.  I finished my rounds and went home.  Two hours later the nurses called, Mr. Jones had expired.   They passed on the same day. 

  2. Astonishing
    Joseph Paquette: My first Christmas after all my training was very memorable.  . . .   Working my way through the hospital, I met a nice elderly man, Mr. Jones  . . ..  He was hospitalized with an infection and was improving.  After checking him out, and talking a little, I went to the nurses station.  About 10 minutes later, I got an odd call from the medical examiner, “would I sign the death certificate on Jones?”  Confused, it was finally cleared up that Mrs Jones was found that morning and had expired.  I sat confused, upset, and wondering what to do.  Tell Mr. Jones?  He’s frail, ill and this might be very dangerous.   No longer in training, no one to call.  I checked with the nurses, he had no other family, and made a tough call.   I asked for the chaplan and we went to tell Mr Jones about his wife.  He was sad, we cried, prayed, and talked a while.  I finished my rounds and went home.  Two hours later the nurses called, Mr. Jones had expired.   They passed on the same day. 

    Okay, you made me cry. But I guess I asked for it. What a touching story.

  3. Joseph Paquette

    Astonishing:  “Okay, you made me cry. But I guess I asked for it. What a touching story.”

    In full disclosure for every story I have that will make you cry, I have ten that will make you laugh.  People are more often funny and stupid, far more than tragic. 

  4. DocJay

    Four days ago I got a call from a current patient about a Palestinian relative, potentially about to be deported to where Christians (the forgotten Palestinian minority) like him are killed, with a nasty medical issue and no money to deal with it.  I dealt with it three days ago and got a nice follow up email wishing me God’s Blessings and a Merry Christmas for being charitable to someone in a sucky situation.  

      The world is filled with good and evil, kindness and selfishness.  Each of us is filled with those as well and letting the better stuff shine reminds me of Christmas.

  5. HeartofAmerica

    When I was a small child, Christmas Eve was spent with my Grandma Bea. She lived in a small apartment above the Safeway in a very, very small town. My folks didn’t have much money in those days but a friend suggested that they give me something fun and they bought a pinata. They hung it up in Grandma’s apartment and my Dad gave me something to swing at it and off I went. I repeatedly hit it but nothing happened. Finally my Dad took over and continued the beating…still nothing.

    Perplexed, they finally took it down and checked the cavity for candy. Nothing…nada! They didn’t know they were supposed to buy candy and fill it.

    So they did what every respectable parent would do…they told me that it was Santa’s fault.  Good times!

  6. Miss Nora

    In about 1995, when my boys were 8 and 10, we made the annual drive from Ohio to Grandma’s in Virginia, this time on Christmas Eve.  Coming over the mountain in Beckley, a snowstorm that had been growing made the turnpike impassable and the  road invisible.  We pulled off and found a single-story motel, but it was closed. We could see the owners inside playing cards.  Like the Holy Family, we begged for a place to stay, and they opened the motel for us.  My husband bought a gallon of milk and put it outside in the snow for morning; it was frozen when we woke up.

  7. jarhead
    C

    Eons ago when I was a kid in Michigan, my dad was the pastor of a small rural church in the central part of the state.  The nearest town was also the county seat and had the county jail which my dad would visit regularly as part of a jail ministry.   On one of his visits, not long before Christmas, he met a man who had been jailed because of a DUI conviction, but the man was also the sole provider for his family, a wife and four children.  Dad visited them, and found they had no food, and no heat in a drafty old house in the middle of December during a cold Michigan winter. 

    Even though money was very tight in our house too, as my dad was bi-vocational, and he had to work a second job since the church was too small to support the pastor, he was determined to help this family.  To this day I don’t know how he came up with the money, but he bought groceries, we shared Christmas presents, and took them over to their house.  Twas a good lesson for a selfish kid about the true meaning of Christmas.

  8. DocJay

    In the winter of 1981 my brother had an intelligent and talented friend (of many years) whose mom (no dad around)was a schizophrenic.  They had some rented hovel out on Plum Island and rode bikes everywhere.   He was over our house as usual and had eaten.  Somehow before he left my mom figured out he’d been displaced and were out in the cold wet New England winter and would be in some blankets in a mostly dry outdoor place that night.   She had none of that and he stayed.  We went to the carol singing at the Unitarian church that weekend and I remember him thanking God in his own way then( a Christian Scientist of sorts he was).

    Mom was an elementary teacher and single, we weren’t poor but not rich either.  We took David in for the next year and a half.  Mom was able to get him a full ride at Brandeis based on his grades/scores/need.  

    I learned everything God wanted me to do in life charity wise from my mom,  a committed  atheist.  

  9. skipsul

    My favorite is still my first Christmas with my wife, posted last night here:

    A Christmas Courtship

  10. Fricosis Guy

    My wife and I finally decided to adopt, struggled with getting accepted by a country, then found a great agency that got us into their Guatemala program in 2005.  They helped us find a wonderful young boy and the country’s legal machinery ground slowly, but surely. 

    However, our government gummed up the works.  USCIS made us reset the paperwork clock, then the US Embassy mysteriously lost our son’s visa application.  Our public servants were as helpful as you might imagine.  It was 18 December and it looked like our son wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

    There was a happy ending, thanks to our senior US senator (D).  That day I had reached out to my congressman and both senators; a member of the senior senator’s staff called me before the day was out.  Within 24 hours our application had resurfaced and we were back on track.  He landed in the US the 23rd and ate Christmas Dinner with his grandparents (he’s recovering in the pic below).

    JonsFirstXmas.jpg

    P.S. — Our GOP senator?  A staffer called about six weeks afterwards asking if we still needed help.  And we wonder why we’re in trouble.

  11. flownover

    My 16 yr old came home last night from sledding and told me as they were downtown on a big hill-city-hall.jpg by cityhall , there is a high rise govt housing project there, they noticed someone struggling with his walker in the newly fallen six inches of snow. The sidewalk hadnt been cleared. Well she and her friends went to help this person to find out that one of the legs and one of the arms didn’t work very well, so they pretty much carried him to his car, and after putting him into the car, realized that he couldn’t scrape the half inch of ice and six inches of snow. It took her and her 2 friends about a half an hour to get the windows clear, using their drivers licenses and whatever else was at hand. First snow so they werent equipped with the good scrapers that Dad makes sure they have for the winter.

    She was very matter of fact about this. Anecdotal rather than heroic. But what a hero she was to me. Made my Christmas already. My luck holds, another fantastic child !! Yayy God .

  12. Southern Pessimist

    What is Christmas without great memories? Traditions turn into great memories and vice versa. When my younger son was a teenager he was a talented musician and hung out with an eclectic crowd. One year he and his friends organized a small group to sing carols all over the town at the homes of everyone they knew. You know what I mean. They show up at the front door singing carols and the people inside come out and try to figure out if this is some kind of fundraiser or what. It was not a fundraiser but just a gesture of good cheer. What made it memorable was that although there were many accomplished musicians in the group, the only instrument that they chose for accompaniment was a tuba. You haven’t heard anything until you have heard Silent Night sung with a tuba on the side.

  13. Charleen Larson

    (I posted my Christmas memory, then considered that some might find it a downer.  Sorry.)

  14. Aaron Miller

    I love  how this thread combines the dramatic with the frivolous.

    My dad once gave my brother and me a giant styrofoam glider. He tied it to the fan and left the fan on low so that the plane was slowly circling when we came into the room on Christmas morning. Some hours later, we took it outside to watch it fly. It crashed and broke on the first throw.

    When I was about 16, I found a 4-piece dinosaur puzzle in my stocking. My dad had meant to give to me when I was a toddler, and discovered it in his closet a decade later. Better late than never.

    This Christmas, my 94-year-old grandma was visited by carolers from the church she has been unable to attend for many years. The local elementary school sent her a hand-drawn Christmas card.

    She keeps telling me I missed a spot when I decorated the tree with ornaments, and I keep telling her there is no branch there.

  15. Jojo

    For Christmas 2010 I talked my husband and children into breaking the tradition of having Christmas at our own house, and instead we spent it at my mother’s two hundred miles away.  She was 87 and independent, but getting tired.  So we brought a Christmas tree and hung up socks by the fireplace and made the oyster stew that until probably the previous year she had made herself.  We went to church together and made a crowd at my sister’s house nearby for Christmas dinner.  It was a good choice for all of us, as my mother died less than three months later, and it’s a happy memory.

  16. Foxfier

    I’m not even sure it was Christmas Eve, but….

    When I was about 14, my folks got a call about a bull they’d been looking for since August being spotted up in the forest.  They  left before it was light, in a mild snow storm, and didn’t get back until at least six that evening.  Mom was a total wreak– not only did they end up shooting the bull when he broke a hind leg trying to kill their horses in thigh-deep snow up on the forest, it was a big holiday and the only prep she’d done was thaw the turkey.

    They got the horses taken care of and walked in to dinner on the table.  Not being totally stupid, my sister and brother and I had put the turkey in the oven when they didn’t get home at the expected time, had put together all the fixings that we always have, and the family friend that works in the road department had called us when they called him.  (Always set up a search party.)

    First time I ever saw mom cry from being happy!  (Second and later were grandbabies.)

  17. Stu In Tokyo

    My very first memories are about Christmas. Our family had just moved to a new town, we did not have any friends of family in this new town, in semi northern BC, Prince George. I was about three and I loved Christmas, did I say that? Well, both sets of grand parents drove all the way up to Prince George in the winter to spend Christmas with us, so we had a full house. My older brother and I got bumped from our room into the basement, I did not like this, I’m told, and in the middle of the night I got up from bed and went upstairs to where the Christmas tree was, I loved that tree. I plugged the lights in and then I crawled under the tree and looked up through the branches, I could smell the pine and see the lovely blue and green lights, I fell asleep under the tree, amongst the presents. Early in the morning my brother woke up and could not find me, he thought I had gone upstairs, so he went to look for me, he could not find me. he woke my mom and told her….. cont…

  18. Stu In Tokyo

    …. I guess they turned the house upside down looking for me, remember this is COLD winter in Canada, they were afraid I’d gone outside and locked myself out. The police were called, the neighbours were woken up and a search we started. Then someone noticed that the lights were lit on the Christmas tree. I remember none of this, but I’ve been told the story so many times. What I remember was looking up through the tree and the green and blue lights, and the wonderful smell, I also remember being woken up and pulled out from under the tree by an RCMP officer, fur hat and all, and everyone being happy and angry to see me. 

    That Christmas was really my first memory I retain.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  19. Pilli

    As I sit here reading the posts and listening to Christmas music, (highly recommended BTW) I’m reminded of an early Christmas.  We were at my aunt’s house on Christmas eve.  Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles and their respective tribes of kids all there.

    I remember the bubble lights on my aunt’s tree.  You know, the bulb on the bottom and the colored glass tube filled with bubbling liquid.   Very attractive to my four year-old eyes.

    Suddenly, Santa made his appearance!  Everyone was cheering and laughing. Then came one of those pauses that happen even in the most crowded rooms.  A moment of silence.  That’s when I spoke up.  ”That’s not Santa!  That’s just Uncle Paul!”  (The cocky, know-it-all streak showed itself very early.)

    The whole room erupted in laughter.  The guy holding up in his arms so I could see asked, “Then who am I?”  Yes, it was Paul holding me.  

    Everyone had a good laugh and we opened the presents Santa had brought.  It was a wonderful evening with the family.

    Side note:  Turns out, Paul had a twin brother.  I found that out several years later.

  20. Indaba

    My first Christmas in Canada, I flew from school to the Northern airport of Prince Rupert. It was snowed in and I was not going to make it to home to Stewart. My father organized for me to get picked up by a mine forman. This silent man insisted on picking up a dozen beers and KFC which I had not known. We then raced up a steep mountain road, threaded along the side of inky black, deep valley.

    All the while, my driver chugged down his beer and blasted Christmas songs on the radio.

    He announced he needed to do something. I had never heard this mentioned before. When he got out and disappeared into the dark, I suddenly translated Canadian slang. I decided to get out of the truck too.

    The road was piled with soft snow, iced waterfalls glittered against rock. My shoes and coat were inadequate, but it was my first time to see snow.

    By the headlights, I looked up as gentle, silent snow flakes the size of dinner plates silently glided down from the night sky. Marvelling at the beauty of this foreign land, I was reminded of Narnia.

    I made it home for Christmas.

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