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Dave (Voleron)


November 25 2020

Sharing Christmas Memories! (Dec 7 - 13)


Gather 'round the fireplace from December 7th to 13th to share your most favorite holiday or Christmas memories with your Stonewallers.  Do you have a particularly fond memory centered around the holidays that you'd care to share with us?  Take this time of year as an opportunity to open your heart and share with us what you most look forward to in the holidays!  Simply reply to this topic during the week of the 7th!

  • Last Comment by TLara
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Joshua Lee
December 07 2020 Permalink
Joshy’s Fire Station Christmas

It’s the 7th where I am so I’m posting mine now. ;)

^ My dad’s old fire station!

My dad is a (now retired) firefighter. Every year when I was growing up, I’d get to go to the annual kid’s Christmas party at the fire station. The fire engines would be put out in the yard, leaving the large garage open for us to play party games, dance around and eat the Christmas food that had been put out. We’d get to climb in and around the fire engines, turning the lights and sirens on and off (until the parents got sick of the sirens and asked us to “please, stop”).

We’d put on fire helmets and uniform jackets that were way too big for us and have fun playing around the fire station, which had been decorated for Christmas.

The highlight of the party was Santa coming to visit. We would be gathered in the upstairs of the station and, as we all pressed our faces against the windows, Santa would arrive - on top of a fire engine with lights and sirens blazing! As he drew into the street we would cheer and jump up and down, and then run down to the yard where the engine would pull up and Santa would (carefully) dismount the engine.

We’d then get to have our presents delivered by Santa himself, and all the kids would sit around as Santa called out names one by one and we’d find out what we got!

I imagine Health and Safety wouldn’t let Santa ride on top of a moving fire engine any more, but I’m glad my childhood managed to line up with this silly bit of fun which filled me with joy every year!
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CJay None
December 07 2020 Permalink
So one of our family traditions was going to one of my grandparents house with all my dad's sisters their kids etc and we would open presents one person at a time. Going through everyone multiple times. The kicker was they started with the oldest persons first (aka the grandparents) which meant us kids were board to tears for an hour till we finally got to open something.

So this one year after sitting through this pain, we finally come back home where I would go to sleep and be woken up usually around 3-4 am when santa would arrive. Santa didn't wrap my presents, things from Santa appeared under the tree unwrapped (aka parents put that stuff together while I slept and stuck it under tree)

My parents wake me up and I was grumpy from the grandparents tradition being on christmas eve that year, and Dad was having none of that and sent me back to bed. He told me I was not getting any presents when I did wake up until I learned to behave.

When I fully wake up next day, Mom and Dad let me have one present and one only from the full display under the tree.. CHILD ABUSE AND TORTURE to my young self!

I could see it all and not touch... OMG the horror

I had to behave every single day and got access to one more thing for about 2 weeks, till they finally gave in and let me have the whole hoard. (in hindsight this was probably because it was time for tree to come down LOL)

I never was grumpy again when being woken up after Santa had come LOL.

(and yes I was pretty spoiled materialistically at christmas time, but this was a good lesson I never forgot and don't blame them)
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Kevin Gillespie
December 08 2020 Permalink
Christmas has been a bit sad and lonely for me throughout my life. Growing up, I didn’t really have family and a little bit of a bumpy childhood and then I enlisted in the United States Navy shortly after High School and have been deployed for a good portion of the holidays during my career. But regardless, I have always loved Christmas and found a way to smile, even if I was on a warship in the middle of the ocean or forward deployed in the Middle East. The lights, the decorations, the beautiful trees, the happiness and joy in peoples faces… even when many of their lives were not going the best. It would be the one time a year many find a way to fill their hearts with happiness, even if that happiness were just temporary.

My happiest Christmas memory was actually when I was forward deployed in the Middle East. I was supposed to return home to the United States in July. However, when July 1st came, I was told I was getting extended for two months until September 1st. When September 1st came, I was told I was extended for two months until November 1st. When November 1st came, I was told I was extended until middle or end of December. I had already told my family twice I was coming home… and twice I had to tell them I wasn’t coming home anymore. So this time, I didn’t hold my breath. I told them I was extended indefinitely and I didn’t know when I was coming home. As December came, I kept pestering my Chain of Command on when I was leaving and to just let me know if I was going to spend yet another Christmas in the desert and they kept side lining me not answering. Then, to my surprise, my Chain of Command handed me a plane ticket going home on December 22nd, that same day. It’s a 24 hour flight… or should I say, flight(S), a multitude of them, from the Middle East to my home town in Los Angeles, California.

When I got handed the ticket, I decided to plan a surprise. I let my family know that I was getting sent out on another mission and expressed how upset I was. Then I boarded my first flight in the desert. My military flight finally landed in Norfolk, Virginia the next day on December 23rd. I caught my first commercial flight in the United States which laid over in Texas. I boarded my next and final flight going from Texas to California. I had my laptop with me and paid for the in-flight WiFi. My friends father, my adopted dad, sent me a message and asked how was my first day on mission. I called him and went off, angry, shouting and borderline sounding like I was on the verge of tears – saying that I couldn’t take this anymore, that I was super upset that I was going to miss yet another Christmas in my life and that the mission had already started off horrible on the first day and that I was miserable. He felt so sad for me and said that he wished more than anything in the world that he could have me home for Christmas.

Three hours later… I landed in Los Angles, California and went home and he was in the driveway working on his car. I walked up to the driveway and screamed “HEY DAD!” … he looked up, the PURE SHOCK on his face… and I said “You asked for a certain Christmas wish a few hours ago? I’m here to deliver it in person…” the immediate instantaneous break down into an epic amount of tears from his face as he ran straight up to me and squeezed me in the tightest hug ever as he continued to cry. I have felt lonely for a good majority of my life, but in that moment, the day before Christmas Eve, I finally felt pure love in my life.
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Edward Lloris
December 08 2020 Permalink
Christmas is difficult for, the sad thing it didn't use to be. Honestly, it's not a holiday I like to think about. I've had a ton of happy Christmases but nothing that really stands out other than fried chicken… it's not a holiday that stands to me. So as for a favorite memory. Last year I was behind a kid at Wal-Mart he was with his grandmother and so excited to buy a lego set. Apparently, his cousins had all cousins had given him gift cards and he had just enough to buy an X-wing. Turns out they were playing a prank on him and the gift cards were blank, he was crying, the grandmother was crying, the line behind me was angry. It was heartbreaking, I remembered being the kid who could afford the toy I wanted the toy I couldn't afford, so I bought it (my endless ripple monument). The more I think about this the more I'm reminded Christmas isn't about how we feel, it's about how we make others feel.
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Dave (Voleron)
December 09 2020 Permalink
I don’t have one specific Christmas memory that jumps out at me ahead of the rest, but when I was younger, my dad’s side of the family would always have a big, family holiday gathering at my grandparent’s place. It’d be all of my aunts, uncles and cousins and my grandparents. It made for a big crowd; probably about 40 people in all.

We’d have a big meal and I’d always grumble about getting stuck at the ‘kids table’ until there were enough kids over the years to eventually bump me up to the adult table. After dinner, the adults would play 31, a card game, while the kids tore the place apart, lol. Some of my favorite memories are just hanging out with my family.

Like is the case in many families, it’s the grandparents that are kind of the glue that holds the extended family together and after they passed away, these sorts of big family gatherings tapered off.

Of course everyone grew up, including me, and my job up north has kept me away from my extended family for 15 years. I gave up a lot for my work and looking back this time of year, I suppose it’s these memories that I miss the most. There are very few Christmas presents or material things aside from a Nintendo that I really remember... but it’s the family gatherings and both sets of grandparents that I do miss and think of.

I still enjoy the holidays and look forward to Christmas every year, but it’ll never quite be the same as my Christmas memories from when I was a kid.
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Gareth GXV3
December 10 2020 Permalink
I accidentally killed my uncle during a skiing trip

I don't really have a christmas memory that stands out, but I often reminisce about my childhood and how christmas was always so exciting for me.
After the mari lwyd came knocking on our door (a man wearing a horses skull and cloak bangs on your door which you have to sing too or else he comes into your house and takes all your food and drink, look it up) every christmas eve without fail my family (sis, mum & dad) used to go over my uncles house to join the rest of the clan.
We the kids used to gather up and have our own little party while the adults drank in the the living room.
It was always so much fun to see cousins, we used to tell ghost stories, look out of the window wat the night sky to see if we could spot santa, and put tights on our heads to pretend we had pig tails….

Then when we went home my parents tried to put us to bed, but I never could sleep, I was always too excited for what presents Id get the next day.
On christmas day, my sister and I used to get up dead early. And wait quietly for my parents to decide to rise from bed.
(We wernt allowed downstairs until my parents had awoken, as my mother was a fuss-pot and was scared we would make a mess of the house.)
We opened our gifts, and played with them all day, all buzzing and giddy with excitement, and then in the afternoon my grandparents came over, I used to look forward to that because they had money ;) and bought cool gifts.
I recall the best present i ever had was a huge spaceship toy, and when you opened it up it had mini space craft inside.. It was huge, and i loved it.
Thoughts are the best memories I hold, sadly it will never happen again as i've lost half of my family, and I cant pass the memories onto my children… because I hate children and will never own any.
But each christmas, I always think back to thoughts child hood days
9 people liked this
December 10 2020 Permalink
I'm walking up in the air, I can't fall any faster

The Snowman is an amazing story. The animation is old school - drawn by coloured pencils that you just can't get with CGI these days.

I don't recall the first time I saw it but it was obviously at Christmas time. It is filled with fun and adventure, of wonder and exploration. Of friendships made between this young boy and an older snowman.

The film ends with, well...if you haven't seen it I won't spoil it for you. But it reminds me always that...all good things, must come to an end.

Christmas is a wonderful time, filled with light and bright in the darkness of the winter. For one cannot shine without another.

Cherish the moment, cherish each other. Cherish the memories you have made and, or yet to make.
7 people liked this
Nick Swinford
December 11 2020 Permalink

It seems I’m not the only one with quite fond memories of Christmas growing up. Like many of you, I don’t have one memory that stands out from the rest, but our yearly traditions were great.

On Christmas Eve, we’d go over to my father’s parents’ house. My father was the only son of an only child of an only child so there wasn’t much extended family to speak of on that side of the family. As such, my grandparents really spoiled my brother and I. On top of that, Christmas was my Grandmother’s favorite holiday and she’d go overboard every year. When we came over, there’d already be a row of presents leaning up against the fireplace in the downstairs’ living room that would easily be 12-15 presents deep for each of us. Every year, they’d print a craft activity in the newspaper and my Grandmother would take time every year to put it together with me. I still have the cardboard Christmas tree we made. She was a great cook, but by God her roast was awful; her mashed potatoes always stole the show anyway. After dinner, we’d take turns opening presents. Above you can see my brother showing off his new cowboy hat and boots. On the right, the little chubster you see is me with my Grandmother holding me. Every year, we’d get a fresh pair of pajamas to put on and wear on our way home. I still remember falling asleep in the back of the car and my dad carrying me to bed.

On Christmas morning, we’d have our family Christmas where my mother, father and brother would take turns opening gifts. My brother and I would be chomping at the bit to open gifts while trying to get my mom and dad up and ready. After that, it was generally a rush to get ready for the Christmas party. As the family with the biggest space (we had a large basement), we hosted the Christmas party for my mother’s side of the family. She has 5 brothers and sisters with plenty of kids. We’d easily have 40+ people over for Christmas evening. We’d have a big dinner in the basement and after all the adults had eaten, all the cousins would say downstairs and sneak a second serving of desert. Afterward, we’d exchange gifts on that side of the family.

All in all, it’d be three Christmas parties packed into two days. As a little kid, it seemed magical. Things changed after we moved to Kentucky. We’d go back to Chicago every Thanksgiving to see family so there were no more Christmas Eve’s at my paternal Grandparents and my Aunt hosted the Thanksgiving at her house. Thinking back on it now, I’d give anything to have one more Christmas like that, even just to see some of those family members again.

Okay, there’s one memory that does stick out that’s become a family tradition, but it might not necessarily be a good one, haha. One year, my brother and I were opening up my parents’ gifts and every time we’d open a gift, my brother would get a better present than me. We’d both get sweatshirts and his would be Nike and mine would be a generic brand. He’d get a camera and I got some cheap toy. I remember getting annoyed by it, but it bothered my mother more that I was disappointed on Christmas. Ever since, she numbers our presents, like 1 to 7, and we have to open them in order and she makes sure all the presents are pretty even. This has been going on now for some 30 years now. We pretty much always know that the first present is gonna be something simple like socks and the last is the best present. We tease her about it every year now.
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Jim McLaughlin
December 12 2020 Permalink
I remember, my sister and I, watching an old Christmas special called "The Night, The Animals Talked" with our father. As soon as it was over, he would have us put out three peanut butter cookies, and a shot of Johnny Walker for Santa. He would tell us that Santa needed something to help him warm up since it was cold out. Dad would then pick us up and carry us up to bed. Before he tucked us in he would always read T'was the Night before Christmas to us. Before turning out the lights he would also have us believing that the dog would talk on Christmas eve.

Dad would then go out side and make noises that would have us believing that Santa was on the roof.

To this day my Father still tries to make Christmas special, and is a big kid at heart when it comes down to it
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Ted Hembach
December 12 2020 Permalink
It is heartwarming to read your stories. I wanna put one more in:
It was the year my father had died, after being sick for several years - actually all of my life til then. I was very young, had just got into school in autumn and the first christmas without our father was closing in on my mother, my older sibling and me and we were kind of horrified how to celebrate without him. My mothers best friend, Carmen, knew about this and decided to do something about it.
Thus, Carmen and all her family (husband and four children) moved in with us for the holidays. There was so much life, so many people, lot of excitement, it just took our thoughts off the loss. They were giving us much love and brightening our winter. Thinking back, I still think that was very much christmas-spirit of them.
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