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Thread: Remembering Past Christmas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State

    Remembering Past Christmas

    Just wondering if any of you had past Christmases that are a fondly remembered a little above all others you could share. I have three that I always find myself thinking of this time of year.

    When I was a little guy, old enough to have figured out Santa, our family started drawing names for who we were to buy gifts for. This included my favorite uncles and aunt. One year my uncle drew my name. About a week before Christmas he brought a package to our house. He said, "Paul I drew your name this year and I got you something special." "But," he said, "it needs to be taken care of until you can open the package on Christmas Eve. I've put a small hole in the box and you need to feed it twice each day. Here is some cracked corn, be sure and put some in the hole in the morning and in the evening. Don't move the box or shake it around, you could hurt what is inside" Will I did, twice a day, religiously feed that box. I'd bend down and listened, never heard a thing. Really had me worried, and on Christmas Eve, when we were all together, my uncle said it had to be the last gift to be opened. I know it took forever for everyone else to get their gifts open, but I finally got to open the package, with great care because I didn't want to hurt what was inside. It was a basket ball hoop with a bunch of cracked corn inside the box!

    In 1965 I was in Chu Lai, VN. My enlistment in the service was up in January 1966 so I knew I'd be home for Christmas. I hadn't been home for over two years so I was really anxious. One day in early December the platoon Sargent looked me up and told me to go pack my sea bag I would be flying to Da Nang the next day and catch a plane back to the states from there. The next morning I was sitting in my tent, with my packed sea bag waiting for the word to go get on the small plane for Da Nang. In comes the Battalion First Sargent. He says sorry Cpl Douglass but your flight is canceled you have just been extended 4 months "convenience of the government. I was down, but nothing could be done about it. Well it turned out to be a very memorable Christmas. It was early enough in the war that some people in the States went all out for the service guy. They brought in a truck load of packages from people back home. It was amazing. I wanted the guys in my group to have something besides "C" rations for Christmas dinner so I wrote to Figi, (Don't remember is that is how it is spelled) a mail order place that you can buy specialized food and candy from, and asked it they thought a smoked pheasant would make it to VN in good eatable shape. I got a special package a few days later from them and it had a pheasant it it. They asked me to let them know how it made the trip and if good, place my order. It was great so I ordered a couple. Just before Christmas I got my package from them, and inside was about four extra pheasants, in addition to the ones I ordered and a bunch of boxes of candy. One big box candy cost over $100 if ordered from them. I had enough to feed the platoon! All free from Figi. My folks sent me a box with a flocked, fresh 4' Christmas tree all decorated, even had lights on it. Word got out, and you wouldn't believe the "Brass" that came around to see and smell the Christmas tree. One was a General. It was really a Christmas to remember for sure. And I didn't have to feel guilty for leaving and going home while my pals stayed in VN.

    The third was the year we bought our kids an Nintendo for Christmas. I decided I wanted them to work a little for it so after everyone was in bed, I sat down and wrote a list of instructions in the form of a poem, they had to follow to find their gift. I took a picture of a Nintendo, cut it up so it was in shapes of a puzzle and put each piece of the puzzle and and an instruction on where to find the next piece of the puzzle jars and when they brought me the completed puzzle I would tell them where the gift was hid. That year was one of our rare White Christmases, fact we had about 10" of snow. I put on my hat and coat, boots and grabbed a flash light and set out to hide the clues. Course I couldn't walk directly to where I wanted to hide the clues, they would just follow my tracks. I must have hiked 5 miles hiding the clues. (We lived out in the sticks so I did some hiking). When the kids got up, I got them started on the search and sat down to have some coffee and wait till they got back. It took them almost an hour to get back, they came in and gave me the pieces of the completed puzzle and them with out waiting for me to tell them where the gift was they walked into the living room, got behind the couch and got it out. They knew all along what it was and where it was. They just wanted to play along with my fun so I wouldn't feel bad.... We still laugh about it.

    Okay, I'm done. Sorry for the long post, I just an really have been thinking alot about it lately, as I always do this time of year. I'm sure some of you have some you could share.
    "We the People ......"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great stories, Paul.

    One I remember well was the year I bought my first wife a bicycle. It was too big to wrap and have under the tree at my mom and dad's house where we were exchanging presents, so I set up a "clue hunt" similar to your Ninetendo story. She opened a small box from under the tree, and the slip of paper in the box sent her to another hidden note somewhere else in the house, which sent her to another note, and on and one. There were about 20 to 25 clues, and she ended up all over the house, both inside and out. The last clue led her back to the living room, where I'd placed the previously-hidden bike in front of the tree. Caught her completely by surprise, which of course is the best kind of present to give IMO.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    Great story's guys
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

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    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    In a brief stay in Wisconsin when I was five, my brother was headed toward four...our sister was still an oocyte somewhere. We had a large 6'x6' window in the living room, I remember the sill about 18" off the floor. It was about 3am and the lights on the tree were still on; my mom liked to leave 'em on all night...acted like a night light. Mom came out to find me staring out the window in my Dr Dentons. It was the first time I'd seen snow fall. We watched until the sun came up. Then my dad woke up and we opened presents, my grandparents were there and Grandpa had a cool way to deliver Santa with his presents. After that...I learned to shovel snow!!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Your second story, Paul, got me thinking of the time I was in the Marines. I got back from 19 months overseas to a new unit in California. This was just before Christmas and I'd already taken leave after my tour, so I didn't have leave. Most of the guys in my squad went home on leave so I was basically alone Christmas Day. What made matter worse, and this was the funny part (not then) I overslept the one time the chow hall was open that day, I ran out of smokes ( the store was closed and no one around to bum any from) and I wasn't yet old enough to legally buy booze. That was a Christmas to remember. I've had some really blessed Christmases but that stands out as a kind of funny one after many years reflection.

    In arte voluptas - in der Kunst liegt Vergnügen - in art lies enjoyment

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Personally, I have a few Christmases that I'd rather forget, and have tainted the holiday for me all my life. However, the one that almost makes up for it happened at my daughter's second Christmas. I was in the bedroom assembling some of the presents, and trying to get my daughter to fall asleep so I could put the stocking on her bed. I told her Santa wouldn't come if she was awake. Finally, she fell asleep, and I put out the stockings.

    Shortly after, I heard, "Daddy! Daddy! He's been!" and she came running into my bedroom holding the stocking open with a huge smile on her face, and we hugged and oh'd and ah'd over the stocking, then I put her back to bed until the morning.

    Still brings tears to my eyes.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Humid Gulf Coast
    Not a Mil-story, but every Christmas I spend with my family is a great Christmas. Gifts, aside.

    For me the greatest gift is just everyone having the time off together.

    I've had Christmases warm, and Christmases cold, but as long as it's a family Christmas it's good enough for me!

    And if there happens to be some rhubarb pie and coffee served some time in the afternoon, that just puts an even bigger smile on my face.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Great stories Paul especially your second one. Brought back a memory of my own going back to my time doing national service in SA. We got given similar parcels when we were in the bush and they were very well received. I think of those days every time Mack mentions he is making pens again for the guys in the forces. There is no better action than to let the servicemen and woman know they being thought about back home when they away from their loved ones.

    One of my best Christmas gifts came from Linda when she purchased one of Dave Hawkfords prints of the Raccoon for me. It was a total surprise and something i had really wanted but had not done anything about. The way it was packaged i had absolutely no clue nor could i begin to think of what potentially she had pulled out the hat. It was the furthermost thing from my mind.

    My saddest day of Christmas holidays was the day after i got a brand new bicycle for Christmas. It was one of those years when you take a step up in size of bicycle as you grow and get what might be considered an adult bike. I had parked it on the side of the house the night before. We had a 6 foot or more brick wall all around our property. It was the "normal" place to leave our bikes back then. In the morning of boxing day it had been stolen. Suffice to say our gardener at the time never came to work again. I was heartbroken. Had to make do with the old bike until my next birthday. Lesson learned.

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