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.