What are your memories of Christmas past?

On Christmas Day of 1975, my family moved out of our home in Denver, Colorado.

My father, who was a Lutheran minister, had accepted a call to Ohio, and yes, we moved on Christmas Day when I was 5.

Apparently, my father led the Christmas Eve Service, and then we moved the next morning, partially so we could stop at my grandparents’ houses on the way to Ohio. It also worked well for both churches.

As I recall, we slept in the living room because our furniture was packed up on the moving truck already. It was fun to sleep in the living room and it was even more interesting when I noticed my parents filling the Christmas stockings while we were supposed to be sleeping

“So, that’s how that works,” I thought to myself. I didn’t think too much about it, though, as I had more important things to focus on since we would be moving as soon as I awoke.

So, on Christmas Day, we drove from Denver to Omaha, and then we spent Christmas with my grandparents in that city. The next day or soon after, we drove to Iowa and saw my grandmother there. And then the next day or soon after, we drove to Ohio. We didn’t make it in one day as we planned, though, as both of the vehicles my parents were driving slid off the road. Something happened to the van, too, so we spent the night in a hotel somewhere while it was being fixed. I should add that with the super tall 1970s van that my family had then, it’s a wonder that it didn’t slide off of the road every time we drove it.

I don’t recall ever spending the night in a hotel before that night, so I was quite excited. I still remember watching the Spider-Man cartoon on the television there and loving the whole experience. What type of magical place were we that had Spider-Man cartoons on the television?

The next day we finally made it to Ohio, somehow ahead of our furniture, so we slept in sleeping bags again until all of our items arrived and we got moved into our new home and lives. I have no idea what I got for Christmas that year and it was a pretty weird celebration, but I remember moments of the holiday vividly.

Another Christmas that sticks out in my mind is when I was sick and was in bed pretty much the whole time. I had a high fever and I remember seeing things on the wall. I missed all of the Christmas activities and I have no idea what any presents were, but I will always remember looking at those objects on the wall that holiday season. They were pretty weird. Oh, and I did get to read a lot of comic books while I was in bed, so that was pretty fun.

One final Christmas I wanted to mention is when I had the largest present under the tree. I had no clue what it could be, but I let my siblings know about it for several days before Christmas. It was sure to be something grand, much better than their stupid presents.

And when I opened the present on Christmas Day, I was extremely excited about the momentous occasion until I learned it was a Denver Broncos trashcan. My brothers loved that.

trashWhile I was disappointed in it at the time, I grew to love that trashcan over the years, and it went with me to college and even when I moved out. It was great for trash, playing basketball and even getting sick into.

So what’s the point of all of this? It’s that while many of us spend way too much time worrying about perfect presents or celebrating the holidays the “right way.” we never really know how different gifts or moments will impact our lives.

If my father hadn’t followed his calling to move to a church in Ohio on Christmas Day of 1975, my life would have been completely different. That Christmas Day move was kind of odd and wasn’t very Christmassy, but it was a huge moment for me and a tremendous gift.

And while a trashcan was a rather disappointing present, it ended up being one of the few Christmas gifts that I actually remember, and it was a great gift that I treasured for decades.

Finally, while I didn’t like being sick on Christmas (except for reading comics and having imaginary friends on the walls), I do often think about that Christmas and how lucky I am to have the gift of good health, happiness and real friends.

So you when celebrate the holidays this year, remember to be thankful for the gift of Christmas, and for the gifts that we receive throughout our lives, even if we don’t always fully appreciate them for many, many years.


Those are few of my memories that stick out in my mind. If you have any Christmas memories or thoughts that you’d like to share, please feel free to add them below. Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

13 thoughts on “What are your memories of Christmas past?

  1. We used to spend Christmas with my grandparents — aunts and uncles would be there too. I saw my mother coming into our room with gifts when I was supposed to be sleeping too. Yes, this is how it works.

    Happy Holidays, Nick!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Basilike Pappa, Merry Christmas to you. Thanks for reading my stuff this year. I’ve read yours, and the fact that you would even bother to read mine makes me feel like I should write some more. That’s what they call the gift beyond price.
      See you on the other side.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Merry Christmas, Kenny! Yours is the first message I read this morning and it made me very happy! You reading me is also a gift, make no mistake. Much love and see you next year!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Most of your recall seems to be about memories rather than gifts, which is heartwarming and just goes to show that Christmas is about more than what we gave or what we got. It’s the sharing that’s important. Although I must wonder what would make your parents give you a trash can instead of, say, a blanket, a ball, or some piece of apparel with the Denver Broncos. But I guess they were right since you kept it so long and think so fondly of it.

    Merry Christmas, Nick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nick, and Merry Christmas. I remember being eight years old, watching football in my new football helmet (Atlanta Falcons…I don’t know, probably on sale) with my dad and his buddy Gabby. His real name was Gavigan. I was rooting for the Vikings. I wasn’t a fan of any team at the time, I just thought Vikings were cool. That’s because they are.
    Tonight My wife and I are going to do a little secret santa with our friends, along with some eating and drinking and Christmas movie watching. No one is exactly overt about it but I’m pretty sure my friends carry the memory of these times in their hearts with fondness, just like I do and just like you.
    Got my wish, hope you do too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Kenny! I am honored that you and Basilke Pappa would read my posts, too. You two are both super, and I’m thankful for having gotten to know you both, and a few others, on here a little. Keep writing in 2019!


    1. Thanks Kenny! That’s a great memory. I can remember watching football games around Christmas, too, and the helmet sounds like a fun present. Also, vikings are cool, I agree. And they ran over my hapless Lions yesterday. It sounds like you and your wife are already enjoying the holiday season and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Christmas past for me is the joy and love that was shared with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, and of course us kids. That tradition stopped for many years, but for the past 3 years, it has started back, which is so exciting! One of my greatest Christmas past memories is smelling the food, especially the cakes my grandma cooked. I loved my grandma’s cooking. It was her thing every Christmas to make so many cakes. My favorite was the Red Velvet. One of my all-time favorites was her Oreo pie. No one made it like her and no one ever will. RIP Grandma. Family bonding and family time is so precious and the most rewarding part of all Christmas’s past and future. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’m happy that the tradition has started for you and your family again. I like thinking about my grandma’s cooking, too, especially her cookies. The Oreo pie sounds terrific, too. Thanks, and I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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