I asked our readers to share a favorite holiday memory. From funny to heartfelt stories, this is what they told us:
Two new babies for Christmas
Carole Laycock of Fairfield recalled the holiday season always being special around her household growing up, but the Christmas of 1946 when she was four years old was one for the books.
“I was in my bedroom playing later that day when my father bolted into my room saying he had seen someone in a red suit with a white beard running off our front porch,” Laycock wrote. “My heart pounded wildly as I grabbed his hand and we ran to peer out the window at the front door. On the porch was a beautiful blue doll buggy with a baby doll inside. There were other gifts on the porch floor. That’s when I panicked. What was happening? Santa was not supposed to come until it was dark and I was asleep.”
She recalled they brought the buggy, doll and gifts inside for her to open up.
“I happily went to bed that night holding my new baby doll,” Laycock said. “The next morning I woke up and found my Uncle Clyde sitting in a chair in our living room. He told me he was taking me to grandma’s house because my parents had gone to the hospital to get the new baby we were waiting for. Later that day I learned my sister Jane had arrived. A baby sister. Just what I had hoped!”
Santa had made a surprise visit to Laycock’s front porch because her mother was going into labor and wanted to see her open her gifts before she went to the hospital.
“That and the TWO new babies made a Christmas memory that will last forever,” Laycock said.
Making cranberry sauce
When Tina Osso of Hamilton was young, her responsibility in preparation for the holiday feast was to make cranberry sauce.
“We had this old metal hand grinder, normally used to grind meat, with a funnel shaped top, a side spout and a clamp bottom you could screw onto a table, counter top or in my case, the utility sinks in the basement between the washer and dryer,” Osso wrote. “I would wash and strain bags of fresh cranberries and half a dozen or so oranges.”
She explained the process of making the cranberry sauce that her mother mentored her through.
“I can’t describe the flavorful, almost musical, aroma of this homemade amalgamation: the cadence of scooping, cranking, stuffing, cranking, pouring and mixing was calming and instantly filled the laundry room with holiday spirit,” Osso wrote.
Her mother would have been 102 years old this year.
“She left this earth 20 years ago, and I am so thankful to her for giving me these memories, filling that hole in my heart with her love, even all these years later,” Osso wrote.
The gingerbread man ornament
Rick Chamberlin of Centerville shared that his oldest son, Jason, took a bite out of a gingerbread man ornament hanging on the tree when he was three years old.
The ornament was made of wax, but to Jason it looked like a cookie. He took it off and bit into it, Chamberlin recalled.
“Realizing it wasn’t a cookie he stopped biting, but his teeth marks were left on the ornament,” Chamberlin wrote. “Jason is 42 now, but we still have the ornament and hang it up every year and relive that memory.”
The last Christmas together
Ruth M. Lawson of Springfield lost her husband when her children were nine and 11 years old. The last Christmas they spent all together is one of her favorite memories to share.
“My husband was a schoolteacher, and on Thanksgiving weekend when schools were closed for the holiday, our family would go to Lazarus in downtown Columbus to begin our Christmas shopping,” Lawson wrote. “What made the trip to the downtown Lazarus store was the Children’s Shop that the store had constructed. This was a place within the children’s department that was made so that children could shop for their family and friends. It was off limits to adults. We would wait just outside of the Children’s Shop for our son and daughter to emerge with whatever gifts they decided to get for each other and for other family and friends.”
She noted her son was unhappy about having to spend all of his money on gifts for other people because the Children’s Shop had great gifts for boys around his age. That year, he bought his sister a twirling baton and “she played with that baton more than any other gift that she received.”
“That was our last Christmas trip to Columbus for Christmas shopping. The next Christmas was spent in Colorado with my family, and my husband died the following summer. I will always remember that last Christmas shopping trip to Columbus because it was a time that our two children were the most excited that they could shop for gifts on their own.
Holidays are about more than getting gifts
Bill Fredericks of Washington Twp. in Montgomery County was the oldest of seven kids. He said they were very poor growing up as his parents divorced when he was seven.
“Mom was a miracle worker simply putting food on the table as this happened before welfare and food stamps,” Fredericks wrote. “Mom did her best to teach us that the holiday was about more than getting gifts. She loved baking and we baked a large batch of multiple kinds of cookies.”
As the oldest, Fredericks had the job of putting the cookies on their neighbor’s front doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away.
“It was such fun, I try to give to the less fortunate every holiday,” Fredericks wrote.
Remembering grandpa’s house
Susan Groves of Springfield said her family used to gather at her Grandpa Gaier’s house on Christmas Eve.
“He had 28 grandchildren in total, but probably about 20 of us back then,” Groves wrote. “He had presents for everyone and with his shock of white hair and white mustache he could have been Santa Claus. His Christmas tree had the bubble lights we all loved and constantly wanted to touch. The house was full of food, laughter and lots of kids in every room!”
She said this was a bittersweet memory for her family because he passed away in his home on Christmas Eve.
A Christmas Poem
Rowena Sparks of West Carrollton has been writing poems since she was 8 years old. In 1969, when she was 29 she wrote the following poem about her grandma’s house on Christmas Day.
“These were the Christmases best of all. The things I remember when I was small.
We’d gather at grandma’s on Christmas Day and around the tree our presents lay.
Gee but time passed slow, must of been an hour or so.
Then grandma, her little bell would ring and in her joyous voice she would sing, “Let us bow our heads and pray. Let us give thanks upon this day.”
And just as soon as the prayer was done, we’d grab our plates and to the kitchen run.
We’d pile our plates oh so high and eat so much we’d nearly die.
Soon the children were heard to say, “We’d like our gifts now if we may.”
The gifts were small, but we didn’t care. It was just so nice that we could share.
All the blessings on Christmas Day and celebrate in the old fashioned way.
These were the Christmases best of all, the things that I remember when I was small.”