Readers of The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter were asked to send in personal stories about favorite Christmas memories.  The original intent was to use some of them on The Gospel Greats broadcast which aired Christmas weekend, 2010.  This was, in fact, done. However, we received so many of them that we wanted to share more of them with you through this special section of our website.  Enjoy perusing these Christmas stories.  And perhaps they will bring to mind some of your own favorite Christmas memories.

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"I guess my favorite Christmas memory would be the Christmas that Richard and I spent in Arizona. The year was 1998 and my mother had passed away in May. My heart was very heavy and I wanted to be with family, so we made arrangements with Amtrak and traveled to Yuma, Arizona to spent Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law. We had a wonderful time and the pain and loneliness of a loved one passing was temporarily healed. I am always glad that I got to spend that Christmas in Arizona with them." — Jane Hitchcock
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"I'll never forget the first Christmas when we moved into our new home back in 1968. My parents had moved from a small bungalow to a bigger side split home in Burlington, Ontario. We did not have drapes on our front bow window because the drapes from the old home were not enough to cover the windows, so my Mom made sure there were some shears on it for some privacy and coverage. Christmas was humble that year as I guess we could not afford much in the way of presents, but my parents made sure there was a Christmas Tree there in the living room. It was a store-bought silver aluminum tree about five feet tall and sure enough, it was all decorated with blue and silver balls and furry little birds clipped onto the edges of the "make believe" Christmas Tree. Well my mom made sure it looked ever so pretty and sparkly, we did not even care that it wasn't a free green spruce tree or any other tree. The idea that Mom filled the home with smells of Christmas like the food she was cooking, Christmas decorations out and our little tree adorned with as many bright and colourful things she could find. And now guess what? I have that little silver tree in our family now that I am married, and when we put it up, the memories come flooding in as I remember all of us sitting around that tree and taking pictures on Christmas Day! Little is much in the eyes of the Lord and I now can appreciate the love and devotion that my Mother had in sharing Christ with us. Although my Mom passed away in 1996, I still keep her close in her heart and thought each day! And to all a blessed and happy Merry Christmas." — Brenda J. Kecskes, Milton, ON, Canada
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"We are the parents of three wonderful kids: David (17), Timmy (14) and Rebekah (12). When Timmy was about two or three years old, he decided that we needed to have a birthday cake for Jesus since it IS His birthday, after all. We even had to sing Happy Birthday to Him. We loved it. He continued to ask me to bake Jesus a cake each year after that. Even now, that he is 14 yrs old, he still expects us to bake a cake for Jesus.

"I eventually found a song called "Happy Birthday, Jesus" and began singing it in church. Our kids sang it with me for quite some time also. Our kids look forward to the birthday cake and the special meaning behind it every year. My husband makes a point to read the Christmas Story from the Bible each Christmas Eve (something that was NEVER done when I was growing up) along with "The Night Before Christmas". We have several wonderful traditions in our family, but the birthday cake is everyone's favorite." — Toni Holt, Waverly, OH
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"Paul, I would like to share our family's Christmas tradition. When all of us were young and when myself and my two other adopted brothers were still at home, it was the family tradition to go and get a real tree. The tree would go up on December 19th or 20th but we never decorated it until the 21st, as that was my mom's birthday. When Mom was alive and we were older we all tried to get home, too. After the family dinner, Mom would sit on the floor and unwrap all the glass decorations one by one and hand them to myself, my brothers and my sisters to put on the tree. This of course was accompanied with Christmas sweets and eggnog (no alcohol, of course). After the completion, Mom would open her presents. Now when my wife and I put up our tree it is accompanied with a glass of eggnog and a toast to all of God's goodness to us." — Stan Campbell, Cobourg, ON, Canada
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"Norwegian’s have an unusual Yuletide tradition called "yule-bookin." We dress up in warm, unusual clothes (wear a mask or a scarf) and while visiting neighbors perform musical numbers, carols or skits, and they in turn have to guess who you are. When they guess your name, you are invited in for coffee, Christmas goodies and visiting. My father would use this opportunity of visiting people to bring in the true meaning of the Christmas story of Jesus.

"One year we "borrowed" the neighbor girls to help disguise our family. Dad dressed up in my great-grandmother’s wool knitted black and orange skirt, with a black cape over his shoulders, and borrowed a cane, walking hunched over. He was 6’2" and my mother was 5’2". Since I was the only child, we were pretty easy to guess. However, with the neighbor girls along, who were also singers, we had quite an amazing amount of fun singing songs to the neighbors. It usually took awhile for people to guess who was visiting them. The warm, laughter, hospitality and friendships formed made a lasting impression on my memory." — NanciMae, Omaha, NE
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"My most wonderful Christmas was in 1972, when the love of my life, Joe Jones married me. Yes, it was on Christmas day. My dad had asked me to please wait until the 26th, or even do it on the 24th, but not Christmas day, but I knew if we didn't get married on Christmas, then he might never remember my anniversary. I thank God that my daddy allowed us to go ahead and get married that wonderful day in the living room of my parents home. The whole wedding only cost $36.00 and it is still together today." — Patty Jones
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"Two Christmases stand out for me. The first is when my baby sister would be celebrating her last Christmas with Santa. That one was really meaningful and Santa brought all of us kids gifts that year. The other one was during the Vietnam War. My older brother was in the Navy and had not been able to make it home for several years. This particular year he was coming home and I knew Mama and Daddy were really happy. Mama needed a new washing machine and my brother, two sisters and myself "bought" her one. We paid a down payment, signed the bill, and handed it over on Christmas morning to Mama. My brother drove up to the house with the washer in the back of his van and we all trudged out to the curb to see Mama's present. That washing machine is still going strong today, some 35 years later." — Sylvia Purvis, Ethel, MS
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"My favorite Christmas memory is that even though there was not much money in our family of eight, every Christmas Mom would buy a new wig for my sisters and my doll and make new clothing including socks for them. It was like getting a new doll." — Joyce Wagner
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"I'll never forget the Christmas when my two sisters and I strung popcorn and cranberries to decorate our tree and afterwards we sat on the floor around it looking at the "bubble lights" while we sang Christmas Carols. We then decided we were going to go out "Christmas Caroling," just the 3 of us for some neighbors. We had such a good time. I don't remember if we got any gifts that year or not, but we didn't mind. We just enjoyed the popcorn balls Mom made and the goodie bags with fruit and a candy bar that we got at Church every year. There were times the three of us would share a gift, like a hairdryer one year, the kind that had a hose to a cap that went over our curlers. Happy memories are the best gifts of all. I am 60 yrs old now and have nothing but happy memories of my childhood. Praise the Lord! My father was an evangelist so I was blessed with Christian parents." — Kathleen Axsom, Bloomington, IN


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