Favorite Christmas Memories

ralphieonslideChristmas is almost here. I've already seen advertisements on TBS for their 24 hour playing of “A Christmas Story.” While 24 hours of this movie is a little much, every time I watch it, I remember the first time I watched it with my dad. He laughed so hard he cried at parts that reminded him of his childhood. Christmas is a time when we all like to reflect on past family memories. We at HMC Partners would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of our favorite Christmas memories. We would love to hear yours as well!


My most memorable Christmas was last Christmas spending it at Little Cayman. We had been 3 years prior, but to have my children now college age, the experience was even more enjoyable. It’s also so nice to wake up Christmas in the tropics and the toughest decision was what fruit punch is the most Christmassy! Attending church barefoot, in shorts and listening to the islanders sing Christmas Carols Christmas Eve will forever be remembered.


My father’s father, “Papa,” as we so lovingly referred to him, was a waterman on the Chesapeake Bay. I had the great learning lessons and had the “Tom Sawyer” experience of spending my teenage summers with him and Eddie, my grandmother.

One year at Christmas time, Eddie and Papa came from the water and country to my Greensboro childhood home at 205 Greenway to spend the holidays with us.

Papa would always bring a fresh bushel basket of oysters and I would sit with him for hours watching his leathery, tough, outdoor hands shuck oysters one at a time. It was in these times that we talked of our summer experiences, the water, our dogs, and how wonderful nature is. He loved his life as a waterman, he loved his family, and he loved that “R“ month dish called the oyster.

My memories are of that old man who shared everything he loved with me and showed me how to shuck an oyster on Christmas.


My favorite Christmas memories are from spending Christmas Eve working in my parents’ Western Auto store with my brothers and sister.

One thing I can GUARANTEE that Wal-Mart has never had is the “Annual Christmas Eve Layaway Countdown.” We did a big layaway toy and bike business and beginning the week of Christmas, we’d start calling people to see when they were going to pick up their items. On Christmas Eve morning, one of us would make a big red and green Christmas-tree-shaped number chart on poster board and we’d mark a number off every time someone made a layaway pickup. The sooner they were picked up, the sooner we could close and our Christmas could start. We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve, as soon as the store was closed. (Dad had a special arrangement with Santa to deliver gifts to our house early in the evening, while we were all still at the store.)

Now that I’m an adult, I realize how exhausted my parents must have been by Christmas Eve – they were as excited as I was to go home! Some words of wisdom from my childhood customer service training…don’t forget to buy batteries!


I have a lot of Christmas Memories growing up in Michigan, from our Christmas Eve dinners at Gram’s house to the annual “sweat pant exchange” between cousins on Christmas afternoon. But there is one Christmas when I was around 8 years old that has always stood out in my mind. It started around 8:30 pm on Christmas Eve when my two older brothers started to ask “do you hear jingle bells?” I ran from one window to the next, scanning the sky to see if this year will be the one where I get to see Santa and his reindeer in action. Finally, I went to bed because the fear that Santa would skip our house if I was awake was just too great to risk.

Around 4 am I was abruptly awaken from my sleep.  My middle brother, Mike, who is 5 years older than me had tip-toe down the hall and as he entered my room he picked up speed and jumped into the air. As he flew he yelled “It’s Christmas!” which is all I heard before he landed on me with a thud…quite the way to wake up. Once I recovered, I ran downstairs to see if Santa came.

There I sat looking at the beautiful Christmas tree with stockings full of surprises and presents everywhere! But before we could open one gift we had to wait until my brother, the one who had just woken me up, rolled all his newspapers and went out to deliver the morning paper on his paper route. That was always the longest morning I can ever remember – looking at all the presents and just waiting. The anticipation was horrible. It had snowed overnight so it always seems to take him forever to deliver those papers. Finally, he finished and we were able to open presents and enjoy our Christmas morning together.  That year Santa brought me my Preemie Cabbage Patch kid, Sabrina.  In the end, it was worth the wait!


Looking back at the years, I have had far too many great memories around Christmas time to pick just one as my favorite. From the earliest memories of getting my first motorized Power Wheel and promptly driving it through the living room, knocking down the camera my Dad had rented and set up on a tripod to record the festivities; to the amazement that came over me as I ripped back the paper to unveil my very first Nintendo Gaming System in the basement of my Grandparents townhouse. I have had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas a number of different ways as well. The most traditional way has been with my older sister and parents, other times my Grandparents and other relatives would join us, this past year I was fortunate enough to get to wake up Christmas morning and celebrate with my girlfriend, Robin, and her family.

One of the more unusual Christmases that I have celebrated was when I was in college and my family decided to take a cruise over winter break. We spent Christmas in Costa Maya, Mexico. There were no decorated trees, no presents to unwrap, no eggnog to drink, no hope for a white Christmas. It was just our family enjoying each other’s company and a few shots of tequila as we sat around a table together enjoying the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and the locals who made a living putting on dance performances for all the tourists. It was far from traditional, but probably the most relaxing Christmas I’ve experienced to date. Feliz Navidad!


As a child we travelled to my Grandparents home in Brevard/Asheville area to spend Christmas. It felt as if Christmas lasted forever and each one just as special as the last. My parents and family (all musically inclined) would gather together and play music as a group, so it was always full of energy and festive.

The one Christmas I remember the most was when I was much older and the last year I got to spend with my Grandmother. She loved to make handmade quilts and she had saved some very special ones until all the grandchildren were grown. This year we had to draw numbers to give the order we would get to pick out the quilt we wanted. I was lucky enough to pick the first one out of over 20 quilts. I still have it and cherish the work and love that went into making that quilt.

At times it seems harder to get into the Christmas spirit as it seems to go by much faster than when I was a child. I am grateful for the blessing of having an eight year old daughter and the fantastic opportunity to look at the holidays from the other side of the fence as a mother versus a child. I hope one day she gets to smile at the memories of how special Christmas is for her just as I’m doing right now.

We hope you have enjoyed our Christmas Memories. We are now going to take a break from the blog and our weekly email, so we can spend time with our families and make new memories. We will resume the blog and emails after the first of the year. Until then, we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!