My Best-Ever Christmas Gift
By Mary Becelia

I was newly 9 and obsessed with scary stories. My family had moved to Iceland a few months earlier, where witches and elves are believed by the locals to be quite common. As the longest nights of the year descended upon us, there was sunlight for only a scant five or so hours of every 24 hours. What better setting to discover Alfred Hitchcock’s short story collection: Stories to Tell with the Lights On? Snuggled in my bed, or in a cozy rocker, I spent hours scaring myself half to death with this collection that I got that year for Christmas.


Always Have Sense
Cheryl Carter

Twelve years ago my daughter, who was 4 at the time, gave me a small gold foil box — the sort of box jewelry is given. Inside she had taped eight shiny copper pennies to the bottom. As I lifted the top, she proudly exclaimed, “It’s so you always have cents!”

I laughed hysterically not only because she was so proud of herself, but also because her proclamation reminded me to “always have sense.” She had no idea how valuable her gift was to me. While I appreciated her effort to give me what had worth to her, I cherished the message even more. To this day, I keep the box of eight taped pennies on my jewelry box to remind me each day to focus on what matters, to stay sane and “always have sense.”

My First White Christmas
Sheila Giscard

My most memorable Christmas was my first white Christmas. I was 12. We lived in Massachusetts and the calm, quiet and stillness of the trees — heavy with snow — was awe-inspiring. That sight stays with me to this day.

Tis’ the Sniffles
Brenda Sapanghila

One of my fondest Christmas memories happened only two years ago. I am admittedly the type of person that goes all out for every holiday; Christmas is no exception. Since Christmas 2013 was my youngest child’s first Christmas, I wanted it to be extra special! Add to that fact that my oldest was 2 and just starting to believe in magic and you have a recipe for Christmas overload. We met every Santa, went to every party, and made every craft I came across on Pinterest. By the time the big day approached, we were all a little exhausted … and sick. Both boys had come down with RSV!  Normally, we spend Christmas visiting my husband’s extended family, and my family. It’s a lot of hustle, merriment and driving. That year was different. Christmas day was spent with just the four of us — snuggling, enjoying the magic and just relishing in each other’s company.

Bearry Christmas
Stephanie Muldonado

Growing up, my mom collected holiday bears that were sold at a local store and imprinted with the year on the paw. My brother and I always loved playing with the bears. Several years ago, my mom decided to pass the bears along to our family for our children to enjoy. We have tons of them and the kids play nonstop until, of course, they fall asleep as in this photo of my littlest love.