Honey Trail Christmas Memories – Our Anthology


Do you have a cherished Christmas memory, favorite Christmas tradition, or perhaps you are beginning new ones, first ones, for your family.   Please share on this thread so we can have a gathering of memories by hikers on the Trail.   After all, it is our first Christmas together, and it gives us a way to get further acquainted.


23 Responses to Honey Trail Christmas Memories – Our Anthology

  1. yomotley says:



    This is a great idea. May I request those that recently posted their memories on “Mail Boxes and Old Barn” copy and paste them here on this thread? It would be special to have all the memories and stories and experiences all “under one roof”.

    Also, as this post fades down the page (bumped by newer posts) simply click on the Christmas picture on right hand side of page. For those that spend time during this season with bedridden and/or aged folks, these stories will be something special to read aloud to them. I am sure it will lead to these loved ones sharing their own history and having someone interested will make this a special Christmas for them.

    (Reminder: The prayer candle still works and takes messages/requests)




  2. ZMalfoy says:



    Christmas Forcefield!!! Only the awesomest tradition evar!!!!11!!

    Okay, here’s the story:

    Growing up, Mom and Dad sang (actually, they still do) in our Church Choir. Our choir sings at both the Midnight Mass (starts at midnight), and the 10:30 am Mass Christmas morning. As you can imagine, they were both wanting to get as much sleep as possible Christmas morning. My big bro and I, however, were 5 and 7 years old, respectively, and didn’t want to wait for the parents.

    So parents had a genius idea (can you tell Dad writes Science Fiction?): Christmas Forcefield. Christmas forcefield is a barrier, erected every Christmas eve after the gifts are under the tree, and it’s different every year. Lights, ribbons, wrapping paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, anything you can think of to make a thin barrier in the doorways that’s relatively easy to take down.

    The Forcefield, we were told as kids, was programmed to only repel human children– cats and dogs could pass through the little holes at the bottom to problem. But if we broke through before time was up, all the presents would dissapear.

    Time was up after everyone who was coming over for the day had gone to Church and then arrived at our house. No Church, no taking down the forcefield. In the meantime, we were allowed to access our stockings, which were by the fireplace, conviniently outside the forcefield.

    This was how our parents kept us from going insane Christmas morning. When we were in high school, the parents mentioned that it might not happen one year. Me and my brothers all protested, and said that we’d put it up ourselves if we had to.

    Well, we’ve still got the forcefield, and we’ve all vowed to continue the tradition when we have kiddies of our own.



    • yomotley says:



      Oh my, I am passing this on to all the young families I know! Your parents are geniuses!



      • zmalfoy says:



        Yes, they are. Even adults who’ve sorta been adopted by our family for Christmas morning make it a point to come over in time for seeing and taking down Christmas Forcefield. When we were little, we thought Santa was the one putting it up– we now know how much effort my Mom puts into making each year’s forcefield different from any that’s come before.

        As kids, we also used our Star Wars plastic Lightsabres to take it down. Now it’s an assortment of staves and actual (although sheathed) swords. It’s an excersise in awesomeness! That delights all ages, and allows us (I now sing in the choir, too) to sleep in, have Church, and have a full Christmas experience. ^___^

        I hope, when I’m an old granny, that Christmas Forcefield has become as established in American Christmas tradition as cookies and milk for Santa. I tell everyone about this, and a lot of people have said, “Oh, we’ve got to do that at our house!”

        Hurrah for Techno!Santa!!!



    • emmajeri1010 says:



      That’s great!



    • Pat P says:



      I am definitely passing this one on to my daughter and her husband! Hubby and boys are Star Wars fans, so this fits right in. Thanks for sharing such a great story.



  3. JRD says:



    I grew up the oldest in a family of 12 children. We would drive my parents crazy between Thanksgiving and Christmas because we were stuck in the house because of inclement weather. Naturally there were quarrels caused by the pent up anxiety and unreleased energy. Some of us who were older and didn’t believe in Santa any longer would be on a mission to discover the places where all of the gifts were hidden.

    One year my mother decided she had had it with us and decided to start a new tradition where you had to perform a good deed every day for your Christmas gift to the Baby Jesus. She sent my brothers out to the feed store to purchase a bale of hay. Every time you performed an act of kindness you placed a piece of hay in the manger to build Baby Jesus’ bed. There was a catch. Your good deeds had to be done in secret. Every Saturday during the year my Mom would make up a schedule for each child’s chores for the week. It was always a great place to find good ideas for acts of kindness you could perform for others. Consequently, there was always laughter instead of fighting because of the secrets you were keeping. It made the house a pleasant place to be for Advent. This little game got so popular that all of our friends wanted to be over at our house so they could play along also. God bless my mother. She never minded. To this day all of our childhood friends are always at my mom’s house during the Christmas visit home to visit their parents. All of my siblings have carried on this tradition with their own families. Several years ago I came upon a short story which reminded me of my mom’s tradition. Now we read the story first in the beginning of Advent before we begin each year.


    By: Paula McDonald

    To truly share this season of love and laughter, even a little boy must first discover Christmas in his heart….

    Everyone, unfortunately, was cooped up in the house that typical gray winter afternoon. And, as usual, the four little McNeals were at it again, teasing each other, squabbling, bickering, and always fighting over their toys.

    At times like this, Ellen was almost ready to believe that her children didn’t love each other, even though she knew that wasn’t true. All brothers and sisters fight sometimes, of course, but lately her lively little bunch had been particularly horrid to each other, especially Eric and Kelly, who were only a year apart. The two of them seemed determined to spend the whole long winter making each other miserable.

    “Give me that. It’s mine!” Kelly screamed, her voice shrill.

    It is not! I had it first,” Eric answered stubbornly.

    Ellen sighed as she listened to the latest argument. With Christmas only a month away, the house seemed sadly lacking in Christmas spirit. This was supposed to be the season of sharing and love, of warm feelings and happy hearts. A home needed more than just pretty packages and twinkling lights on a tree to fill the holidays with joy.

    Ellen had only one idea. Years ago, her grandmother had told her about an old custom that helped people discover the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps it would work for her family this year. It was certainly worth a try.

    She gathered the children together and lined them up on the couch, tallest to smallest – Eric, Kelly, Lisa and Mike.

    “How would you kids like to start a new Christmas tradition this year?” she asked. “It’s like a game, but it can only be played by people who can keep a secret. Can everyone here do that?

    “I can!” shouted Eric.

    “I can keep a secret better than him!” yelled Kelly.

    “I can do it!” chimed in Lisa.

    “Me too. Me too,” squealed little Mike. “I’m big enough.”

    “Well then, this is how the game works,” Ellen explained. “This year we’re going to surprise Baby Jesus when He comes on Christmas Eve by making Him the softest bed in the world. We’re going to fill a little crib with straw to make it comfortable. But here’s the secret part. The straw we put in will measure the good deeds we’ve done, but we won’t tell anyone who we’re doing them for.”

    The children looked confused. “But how will Jesus know it’s His bed!” Kelly asked.

    “He’ll know,” said Ellen. “He’ll recognize it by the love we put in to make it soft.”

    “But who will we do the good deed for?” asked Eric, still a little confused.

    “We’ll do them for each other. Once a week we’ll put all of our names in a hat, Daddy’s and mine too. Then we’ll each pick out a different name. Whoever’s name we draw, we’ll do kind things for that person for a whole week. But you can’t tell anyone else whose name you’ve chosen. We’ll each try to do as many favors for our special person as we can without getting caught. And for every good deed we do, we’ll put another straw in the crib.”

    “Like being a spy!” squealed Lisa.

    “But what if I pick someone’s name that I don’t like?” Kelly frowned.

    Ellen thought about that for a minute. “Maybe you could use an extra fat piece of straw. And think how much faster the fat straws will fill up our crib. We’ll use the cradle in the attic,” she said. “And we can all go to the field behind the school for the straw.”

    Without a single argument, the children bundled into their wool hats and mittens, laughing and tumbling out of the house. The field had been covered with tall grass in summer, but now, dead and dried, the golden stalks looked just like real straw. They carefully selected handfuls and placed them in the large box they had carried with them.

    “That’s enough,” Ellen laughed when the box was almost overflowing. “Remember it’s only a small cradle.”

    So home they went to spread their straw carefully on a large tray Ellen never used. Eric, because he was the eldest, was given the responsibility of climbing into the attic and bringing down the cradle.

    “We’ll pick names as soon as Daddy comes home for dinner, Ellen said, unable to hide a smile at the thought of Mark’s pleased reaction to the children’s transformed faces and their voices, filled now with excited anticipation rather than annoyance.

    At the supper table that night, six pieces of paper were folded, shuffled and shaken around in Mark’s furry winter hat, and the drawing began. Kelly picked a name first and immediately started to giggle. Lisa reached into the hat next, trying hard to look like a serious spy. Mike couldn’t read yet, so Mark whispered the name in his ear. Then Mike quickly ate his little wad of paper so no one would ever learn the identity of his secret person. Eric was the next to choose, and as he unfolded his scrap of paper, a frown creased his forehead. But he stuffed the name quickly into his pocket and said nothing. Ellen and Mark selected names and the family was ready to begin.

    The week that followed was filled with surprises; it seemed the McNeal house had suddenly been invaded by an army of invisible elves. Kelly would walk into her room at bedtime to find her nightgown neatly laid out and her bed turned down. Someone cleaned up the sawdust under the workbench without being asked. The jelly blobs magically disappeared from the kitchen counter after lunch one day while Ellen was out getting the mail. And every morning, when Eric was brushing his teeth, someone crept quietly into his room and made the bed. It wasn’t made perfectly, but it was made. That particular little elf must have had short arms because he couldn’t seem to reach the middle.

    “Where are my shoes?” Mark asked one morning. No one seemed to know, but suddenly, before he left for work, they were back in the closet again, freshly shined.

    Ellen noticed other changes during that week too. The children weren’t teasing or fighting as much. An argument would start, and then suddenly stop right in the middle for no apparent reason. Even Eric and Kelly seemed to be getting, along better and bickering less. In fact, there were times when all the children could be seen smiling secret smiles and giggling to themselves. And slowly, one by one, the first straws began to appear in the little crib. Just a few, then a few more each day. By the end of the first week, a little pile had accumulated.

    Everyone was anxious to pick new names and this time there was more laughter and merriment than there had been the first time. Except for Eric. Once again, he unfolded his scrap of paper, glanced at it, and stuffed it in his pocket without a word.

    The second week brought more astonishing events, and the little pile of straw in the manger grew higher and softer. There was more laughter, less teasing, and hardly any arguments could be heard around the house. Only Eric had been unusually quiet, and sometimes Ellen would catch him looking a little sad. But the straws in the manger continued to pile up.

    At last, it was almost Christmas. They chose names for the final time on the night before Christmas Eve. As the sat around the table waiting for the last set of names to be shaken in the hat, the children smiled as they looked at their hefty pile of straws. They all knew it was comfortable and soft, but there was one day left and they could still make it a little deeper, a little softer, and they were going to try.

    For the last time the hat was passed around the table. Mike Picked out a name, and again quickly ate the paper as he had done each week. Lisa unfolded hers carefully under the table, peeked at it and then hunched up her little shoulders, smiling. Kelly reached into the hat and grinned from ear to ear when she saw the name. Ellen and Mark each took their turn and handed the hat with the last name to Eric. As he unfolded the scrap of paper and glanced at it, his face crumpled and he seemed about to cry. Without a word, he turned and ran from the room.

    Everyone immediately jumped up from the table, but Ellen stopped them. “No!” Stay where you are,” she said firmly. “I’ll go.”

    In his room, Eric was trying to pull on his coat with one hand while he picked up a small cardboard suitcase with the other.

    “I’ll have to leave,” he said quietly through his tears. “If I don’t, I’ll spoil Christmas.”

    “But why? And where are you going?”

    “I can sleep in my snow fort for a couple of days. I’ll come home right after Christmas. I promise.”

    Ellen started to say something about freezing and snow and no mittens or boots, but Mark, who had come up behind her, gently laid his hand on her arm and shook his head. The front door closed, and together they watched from the window as the little figure with the sadly slumped shoulders trudged across the street and sat down on a snow bank near the corner. It was dark outside, and cold, and a few flurries drifted down on the small boy and his suitcase.

    “Give him a few minutes alone,” said Mark quietly. I think he needs that. Then you can talk to him.”

    The huddled figure was already dusted with white when Ellen walked across the street and sat down beside him on the snow bank.

    “What is it, Eric? You’ve been so good these last weeks, but I know something’s been bothering you since we first started the crib. Can you tell me, honey?”

    Ah, Mom . . . don’t you see?” he sniffled. “I tried so hard, but I can’t do to it anymore, and now I’m going to wreck Christmas for everybody. With that, he burst into sobs and threw himself into his mother s arms.

    “Mom.” The little boy choked. “You just don’t know, I got Kelly’s name every time! And I hate Kelly! I tried Mom. I really did. I snuck in her room every night and fixed her bed. I even laid out her crummy nightgown. I let her use my race car one day, but she smashed it right into the wall like always! Every week, when we picked names, I thought it would be over. Tonight,

    when I got her name again, I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. If I try, I’ll probably punch her instead. If I stay home and beat Kelly up. I’ll spoil Christmas for everyone.”

    The two of them sat there, together, quietly for a few minutes and then Ellen spoke softly. “Eric I’m so proud of you. Every good deed you did should count double because it was hard for you to be nice to Kelly for so long, but you did those good deeds anyway, one straw at a time. You gave your love when it wasn’t easy to give. And maybe that’s what the spirit of Christmas is really all about. And maybe it’s the hard good deeds and the difficult straws that make that little crib special. You’re the one who’s probably added the most important straws this year.” Ellen paused, stroking the head pressed tightly against her shoulder. “Now, how would you like a chance to earn a few easy straws like the rest of us? I still have the name I picked in my pocket, and I haven’t looked at it yet. Why don’t we switch, for the last day? And it will be our secret.”

    Eric lifted his head and looked into her face, his eyes wide. “That’s not cheating?”

    “It’s not cheating.” And together they dried the tears, brushed off the snow, and walked back to the house.

    The next day, the whole family was busy, cooking and straightening up the house for Christmas Day, wrapping last minute presents and trying hard to keep from bursting with excitement. But even with all the activity and eagerness, a flurry of new straws piled up in the crib, and by nightfall the little manger was almost overflowing. At different times while passing by, each member of the family, big and small, would pause and look at the wondrous pile for a moment, then smile before going on. But . . . who could really know? One more straw still might make a difference.

    For that reason, just before bedtime, Ellen tiptoed quietly to Kelly’s room to lay out the little blue nightgown and turn down the bed. But she stopped in the doorway surprised. Someone had already been there. The nightgown was laid across the bed, and a small red race car had been placed next to it on the pillow.

    The last straw was Eric’s after all.





    I’m sorry to be a disappointment, but the only specific Christmas memory I have of my childhood happened the year I tried to pretend I was marching in an important procession, singing “O, Come, All Ye Faithful,” at the top of my 12-year old lungs…until the candle I was carrying set my bangs on fire.



    • emmajeri1010 says:



      That is not a disappointment! Made me bust up while there were still tears on my cheeks from the one just above.





      Oh so funny….now.





      Warm Christmas memories, true–just not fuzzy. Frizzy!



    • Pat P says:



      Frankly, that is so funny!

      It reminds me of the church Christmas pageant when I was about 11 or 12. My girlfriend Pam wore a crown of lit candles while walking into the sanctuary. I think she was supposed to be Saint Lucy. I can’t imagine why they let her wear candles on her head, but it all turned out okay.





      Just finished listening, on Pandora radio, to a splendid choral version of “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” in which rendition I joined most enthusiastically. I was also able, with extreme difficulty, to keep myself from rushing right out into the kitchen and lighting a candle to carry for the “parade”!



  5. sundancecracker says:



    It is perhaps appropriate to consider that every Christmas many people hope for the best but may expect the worst. Some may not have been as emotionally fortunate as ourselves, nor have they ever enjoyed the abundance of unconditional family love. Indeed this time of year can be challenging for many people we have grown to care about.

    As bells ring out and carols echo everywhere, we should not be surprised if some of our friends spirits take a nosedive. It isn’t that they don’t understand the meaning of Christmas, or that they reject it, but rather that the idealized version of what Christmas ‘should be’ has often times been denied. Some may come to resent the fact that all this good cheer seems to be for other people, not them. Their experiences may have had little to do with family togetherness around a glowing fireplace, loving conversation, and delighted laughter. Such descriptive scenes can feel like an affront if there has been no family closeness, perhaps no gifts, and little or no overt love.

    For them it’s wrenching when their own experience clashes so painfully with advertised reality!

    But we can support those friends by reminding them of our unconditional love, and support, and that every day -every holiday- is a chance for new experience. Support their effort today to create the good cheer that was never created for them. It’s too late to change yesterday’s disappointment, but, if we choose, we can make this holiday season the one we’ll remember.

    Perhaps by us reflecting internally toward our own light and compassion we can help a troubled soul make a conscious decision to leave past Christmases in the past. Helping everyone to see today, and honoring their efforts for a new celebration.

    God Bless, and Merry Christmas



  6. Library Countess says:



    I don’t remember anything spectacular (or otherwise) from Christmas when I was growing up. Not sure why, cuz I know we had every one!

    When I had children of my own, for the daughter’s first Christmas I singlehandedly erased the entire national debt. Then her brother came along and I had to cut back a bit. :D

    As they got older we would read the Luke 2 Christmas story to them before they were allowed downstairs. They were also not allowed to go downstairs before 7 a.m., nor were they to approach their parents before 6:45 a.m. That was absolute, sheer torture for DD, and it didn’t stop the little dears from making lots of noise with every upstairs light ablaze in the hopes of rousing mom and dad early.

    When they were a bit older, on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day… all household food “rules” were suspended. I provided all kinds of healthy (and … gasp… some unhealthy) goodies — both those days became Mom’s “days off”, and when you wanted to eat, you made it yourself. If you chose to eat nothing but chips and/or cookies … no sweat, my pet.

    And now, every year when the kids and I gather at Christmas, this is what they remember!



  7. sundancecracker says:



    When I was 9 I begged, pleaded, cajoled, nagged, and for about 3 months kept being downright annoying with my request for a new bike. I had my big sisters hand-me-down. I wanted a “cool” chopper bike for jumping stuff and tearing up the hood with my crew of misfit ‘he-man-woman-hater-club’ chums. Yeah, we had secret forts, codewords, blood oaths, the works…. Everyone had a cool bike for fast getaways after a long day of “Eddie Haskel” type nieghborhood tomfoolery. Everyone, but me that is….

    ….. After a long night without sleep suffering in nervous anticipation of the elves telling Santa all my misgivings, and my promising every spiritual soul in the universe that I would forever be a better kid, I awoke Christmas morning to find a shiney new bright red chopper next to the tree. Yesssssss !! Wahoooooo….. Thanks Santa… I shot off down he road to show the rest of my crew….. ringing every doorbell up and down the street, skidding to a slide at every stop and smacking the snow all around. Wahoooooo…… who’s better than me ?…… NOBODY!!! Yet in my excitement I had no time for delay. If they didn’t come to the door within 30 seconds, I was off to my next stop… ‘times-a-wastin’. After 4 or 5 stops I still had not been able to round up a cohort.. Indeed, not a single door was answered. So around sunrise I rode back home. Errrr… yep, you read that right… “around sunrise”.

    Mom and Dad were mysteriously waiting on the front porch, looking none to happy about my adventure, and definately not sharing in my Christmas Spirit. It appears Mr. and Mrs. Sweeny (Sean’s mom and dad), and various other “Sweeny’s” were not pleased with my early morning 5am doorbell ringing and affectionately reminded Mom and Dad via phone.

    Sheeeesh, what a bunch of “Grinches”.



    • jimbojimmierayjimbob says:



      Schwinn Stingray? Got mine at Christmas when I was in the sixth grade (1963). What a great time to be a kid.



  8. Kristi says:



    My favorite Christmas was when I was in high school, we went to Ireland.

    My dad is from there and his whole family lives there. (big Irish Catholic family) My dad grew up in a little town on the ocean. Its GORGEOUS.

    Ireland doesnt celebrate Christmas like we do.. there arent massive amounts of presents. My granddad had never had a ‘Christmas’ tree before. But he got us a really small one so the American grandkids would feel at home. He didn’t have ornaments so we made them.

    Our presents were just little things like a candy bar. It was the best Christmas. My dad warned us this wasnt going to be a big American Christmas.. dont expect a bunch of gifts.

    It was the greatest Christmas.. it was just family having a great day with our home made Christmas tree.

    Our tradition when I was a kid was my dad would take us to the mall on Christmas eve with only an hour left before it closed. He would say..” You can have anything you want.. the catch is’…(every year was different) it has to be green.. or it can only be 1 thing (so a pair of shoes was out.. ect..) It was hilarious. We NEVER got anything. He would sit back and laugh at us running through the mall not being about to make up our minds.

    He then took us home and there were envelopes of money on the fireplace waiting for us. He knew we wouldn’t find anything at the mall. We still laugh at that.




  10. sundancecracker says:



    Our 2010 Christmas. Merry Christmas,…..

    It started with whispers long before dawn,

    Two boys in their blankies, who dispatched their yawn.

    It grew into smiles, then giggles and awe,

    The milk cup was empty, no cookies they saw.

    Santa had come, how lucky we be,

    Santa is awesome, he loaded the tree.

    Rudolph ate the carrots and left quite a mess,

    Mom wasn’t grumpy? strange that… I confess.

    A frenzy of giggles and smiles led to squeels,

    Buttons, and zippers, and cool stuff with wheels.

    Bits of colorful paper all covered with bows

    Were soon piling high around papas cold toes.

    A fresh cuppa joe for a Mom and a Pop

    Were all that was needed so we didn’t stop.

    The colorful paper hid the loot from our wishes

    A belly thats full and a kitchen of dishes.

    Mom sat with dad and they smiled at our glee

    We raided the loot round the colorful tree.

    We tried to be patient as each watched the other

    But soon came a frenzy of sister to brother.

    Mom and Dad soon gave up on the turns we were taking

    We wore em’ out quick…. must be tired from the baking.

    Santa was great with abundance this year,

    Its not about stuff, but the stuff does bring cheer.

    PaPa was here for the first in a while

    To share in our Christmas and show us his smile.

    Pa had’nt smiled much, not for quite a few years

    Not since he lost Grandma and all of those tears.

    But this one was nicer with him on the couch

    Somethin’ was different, no-one was a grouch.

    It didn’t have nuthin’ to do with the stuff

    More likely that Mom had her dad than the fluff.

    A backdrop of flashes recorded the glee

    PaPa the camera man catching the tree.

    Sis got her movies, some sniffs, and some clothes,

    some boots, and her girly things covered in bows.

    Two brothers made out as such brotherly boys,

    No time for the sweaters they’re hunting for toys.

    Priorities different each with a slant

    But Santa was smart and their wishes did grant.

    So after a while, and the bits, and the mess

    We began to assemble, take pause and assess.

    Yea,….. We’re lucky this year and our Santa did see

    that our wishes were met, and stuffed under the tree.

    Papa was here for the joy and the smiles,

    A wonderous treat from those limiting miles.

    Mommy and Daddy all snuggled with love,

    God’s joy and abundance in gifts from above.

    -Sundance 2010