Stories abound all surrounding the magic, the miracle, and the mystical of Christmas. Today I am sharing a few of the stories that I have found over the years....
Christmas With Louise
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking his list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.
One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on my sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Walmart! I had to go to an adult book store downtown. WARNING......If
you've never been in a X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like "What does this do?", "You're kidding me!", and "Who would buy that?"
Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck, so I
could use the carpool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry.
I settled on 'Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination. On Christmas Eve, with the
help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan, and let me into her home during the wee morning hours, long after Santa
Claus had come and gone. I filled the dangling panty hose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of
milk on a nearby tray. Then, I went home, and giggled for a several hours.
The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his
house, and left a present that had made him VERY happy. But it had left the dog rather confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and
bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the
traditional Christmas dinner .
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the
hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but quickly decided to keep my mouth shut.
"Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells good,
Granny," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I?
It was Christmas, and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, Hang on!"
My grandfather, a delightful old man with very poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay's
friend A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting with her. It was then that we all realized
this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died (or was dying), and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom every morning. Then she lurched right out of the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.
The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth
resuscitation to the limp doll. My brother fell backwards over his chair and wet his pants, and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and
went to sit in the car.
It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my mother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.
Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. And, I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the home.
Check Your List Twice
She had been waiting for this moment for weeks now. All the
other kids in her class had already told Santa what they wanted
for Christmas. Her mom had been urging her to make her list to
give to Santa, but she just couldn't make up her mind.
"Why is it so difficult for you to decide?" mom asked her.
"I have so many things to do and I can't keep asking you for
"I know what I want but I don't know how to write it," she replied.
"Your brother made his list up weeks ago. Of course he wants
the entire toy store, but at least he has a list."
"He's just a child mother!" she replied.
"Oh, and you're so mature at the age of nine?"
"I'll be a teenager soon!" she replied.
Although she had four years to get ready for it, that was
something mom didn't want to think about these days. Time was
always a precious thing to her. Even more so now that she lost
her husband last year in a work related accident. Bills have
been piling up and work difficult to find. On top of that, her
own mother was seriously ill requiring her to visit her daily.
The holidays are normally quite hectic, but this one was
Finally, one day while mom was visiting grandma, the young girl
sat down to make her list.
She neatly folded the paper and placed it inside the special green
and red envelope, sealed it and left it on the table for Santa.
Just before bed time that day she told her mom that she did
indeed make her Christmas wish list.
Her and her brother would place their lists together on the
kitchen table and "magically" the list would disappear by morning
reaching Santa through what they called "North Pole airmail."
Just before heading to bed herself, mom sat down to read her
Quietly and carefully opening it, she unfolded the paper.
It was blank.
"This has never happened before," she thought.
But how could she even ask her daughter about it. This was a
letter to Santa and parents never see those things.
Lying in bed that night mom came up with the answer. They were
planning on attending the church Christmas party the next night.
Every year Santa would make a visit and give each child in
attendance a small gift. Since Mom knew Santa personally, so
she would ask him to make a point to speak to her daughter about
the blank letter.
The party was festive and filled with holiday goodies. Music
and laughter filled the small church basement as Santa made his
Mom stood by her children waiting eagerly for him to speak to
"Well, Jessica. How are you? I got your list this year but,
I'm a bit confused. It was blank. I even checked it twice.
Don't you want any presents this year?" Santa asked.
Jessica motioned for Santa to come closer.
"What I want this year you can't bring," she said.
"Oh, but Santa has lots of things for good little girls and
boys," the old gentleman assured her.
"I don't want things," she said.
"What I want only God can give me."
It suddenly became very quiet in the room.
"But you can help me, Santa," Jessica said.
"Anything, Jessica," Santa said in his real voice and quite out
"Will you pray with me?" she asked.
"Of course, what do you need?"
"All I want this year is for my Mom to be happy and my grandma well,"
There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Santa stood tall, clasped the hands of the little girl and began
"Oh, Heavenly Father, God of all that is good, please hear my
prayer. Jessica has requested a very special gift this year.
One that only You can provide. I am just the provider of things
of this world. Things that have no real value. But you Oh, God,
are the Provider of life and the Giver of everlasting love.
This young child, with wisdom far beyond her years, asks
nothing for herself, but for her mom to be happy and her
grandmother well. Please hear the prayer of this child and bless
her for her generous spirit all the days of her life."
And the people gathered there said "Amen!"
"Jessica," her mom said.
"Look, it happened already! I've never been happier in my life."
And so it will be for you, too, my friends.
If you have made your list for Santa already,
I urge you to "check it twice."
For things bring only temporary happiness and God's Love eternal joy.
December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I
had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing,
endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.
Yet still, I
found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family
moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year.
was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been
memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the
heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production.
to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me
there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All
parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a
spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several
other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the
students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their
teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one,
rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had
long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect
anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer,
Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to
sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red
sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row -
center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the
title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child
would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on,
until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete
message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly,
until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row
holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M"
appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders
snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were
laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until
the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came
over the audience and eyes began to widen.
In that instant, we
understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in
the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRISTWAS LOVE" And,
I believe, He still is........
About a week before Christmas, Mom bought a new nativity scene. When she unpacked it, she found two figures of the Baby Jesus. "Someone must have packed this wrong," mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel, and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two."
"You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it's freezing cold out there." The manager of the store copied down mother's message, and the next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you're missing Baby Jesus, call 7126." All week long we waited for someone to call. Surely, we thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang, mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus." But it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that she just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. "Put Baby Jesus back in the box?! What a terrible thing to do," said mother. "Surely someone will call. We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone does." When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father "just run down to the store" to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight."
"Run down to the store?" father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!"
"Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you!" We began to put on our coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered. We ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Tommy got to the store first and pressed his nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," he shouted. "Every set must be sold. Hooray! The mystery will be solved tonight!"
Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When we got back into the house, we noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called, and she went out to deliver the figurine," father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present." Then the phone rang. Father yelled, "answer the phone and tell 'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk...
"Now what has she gotten us into?" father groaned as we bundled up again. "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets, or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this." When we got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room, and the moment we set foot on the porch steps, mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here! Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."
"Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" father asked. "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way."
"Never mind all that now," mother interrupted. "There is no heat in this house, and this young mother is so upset, she doesn't know what to do. Her husband walked out on her, and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy. My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down. "I been doin' washin' an ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept goin' through my mind. 7162 "Said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight, and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."
"Okay, okay," said father. "You've come to the right place. Now let's see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over, see what it needs."
Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them. Father finally got the oil burner working but said, "You need more oil. I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place." Father grinned. On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?" By this time the rest of the family was pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after our bedtime when we were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that's what He does.