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Garden Fairy 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 01:05 PM
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I'm a Retired USAF Master Sergeant. Sooner or later you get to spend a year on a "remote" tour. I was the Professional Military Education Instructor for the USAF troops at NAS Keflavik, Iceland in 1987. My Husband was stationed at Lowry AFB in Denver CO.
It's REALLY dark in Iceland in December, and the American troops have a tough time of it without actually seeing the sun for months on end (cloud cover, dark).
The USO had a Christmas Lights Tour. You took a van and drove around the towns of Keflavik, and Reykjavik.
Besides decorating the houses with lights--they use headstones in the Cemeteries that have light sockets. That was a seriously different sight for a group of GIs.
Seeing the Cemetery Christmas lights made it one of my most memorable Holiday Seasons. i couldn't tell you what the houses looked like, but I can still see the little cemeteries with color Christmas lights in the headstones.

Merry Christmas to all & Best Wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!
Vina
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Tourmaline 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 01:19 PM
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Merry Christmas everyone!

Well, my story isn't nearly as heartwarming or exciting as some of the ones already posted, but it certainly was the most memorable and unusual Christmas my family has ever had.

We live in a fairly affluent area, and for years my sister and I heard our classmates comparing stories of their vacations to France, Australia, England, etc. Not us. Both Mom and Dad work full-time, Dad's job in particular makes it difficult for him to get big chunks of vacation time, and all spare money was being invested in practical things like health care, remodeling our old house, and paying for college. (We do have health insurance, but when multiple family members develop major health problems, insurance doesn't cover it all.) My sister Meg and I understood this, but we still wistfully longed for a Vacation of our own. In particular we wanted to see Hawaii, as Mom and Dad had been there several times B.C. (Before Children) and had lots of stories about the islands.

Last year was a good one financially, and for once Dad's latest construction project was winding down before the holidays. Meg's long-time boyfriend Adam, an Air Force man, would actually be getting some time off for Christmas. So Mom and Dad sat down together around June and decided that we needed a Real Family Vacation before both of the kids finished college and moved away to start lives of our own. Where to? Hawaii, the Big Island to be exact. I've always wanted to see the famous volcano Kilauea, and the Big Island is Mom and Dad's favorite. Plus it has Kona coffee. When? Well, the only time everyone would be able to get off of school, work and military duty would be over Christmas.

I don't think Meg and I really believed that we were going to Hawaii until we started packing. Then it started to sink in. Omigoodness we're going on a real live family vacation! Los Angeles Intl. Airport and the cramped flight were small prices to pay. God was smiling on Hawaii for those two weeks, because we had lovely clear sunny weather (unusual for winter in the tropics) to see the sights. Kona coffee, postcard-perfect beaches, lots of green sea turtles, friendly locals, the sight of orchids blooming outdoors in splendid profusion at the Hilo airport, truly fresh pineapple, seeing Kilauea lazily erupting her long streams of red-black lava, steam vents, weird and occasionally squishy sea life, lots and lots of lava rock... it was wonderful. We didn't have a Christmas tree, and had to wrap the presents we brought along in tinfoil and tissue paper because all the stores were sold out, but that was all part of the experience. (Meg actually got quite artistic with the tinfoil.) Christmas dinner was at a luau with a traditional pit-roasted pig and excellent Polynesian dancers. By the way, 'everyone' is right about poi. It's nasty. I guess you have to grow up eating the stuff in order to like it.

This Christmas, we have several Hawaiian ornaments on our tree. Like most of the ornaments, they hold special Christmas memories and will for many years.
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Bjam16 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 02:03 PM
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[B]One Christmas, we took a Christmas basket of food, clothes, and toys to this single parent mother. She appreciated this very much, but I got to thinking about what does this mother do the rest of the year.
Our church was going out for a one day giving program, and it made them feel good, but what happened the rest of the year.
I decided to "adopt" this family, and followed up at least weekly to see that they had food, clothing, toys, etc.
The mom had knarled fingers and couldn't word. So I bought her a typewriter that she could type on with one finger, and paid her to type my business notes that I wrote down on a yellow pad.
My wife and I would go by and visit with her regarding her needs, and letting her share about surgeries that were coming up.
The reason I picked this Christmas story is, the Christmas should be year around and not just on one day.
Bill Jamison

Here is a website that I have on the Random Acts of Kindness site sharing the same concept of sharing year around, and not just at Christmas.
http://www.actsofkindness.org/member_sites/bjam16/
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Owen 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 02:14 PM
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A Cross Country Christmas, 1965
Owen Christianson
Floodwood Minnesota USA

Forty one Christmases ago, in 1965, I made an unforgettable, roundabout trip from Monterey California home to La Crosse Wisconsin. With the thrifty way I set about doing it, it isn’t for nothing that my grandmother’s name was Katie MacLaren. In those days, if you served in the military, you could catch a free flight on a Military Air Transport System (MATS) plane to wherever it was headed. So if I flew MATS, I’d have more money left for buying gifts for my family. Early on the morning of December 22, from Monterey up through a foggy and drizzly San Francisco, I hitched a ride with a friend to the Travis AFB—outside of Sacramento. I thought that my chances of a flight that would take me within a day’s journey of La Crosse Wisconsin were great. Well, I was resolved to wait for a flight—any flight—even one as far away as Michigan or Missouri—that would take me as close to Wisconsin as possible. From the terminal window, I’d watch fresh troops mounting the huge 747 troop planes to Nam—as caskets were simultaneously being unloaded from the cargo hold. On the tinny muzak that dunned away without let-up, Perry Como sang about being Home for Christmas—if only in his dreams. Bing Crosby dreamed about a White Christmas. And Elvis Presley about a ‘Blue’ one. I dreamed about catching a flight—any flight. Short on sleep, sweaty, subsisting on junk food, for three days I waited. And I waited. No flights were heading eastwards.

Finally, on Christmas Eve night, half in despair, I caught the nearest flight to the Upper Midwest. On a windowless MATS transport, I crossed the whole continental United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic—all the way to Fort Dix New Jersey. I still wonder whether the Greyhound ticket agent at Fort Dix, in spite of his tough manner, gave me a Christmas-Day-Send-the GI-Home deal on the greyhound ticket from Philly to La Crosse. How come? Well, he asked me, “So woddya got in yuh wallet, troop?” And he just happened to charge me five dollars less. I had it all figured out. Back in 1965, five dollars was a lot of money. I had a big enough breakfast in Philly. Christmas morning, we passed through the picture-postcard-pretty Pennsylvania Dutch country, over the snowy Alleghenies, and just as the sun was setting, we pulled into Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Greyhound Bus Terminal—that’s where I was going to have my Christmas Dinner. I can still see the red and green tinsel wreathing the cafeteria mirror. ‘Season’s Greetings!’ had been plastered over it in glittering script. Pittsburgh Bus Depot Cafeteria Christmas Dinner Special: Turkey-with-all-the-trimmings and pumpkin pie à la mode: Only $3.65. Hungry, expectant, I got in line with everybody else, thinking that Pittsburgh Greyhound Bus Depot Christmas turkey would be better than no turkey at all. But just as I was ready to place my order, I heard a gruff voice from behind me growling out, “Hey, buddy!” There stood a rather disheveled looking older man. He went on to say that he hadn’t eaten for a couple days, and could I maybe spare some change. I looked up at the sign: Christmas Dinner: $3.65, looked down at the four one dollar bills—crumpled in my hand—enough to spare for a modest tip. And I heard my voice saying, “Why don’t you have this one on me!” The four dollars disappeared into the cashier’s hand. And my Christmas Dinner went to my buddy at the bus depot. From Pittsburgh—through Cleveland—Toledo—Chicago—Milwaukee—all the way across Wisconsin to La Crosse—as everyone around me was tucking into fried chicken or munching on Christmas cookies, I didn’t have one bite to eat. When I finally arrived home on the afternoon of December 26, I wasn’t hungry for long. Surrounded by my wondering family, I ate my way through the first of many home-cooked holiday meals. After all these years, I remember these two strangers I met on that Christmas long ago: the clerk outside of Fort Dix, who, I am convinced, gave me a deal—and the hungry stranger in Pittsburgh whose Christmas dinner that good-hearted clerk made possible.

Nollaig Chridheil Huibh to one and all, Owen (MacLaren) Christianson



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Dogshirt 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 02:23 PM
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When I was about 4 or 5 we left home to go to my Grandparents as we always did on Christmas day. It wasn't a long trip, about 30 miles by our usual route, but it was a road that didn't always get plowed.
The night before we had had a storm with about 8" of snow and high winds. When we started out the road was okay, but as we got further up the ridge the snow drifts started to get deeper and longer. Finally we got stuck in a very big drift, I remember that the snow was as deep as the hood of the car.
My Dad manged to get his door open and had started to dig us out, so we could turn around and take the long route to our destination, when we heard sleigh bells.
In a few minutes a Bobsled (a farm sled, not the downhill type) pulled by 2 of the biggest horses (To me anyway) in the world came into sight. The rancher had been hauling hay to his cattle and had seen us from the pasture. Pulling up to the car, he asked if we needed a pull. Dad said yes, if he would pull us out of the drift we could turn around a get back down the ridge. The rancher said that the drifting only lasted about anothe 1/2 mile, and the the road dropped down into the trees and the road was fairly clear from there on. So he pulled the sled off the road and un hitched the team, hitched them to the front of our car and those big, grand horses pulled us that half mile until the road was clear and we could get on our way. The rancher wouldn't take any money for his help, so we went on our way.
But we always honked and waved as we drove by his place after that.
And so Christmas was saved that year.


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Ceciliastar1 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 03:38 PM
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This is a fun story. I actually haven't thought about it in a long time!

When I was 12, which was 12 years ago, everyone in my family had the flu except me and my dad. My mom, and my 5 sisters and my 3 brothers (Gwen, Tom, Steph, Becket, Anna, Andrew, Brady, and Maddy) all had the flu very very badly. My dad and I spent all Christmas Eve and Day taking care of the sickies. There was vomit a plenty! It wasn't bad though. My dad and I spent all the time taking care of them but they were very grateful for it. While my dad did all the cooking for those who could stomach some food and the cooking for me and him, I did all the pillow fluffing and puke cleaning. The best part of that christmas though was that since all the kids didn't have any energy to open their presents I got to open all of the presents for everyone!!! Each kid had three presents so I got to open a total of 27 presents! I've never opened so many presents in my life. And since my siblings were also too sick to play with any of the toys they let me open all of the toys and play with all of them. It was so much fun! I got to open all the presents, eat all the cookies, play music, it was crazy! After being able to do that, cleaning up a ton of puke all week long didn't seem so much like a chore anymore!

Merry Christmas!


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There's a dear little plant that grows in our Isle
Twas St . Patrick himself, sure, that set it;
And the sun of his labour with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It grows through the bog, through the brake, through the
Mireland, and they call it the dear little shamrock of Ireland.
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rpdahlstrom 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 06:08 PM
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I finished speaking at a conference one Christmas Eve morning, and while driving my family down the mountain from the ski-area where the conference was held, I hit some black ice, which resulted in a head on collision. Thanksfully nobody was hurt, but this began a long day of getting the car towed down the mountain, finding a different car at the base of the mountain and then trying to drive home (back up in a different section of the mountains) as it began to turn dark.

We were hosting guests from both Sweden and Australia that Christmas, and the plan was to eat supper in the late afternoon. We called them to let them know what had happened and encouraged them to eat for us rather than waiting for our return.

It was a good thing we did, for the alternator on our 2nd car died on the way home, creating huge problems. When we finally pulled in at 11PM I was feeling sorry for our guests and our failure to be good hosts to them. Yet, when I opened the door the room was filled with the smells of supper, the table set, the candles lit. Our guests had waited for us, and prepared the meal so that it would be ready upon our arrival.

We ate together as the clock struck twelve and Christmas Eve became Christmas morning. As the candles burned low, everyone gathered by the tree to read about the Christ child and sing "Silent Night" together. Hosptiality. Generosity. Serving Others. Good friendships. These elements will make this Christmas memorable for the rest of my days.
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parkers1 

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  Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 09:18 PM
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I, being an Ex Marine know what it is like to spend time away from home on the holidays. I would also like to vote for Antonio Semper Fi. I even got the opportunity to spend my Christmas in Viet Nam. Happy Holidays to one and all! Good Luck making a choice for I know it will be hard, this is another reason for voting for Antonio. This way he starts off with two votes minimum thumbs_up.gif


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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 24-Dec-2006, 10:00 PM
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I think Our most memorable Christmas will have been last year. It really started the Sunday before thanksgiving. My wife went to work (about an hour away) as usually feeling a bit sick. Sometime during the night her appendix burst. She was brought to the hospital and they operated right away. I couldn't get down there as my car had really bad tires and I couldn't get a ride down to fetch the good car. I wasn't too worried because people are usually out of the hospital and back to work within a week after having their appendix removed. However complications set in and the doctor would not let her go to work for another month. I finally got down to her and she came home but there was no improvement at all in her condition. Two weeks later her incision broke open in the middle of the night and I had to rush her to the hospital. More surgury and another month off. She had disability but it wouldn't be coming in untill the middle of Jan. We survived on my paycheck and tips from my paper routes. Meanwhile bill collectors were calling daily and needless to say they had no sympathy.
We lost our internet, our cable, and all the bills were a month to two months behind. Our church was the one who helped us out. One lady agreed to pay for the ornaments we get for our kids for Christmas every year so the kids each got something. Some anonymous doner sent us $100 for bills. My poor wife was miserable and crying cuz we couldn't afford a $20 tree.
Gathering up as many pop cans as I could from work, I scaped enough money to buy a small tree from the dollar store. My youngest decided that this was a good tme to take a trip with friends to Florida. What he didn't know was that the car was stolen. I had to bargin with our car repair guy for four new tires and then make a 12 trip to southern Illinois to pick him up at the police station. He got 6 months probation on a tether that followuing Feb. He is behaving now-slightly.
So our worst Christmas had its little blessing scatterd here and there to make it into one that showed us that there really are people who care out there. We made it through and are just now beginning to put our lives back together but I hate to think how much worst it could have been without the help of others. And that is what Christmas has become for us-a season to help others.


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merle 
Posted: 25-Dec-2006, 12:05 AM
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My best Christmas memory is from 50 years ago when I was but a lad of 8. My parents had dressed me, my 7 year old brother and my 14 year old sister in our best duds as this was the tradition for Christmas Eve. Before heading off to church we all got some wrapped candy and let me tell you that wrapped candy in those days is nothing like the stuff you get nowadays. You would have to be there to believe it.

In our church we heard many beautiful Chirstmas tunes and I will never forget the organist who was crying the entire time. When I asked my mother why she was crying she said, "It's not because she is sad. She has bad allergies." Who knows why I still remember this but I still remember the organist the cried during her wonderful Christmas tunes.
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CelticRadio 
Posted: 25-Dec-2006, 12:15 AM
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Wow, there are some great an heart touching stories here. I am afraid our selection for the CDs will have to wait until later today so we can read these all in detail. We wish we had a CD for each of you!

Well, its Christmas Day now on the east coast. Merry Christmas everyone.

A little story to share of our own tonight. The Mac Children all played in the Christmas Pagent tonight. They put on a singing and acting show each year. An annual even for the past 15 years! We have never ever been late and somehow we mixed up the time.

We thought the show started at 6:00, but it started at 5:00. Needless to say we started getting frantic calls at about 4:58. We threw the kids in the car and by the time we got there is was 5:20. Well, the whole church was awaiting for our arrival as the show was suppose to start on the dot at 5:00. I dropped Killian and the kids off at the door and I drove to find a parking space.

So, I get out of my car and notice a lady with a small child confused about where the pagent was as there were a few buildings around the area and from where she parked you could not see the church. I told her to follow me as we had held up the whole show with our lateness.

Well, as it turns out this lady was the teacher of one of the children in the play and had promised not to miss her play. She had run into traffic and was late. Suddenly I was not upset that I had held up a couple of hundred people. I held the door open for her and wondered if this was the reason we were late. She did not miss her student's show and I am sure her student was delighted she made it!

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Celticwanderer39 
Posted: 25-Dec-2006, 12:40 AM
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My most memorable Christmas was probably last year's Christmas. Christmas happened to be on a Sunday last year. My church services that I go to are usually 3 hours long but on Christmas Day we only go to our sacrament meeting. There was spiritual singing and it was just a great experience. When Christmas is on a Sunday, we don't open presents until after church is over. Everyone was just so filled with peace, joy, faith, and love. It helped that our family had decided to tone down Christmas and not buy so many gifts. It was just such a more enjoyable time than at other Christmases when everyone is yelling and screaming and fighting with each other. I guess just everything that happened that day, when put together, made a great and joyous day for me and my family. I was filled with the spirit of the season and I gained an even greater love for the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas to all of you! Sláinte!!!
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cwa92464 
Posted: 25-Dec-2006, 07:04 AM
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When I was in the military in Warner Robins, GA, we would have to pack up the car for the annual pilgrimmage to my hometown. After receiving one of those Sears camper tops to add all of the fun and joy that couldn't be crammed in to the already bulging Nissan Sentra that included myself, my wife, and a small hole the size of my son in the back seat, I diligently packed all of the gifts into the shell.

It was perfect. All fit neatly in. I got the family in the car. We were actually going to leave before my scheduled departure time...for once. I had just pulled out on to the road to head for the highway...yep...I see a big, white blur behind me. It seems that my tightening efforts had actually ripped the tiedowns and 40 mph is the exact speed for a tear away. Shell & gifts flew everywhere...as the rain started to come down.

Luckily my son was young & didn't understand some of the phrases that I used as I packed wet presents back into the shell & re-tied the shell.


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“I have faith and belief myself. I believe that the universe is comprehensible within the bounds of natural law and that the human brain can discover those natural laws and comprehend the universe. I believe that nothing beyond those natural laws is needed. I have no evidence for this. It is simply what I have faith in and what I believe.”
- - - Isaac Asimov
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Infamous 
Posted: 25-Dec-2006, 03:23 PM
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My most memorable Christmas was this one.

My family hailing from grand Irish nobility (including in-laws) all got together with our spouses and siblings for a wonderful Christmas Eve gathering. We all agreed to defer from distilled spirits out of those recovering from alcoholism. A wonderful time was had by all. Three generations of our family under one roof and not one fight. Not only wonderful but amazing.

In reality, its times like these that are remember when those go before us. Yes, this one was memorable for me.

'Big Tom'
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CelticRadio 
Posted: 26-Dec-2006, 08:23 PM
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There are so many touching stories here and I really wish I could give a CD for each one of you. To be honest with you, we didn't expect such as great response - so our sincere thanks on sharing these memorible moments with us and the rest of the community.

We usually announce the winners of the CD contest, but I think in this case we are going to privately notifiy the winners. It just does not seem right to single out one story over the next as these are all great. Killian is reading through the posts today and we should contact the receiptants of the CDs in the next day.

Thanks again for these posts. We really enjoyed reading them!
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