We loved reading all the entries in our December writing contest — "What's your favorite holiday memory?" Choosing a winner wasn't easy!
But our favorite story came via Terry Foster, who recently moved back to St. Petersburg. Terry wins a beautiful sparkly bracelet from Bo-tiki, 3015 Beach Blvd. in Gulfport.
"My favorite holiday memory is my
dad going out after we were asleep and buying the tree on Christmas Eve.
My Mom and Dad decorating it while we slept ... and then waking up around
midnight to come downstairs to see the tree and Santa was there sitting
in the chair! It was one of my Uncles. This all happening after dinner
at Grandmother's, Italian tradition with all those horrible fish
entrees! Dragging home, yes we could walk from her house to our house,
falling into bed and then we were up. Would love to do that all over
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Here are some of the others that brought us smiles and tears.
Trini Dominguez:Making tamales with my Grandma and Aunties.
Rhonda Milash: My favorite holiday memory was calling my older sister Jan on Christmas Eve and to hear her voice scared me so much I hung up the phone right a way. Then I called right back and we talked for hours - due to family conflict my sisters and I didn't talk for a long time. The next day I went down to Engelwood bringing all the food I had in my fridge at the time and getting together with my sisters and my nieces and meeting my 2 great nieces.I made the Christmas meal for everyone and it turned out wonderful.I knew my parents were looking down on us from above. I never believed in miracles before but I do now. Even though my parents weren't with us that special day I knew they were there in spirit. No matter what happens in this world there is nothing more important than family - nothing - no matter how messed up the situation may be at the time nothing lasts forever.That is why it is important to tell them every time you talk to them that you love them because you never know when may be the last chance you have to say that to them.
Hope Courts: Being with my family: eating together, watching shows that night and in the morning when the kids get up!
Michelle Chamo: My favorite holiday memory is playing secret rabbi...(like secret santa), BUT WE do it Jewish style...we play the game with Hanukkah gifts! Every year and it's the best time ever. And after singing Hanukkah songs.
Debbie Stevenson: When I was a little girl ... 50 years ago, my father would through rocks on the roof and ring jingle bells ... I was so sure Santa and his raindeer were at the house. I would lie in bed with my eyes closed so tight, so Santa would know I was sleeping. Then when we would get up Christmas morning, we would always go into Mom and Dad's bedroom first, because we didn't want Santa to catch us peeking.
Ali Collins: My favorite holiday memory is of me and my cousins hiding from Santa every year. We are Norweigan and celebrate on Christmas Eve, we were always told that Santa knew who the Nords were and brought the presents the night before. We would huddle in the den with the door closed and my Aunt. Mean while Santa would come . . . later of course we learned it was my Nannie and Uncle shaking bells, opening the door, talking and saying Ho, Ho, Ho . . . when she would say good bye Santa we would all bolt for the door and run out to see what we got!!
Bob Turel: 7 years old and getting my first Schwinn bike!
Billie Jo Grassinger: I was 8 years old. We used to open our Christmas Presents on Christmas Eve and my sisters always took me to the dairy farm to get our milk. (It was awesome, you put your dollar in the wood box at the door and dispensed your milk into your own jugs as you watched the cows walk by and get milked.) I never knew that we always ran out of milk on Christmas Eve and I ALWAYS missed Santa because we were out getting milk. The year I was 8, I was rushing my sister because we had to hurry and get home because we were going to miss Santa! I was so excited because I was going to see him this year - no matter what! Well, in the middle of my rushing my sisters, Michele screamed out, "Billie Jo, there is no Santa!!!" I was HORRIFIED! I cried and cried the whole way home. When we got home, of course my parents were so anxious, because once again, I had "missed Santa!" He was JUST there. I was still crying and my called me over to his bed (he was in a hospital bed in a full body cast) and explained that there is a Santa! I just have to believe it! He said that Christmas is a time for the family to be together and to share fun times and enjoy each others company. He went on to share stories about Christmas with my grandparents and his grandparents (whom I have never met.) It was not about how many presents you get or how much stuff is under the tree, it is about the love. The birth of Jesus and why Christmas is so important. It was a wonderful Christmas. Each present had a whole new meaning and I knew that my parents and siblings had picked out my gifts with love and they were chosen just for me. Then, my mom, my sisters and I went to Midnight Mass.
Jackie Kreuter: The first time my kids came out in the morning and saw what Santa had brought them.
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The next contest is now under way! Head on over to the Win It! page to enter.