Neptune, the Smiling Christmas Mutt

Neptune, the Smiling Christmas Mutt

By Tad Archer This is a submission from our Christmas in July event for guest blogging on My Merry Christmas. Tad chose the topic “The Christmas I Remember Best” as the theme for his blog post. To participate, please see this link. Mutt is a horrible name for a dog. But that was what we first named the scraggly looking thing because that’s what he was – a medium sized, wired-haired, brown-eyed, dirty dog. Little did I know that this dog would become the Christmas Mutt. He had followed us all the way from the school. We were walking home on a lazy summer afternoon was it was just too hot to play. The other guys teased him for howRead more

Heart of the Servant Santa

Heart of the Servant Santa

Mrs. Claus’ eyes were full of tears by the time I arrived at the hospital. Santa stood there stunned, as if hit with unbelievable news. “What is it?” I asked. Ryan had just hours to live. Santa and Mrs. Claus had met the boy just months previous but it was only within the past few days that things seriously took a decline and hope was lost. These are the calls Santa hates to take. How do you present the hope and love and brightness of Santa Claus to a dying child? “Why am I here?” I asked, nearly sucking in my breath at the bad news they shared. “How can I help?” Santa looked at me. “I need advice” heRead more

Secrets of the Servant Santa

Secrets of the Servant Santa

“I recognize that suit,” I said nonchalantly at the dry cleaner as I was doing business. There, on a hanger and freshly bagged, was Santa’s suit. Her eye brows lowered and she looked at me suspiciously. “How do you know that suit?” she asked. “Well it belongs to Santa,” I said. “Everyone knows that.” She relaxed a bit and smiled. “But not everyone knows this Santa,” she sighed. “Well I do,” I said. She put down her pen. She stared at me. “C’mere,” she said, pointing for me to follow her to an office. “You know who Santa is?” she asked. “Who told you?” “He did,” I replied innocently. “We’ve been meeting for a while.” I handed her my cardRead more

The Servant Santa on Parade

The Servant Santa on Parade

He looked so strange to me. It was the first time I had seen Santa wearing something other than his Santa suit. He was speaking before the Chamber of Commerce, one of those networking functions you always hate to go to. His comments were brief, conservative and frankly kind of bland. Here I was seeing Santa in the real world for the first time. I wasn’t convinced I was witnessing the same person. We met later at his office, a very casual almost messy kind of place. His desk was large but looked like it came from Ikea. A small table behind it was covered with more pictures than could be looked at while a mounted elk jutted out fromRead more

Walkabout with the Servant Santa

Walkabout with the Servant Santa

He won’t let me tell you his name. In fact, he doesn’t go by anything but Santa. Most Santa portrayers I have met like to be called Santa James or Santa Smith – some combination of their real first or last names or even the names of the places where they live. But not this Santa. In fact, it took me a week to even learn what his real name is. He invited me to come back the next day to talk. He was scheduled again to work the cottage in the evening hours but he was coming to town around at about 2pm to do a “walkabout”. I had never heard of that before and asked him what heRead more

Discovering the Servant Santa

Discovering the Servant Santa

I was on my way home by way of country roads, having escaped the interstate on a busy Friday afternoon about a week before Christmas. As I came through the small pass on the two lane road I saw a vehicle coming from the other direction. As it was heading west I could see clearly inside the car – it was Santa Claus, driving a small pickup. I smiled to myself, rolled down the window and waved. Santa waved back. It was great Christmas moment, one that filled me with good cheer. Four days later I found myself driving that same road, this time in a snowstorm. The conditions were pretty bad and the going was slow. I saw flashersRead more

My Private Christmas

My Private Christmas

The presents are all unwrapped. Santa’s stockings are emptied. Signs of yet another great Christmas celebration are everywhere. And my husband and children are asleep. The lights on the tree still shine and this is my time for my private Christmas. It is private because most don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it at first. Like everyone else I grew up with the traditions of Christmas. The mistletoe, the concerts, the decorations, the bustle of gifting and fixing foods and enjoying gatherings. Those things are still a part of it. But Christmas isn’t Christmas for me until my private Christmas. I credit three very separate and different events for teaching this to me over the years. The first happened whenRead more

Bing’s Christmas TV Special of 1977

Bing’s Christmas TV Special of 1977

Bing Crosby was the face, the voice and the soul of Christmas for nearly 40 years. Through radio, movies and ground breaking television Crosby took Christmas to millions year after year. Already an established radio star in the 1930s Crosby broke out in movies in the 1940s and established the standard of all gold standards of Christmas with his recording of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in 1942. Even movies not really intended to be Christmas movies starring Crosby became Christmas classics. Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s showcased Bing’s acting talents as the golden-hearted Father O’Malley. In the 1950s Crosby would release White Christmas as a Hollywood feature film and to follow would be even more iconicRead more

Christmas in Billings, Montana 1954

Christmas in Billings, Montana 1954

Early last week, James Carroll of Tyler, Texas, came to Billings for the second time in his life. It was an enjoyable visit, but it was hard to top that first one, on Christmas Eve 1954. Carroll was a 23-year-old Army private at the time, just out of basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, on his way to Seattle on a troop train. From Seattle he shipped out to Alaska, where he would serve for the duration of his two-year enlistment. The train stopped in Colorado to pick up some more troops, bringing the number of soldiers to somewhere between 100 and 200 men. As far as Carroll remembers, they were never allowed off the train until they reached Billings.Read more

Jimmy Stewart Talks About It’s a Wonderful Life

Jimmy Stewart Talks About It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life has reached such a point of saturation in American Christmas culture we can practically quote it line by line. But even still we cannot get enough of it. Even though Jimmy Stewart has been gone now for many years we can read of his memories and share in interviews he did about the film long after it was produced. In this clip, Mr. Stewart chats with Johnny Carson and we hear from Richard Dreyfus as well as Carol Burnett as they talk about the power of It’s A Wonderful Life: Please follow and like us:

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