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 thatRead 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.Read 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. InRead 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 betweenRead 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:

Legend of the Christmas Pants

Legend of the Christmas Pants

By Jeff Westover It began as a simple, thoughtful gift. Back in 1964, Larry Kunkel’s mother thought he’d appreciate a nice new pair of moleskin pants. He didn’t. Living in Minnesota, the pants were prone to stiffness in the freezing weather of the winter months. So Larry pawned the pants off on his brother-in-law, Roy Collett, as a gift the very next Christmas. But Roy didn’t care for them either. So he returned the favor and the pants the following Christmas. And thus the game began. Each year, as Christmas approached, Larry and Roy contemplated those pants. For the giver,Read more

Old Man Kramer

Old Man Kramer

By Elise Jenson He lived next door to me through all the years I was growing up and I thought he was the meanest man in the world. Mr. Kramer had thick, dark black hair and bushy eyebrows that dominated his tiny dark eyes. He was fair skinned, some would say pale. A prominent nose and a weak chin made his whole look a bit creepy. But it was his sour demeanor that really scared me. He looked mean and he acted mean. Mr. Kramer did not socialize with the neighbors. He often puttered about his garage or worked inRead more

How to Fit the Tree in the Car

How to Fit the Tree in the Car

By Oberon This is a hoot and a real treat for Christmas, made all the better because it is entirely true. It takes a bit of getting through, but stick with it. It’s worth it, I promise. A few Christmases back I was delegated to buy the family Christmas Tree, and, as is my habit, I kept putting it off until it was almost too late. Every day I would pass a little grocery shop on my way to work where the owner had piled a load of Christmas trees on the pavement for sale. One morning a couple ofRead more

My Little Lie

My Little Lie

By Max Schilling We were in love that Christmas. Brenda was 19, I was 22. As students, we didn’t have much. We were kids, really. We didn’t know much. But we were both away from home, still trying to figure out who we were and who we would yet become. And somewhere along the line we found each other. Actually, I had no choice but to pursue her. I worked part time in a convenience store and she came in one night to pay for her gas. Her smile melted me and her eyes just danced. I had pretty muchRead more