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

Just Say Merry Christmas

Just Say Merry Christmas

By Denise Richardson (As told to MMC Editor Jeff Westover, September 2011) Carla was the strongest woman I had ever known. I once saw her take on a snarling mechanic who attempted to force a brake job on her that she didn’t need. Carla wasn’t a big lady but when she got her back up you didn’t want to cross her. That mechanic learned that the hard way. So as we sat there in the doctor’s office it came as no surprise to me that she took the news with her chin out and her shoulders squared. Any other personRead more

Nothing

Nothing

By Jeff Westover The first Christmas for us really wasn’t so hard. After all, we were in love and there was nothing else more important. Sure, being a couple changed the holidays for us but wasn’t everything else different too? It wasn’t until life and routine settled upon us that it got difficult. First came one baby and then another. Living off my meager wages so that my dear wife could be home with the kids made things a little tough. We felt lucky to provide them with socks and underwear for Christmas. There just wouldn’t be anything left overRead more

That’s How You Eat Gravy

That’s How You Eat Gravy

By Vance James One of my best Christmas memories comes from when I was about nine years old. But I have to warn you: this is not a feel good Christmas story. It is kind of gross. After getting up early and opening our presents it was a family tradition to meet at my aunt’s house in the afternoon for Christmas dinner. Everyone who lived closed by would come. I remember this being an adult affair and for those of us under the age of 18 that meant being mostly bored. We usually would bring one of our Christmas presentsRead more

The Gift My Brother Couldn’t Give

The Gift My Brother Couldn’t Give

By Gary E. Anderson In the first years after my brothers, sister, and I left home, there were several Christmases in which our ability to give fell far short of our desire. In fact, we often found ourselves getting very creative if we were going to give any Christmas presents at all. But those early Christmases also contained some of the finest gifts I’ve ever received, and one of those was the gift my brother Jim thought he couldn’t give. Jim had chosen a difficult road, working for himself instead of collecting a weekly paycheck like the one I gotRead more

Christmas Twice

Christmas Twice

By Dena Simmons Another long cold December night lay ahead of us. It would be much longer than we knew at the time. With the last minute shopping behind us, we thought we would be able to rest. It was the 23rd of December and we had been at the mall all day. My husband, our four year-old daughter, our 16 month old son, and my brother had all enjoyed the long day. The kids got a picture with Santa. My husband and brother did their shopping. And I got those last minute items that I always seem to forget.Read more

A Christmas Past Comes Home

A Christmas Past Comes Home

By Allison Dubois Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday. She brought an enthusiasm and happiness to that special day that I have missed since she passed away over twenty years ago. It’s hard to concede how much time has passed since we last shared such a merry occasion but the calendar reminds me dutifully. When I look back on those days, it feels as if I am removing a film of dust from my memory like Windex removing grime on glass. The more I rub my eyes, the clearer it all becomes. Christmas at our house was always a carefulRead more