My favorite two Christmas stories are very simple ones. They don’t have complex story lines, just great sentiment, to me anyway. (many runners up like “leg lamp,” “decorating tree with mom,” 7-11 Christmas,” and more…)

When I was a kid I used to spend Christmas’s with my grandparents. Every now and then I smell something or see something that triggers a memory from there place. I miss them so much, especially around this time of year. I used to get a ride from friend of the family to my grandparents town and my grandpa would pick me up at a truck stop on the outskirts. One year we pulled into the back alley way to their house and something felt different. As we got out of the truck I could feel Christmas but I didn’t see anyone. When we approached the back door to the house a voice came up behind us. “Excuse me, may I come in.” A booming yet soft tone. We let him in. He knew my name and asked me what I wanted. Everything was real from belly to beard. His suit was even old, not candy apple red like the mall guys.  When he left a giant candy cane was sitting on the chair. My grandma told me to go give it back to him. I wasn’t more than 5 seconds behind him but when I burst out the door he was gone. I was visited by Santa. Here’s the best part of this story. If my grandpa set this whole thing up; 1. he didn’t tell my grandma about it and 2. he took it all the way to his grave. As I grow older memories fade but there are few that are vivid as yesterday.

When I moved to Phoenix I was graced with the opportunity to spend many holidays with my cousins family and reconnect with what family gatherings are all about. One Christmas Eve, like others, I spent the night. Along with other traditions, some of which we have now borrowed, we packed up the car and went out looking at Christmas lights. My cousin rode shot gun and eventually fell a sleep. I texted from the back, “wake up Santa!” but nothing. She didn’t move. What I didn’t know is that my text didn’t go through. We returned to the house and everyone went to bed, mine being the couch. At about 4 in the morning, the text went through. She thought it was funny that I was texting her to wake up and play Santa, until she came out in the living room and I was fast a sleep. That was Christmas Miracle #1 that year;-)

As I think about my daughter furiously ripping through wrapping paper today and begging for more “cooookie,” and then just now taking a break from this to feed my son who is still in his Santa suit PJs, I realize that my memories are about to be blown out of the water. Christmas has new meaning to me but the old memories will hopefully always remain.