On Christmas Eve we’re airing an hour of Christmas stories – and we’d love to hear yours. Your story of that Christmas episode, or drama, or joy, or interaction that you’ll never forget. We’ll share a bunch on air, and online, and work through them all with Kevin Allison of the podcast, Risk!
Call us at (617-353-0683) by December 20th with your Christmas story for On Point. We can’t wait to hear them. And Happy Holidays!
On Point associate producer Stefano Kotsonis — a Christmas baby himself — shared our first story.
The first thing to be said about my first Christmas story, just so you, dear reader, can judge the accuracy of my reporting, is that I was there, but didn’t know it.
It was Christmas 1956 in New York City. My father was a skinny young doctoral student in his early 20s with a cigarette always in his mouth, his mouth still full of the heavy consonants of his mother tongue Greek. My mother was living La Vida Bohemia with him, excited by New York and life, while her stern Greek father and Scottish mother were up in Montreal, completely unaware she was living with a Greek boy not commensurate, they believed with the with the well-placed marriage befitting her looks and brains. (Only a young ship-owner would do.) And they were still weeks away from learning that their daughter was about to give birth to a child.
From their telling, it sounded like a fun, but also burdened, poor Christmas. My father’s younger brother had just arrived from Greece and was staying with them. A good thing, but also tense. My mother and he didn’t share much in the way of English or Greek. The apartment was cramped.
Still, they got a small turkey and planned a stuffing. They bought a pint-sized can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.
They never got to sit down to that Christmas feast, though, because my mother went into labor.
Those three kids, my mother, father and uncle, so much younger than I am, raced to a midtown hospital. And after some hours and a lot of discomfort and, knowing the times, probably too much medication, my mother bore me.
My parents kept the can of cranberry sauce to remember the Christmas day their family began. And raised me with all the stories you’d expect of being their little Christmas present, and the forgotten Christmas dinner.
In the years that followed, my family moved a lot –to Upstate New York, New Jersey and then Athens, Greece. And the can of cranberry sauce came with us, unmarked but for the old, yellowing ‘50s-era Ocean Spray label among the other cans and bottles on our cupboard or pantry.
Many years later, it is summertime, a hot late afternoon in Athens. Late 1970s –I am post high school and pre-college. We are sitting around the dinette table chatting when suddenly we hear a boom or a loud pop, or something in that range. “What the–?” I got up and strode to the pantry. The walls, the ceiling and shelves were covered in a red goo. We stood there perplexed –till I spotted the old can of cranberry sauce, torn open by that cranberry sauce gone bad.”
We’ll collect all your stories and share them, on our site and on air on Christmas Eve. Share soon, and thanks!