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Christmas Stories From Hearth to War Zone

We asked, and you delivered: your most memorable Christmas stories. Weird, wild, and wonderful. We’ll all listen.

Santa chats with Asher Powell, age 6, while Asher's sister Alexis smiles during a visit to Santa's Wonderland House inside Flatirons Crossing Mall, in Broomfield, Colo., Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP)

Santa chats with Asher Powell, age 6, while Asher’s sister Alexis smiles during a visit to Santa’s Wonderland House inside Flatirons Crossing Mall, in Broomfield, Colo., Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP)

The Christmas story is pretty cool all on its own. Manger, baby, shepherds. Angels and kings. But there are Christmas stories all over the place. Not necessarily glorious, or even Christian. It’s such a big holiday, it rolls over all of us. Sometimes with loneliness. Sometimes with hope. Sometimes with joy. Or just Christmas chaos. It’s Chritmas Eve. We invited your stories. You delivered. And the phones are open. This hour On Point: Christmas stories — funny, sad, wonderful — on Christmas Eve.

– Tom Ashbrook


Kevin Allison, comedic writer, actor and host of the storytelling podcast, RISK! (@thekevinallison)

From Tom’s Reading List

Albany Democrat-Herald: Think Too Much: Christmas stories trigger flood of emotions –”Some themes emerge with regularity: Writers reflect on how their parents scrimped and sacrificed to bring them happier holidays. Others marvel at how the holidays bring together families for beloved traditions – and other reflect on how those traditions sometimes fuel stressful situations. Most of them have happy endings, but not always – and even in many of the happy stories, a sense of loss is palpable just underneath the surface.”

The Guardian: Light And Space — “As I tiptoed towards Feretory with that fire axe on Christmas morning, I told myself that I was there to destroy the resin empress. But Hudson-Glasser 11 is mightier than a will as weak as mine.”

The New Yorker: The Christmas Miracle – “I am telling this story to you, K, even though you are a Russian Communist and a Jewish person who doesn’t believe Jesus was the son of God, and even though Christmas is an obnoxious holiday when millions of people decapitate pine trees and watch them slowly die in their living rooms, because miracles can happen on any day, and as long as man has existed he’s celebrated this weirdest time of year, the shortest stretch of sunlight, the winter solstice, as a time of fear, change, courage, and passion. I’m going to tell you the story of a miracle that happened at Christmas.”

Check Out More Listener Christmas Stories On Our Blog

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  • Scott B

    Mine happened Christmas eve, 1966.

    I was placed for adoption, and my soon-to-be-parents had been decided and told all about me. But, the service in charge had decided that they wanted to keep me for a few months for observation for medical reasons, and was placed with a woman in charge of looking after me for several months. From my understanding, Christmas eve day was the first day that I was eligible to come home.

    My parents drove the almost one-hundred miles, in a blizzard, to get me. Dad had a ’67 Mustang, and he described the trip are “a bit harrowing”. I can only imagine, with a rear-wheel drive sports car and the tire technology of the day only being studded tires.

    When they reached the woman’s house she asked my parents if she could keep me one more night, as she had some things for Christmas morning. My parents understood her need and drove back home in the blizzard. Christmas day, with the remnants of the blizzard still going on, they drove back up to get me.

    I don’t remember it, but Mom always said, “Best Christmas present, ever.”

    • Maureen Roy

      Wow Scott….I was also adopted, and went home to my new parents on Christmas Eve day as well. Not sure they would have driven 100 miles in a blizzard though!

      • sickofthechit

        Yeah, they would have!

        • Scott B

          Be a parent myself, now, I’d have to agree!

      • Scott B

        That’s cool, Maureen. Though, I think, in today’s terms, “getting” me twice for Christmas, I was “regifted”. lol

  • sickofthechit

    The lady who Id’d herself as Jewish pulled my chain as it were when she said she realizes she lives in a “Christian” nation. I am 57 years old, have paid pretty close attention all my life and as far as I can tell we are far from a “Christian” nation. Miollions killed in Viet Nam, hundreds of Thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq, to numerous to mention clandestine operations that overthrow legitimately elected governments around the world because they don’t coincide with our “National Interests” {How un-Chrisitan is that}, We seem to have a pretty pervasive attitude that says “Screw the future generations, I’m getting whatever I can for me and mine now.” Not really very “Christian”
    What everyone seems to miss is that our Constitution says nothing about us being “Christian” based. The words are “All men are endowed by THEIR Creator with certain inalienable rights….” to the Christians that is God the father of Jesus, To the Jews it is the Old Testament God whose son has yet to come, and to Muslims it is Allah, to the American Indians it is the Great Spirit, or Mother Earth, etc.

    So please stop claiming this is a “Christian Nation”. Christ would be ashamed of much of what this nation does. I still believe in its potential, but I am damn disappointed in its track record lately. Greed has no place in a Christian Nation yet we have the “Gospel of Prosperity” which is nothing more than an excuse to be selfish and grasping,.etc. etc. etc.

    Charles A. Bowsher,
    P.S.( merry christmas and happy holydays, there, that wasn’t so hard was it?).cab

  • tbphkm33

    One of the best stories happened 99 years ago, Christmas 1914 in the trenches of World War One, when soldiers put down their weapons and joined in celebrating the holiday.

    … of course, the next morning they went back to shooting, not knowing it would be over three more years of blood letting in the “War To End All Wars.” Oh, how naive they were. Humanity will go on butchering itself until there are only two of us left, then one will kill the other over a minor irritation.

    • Scott B

      Actually, the next morning, and for quite some time after that, they still refused to fight. At first, the various HQs sent up new officers to get the soldiers fighting again, to no avail. Eventually they had to cycle the soldiers out, replacing them with ones that didn’t think of the guys in the opposing trench as the ones just like them, that traded gifts, and shared stories about their families, jobs, and lives, and not as the ignorant epithets that let them wage war on each other.

      • Maureen Roy

        As I understand the story, all was well until the GENERALS got wind of it…can’t let the soldiers and “peace” ruin their military careers….

  • 1Brett1

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all at On Point!

    (And a special “Happy Holidays” to the neocons who haunt this site, because I am a liberal commie pinko and that’s how we roll in our war on Christmas!)

    • tbphkm33

      From one commie pinko to another – skål to the holidays.

  • sickofthechit

    Best tradition my family had was when we got home from midnight mass we would gather around the manger and sing (are you ready for this?) Happy Birthday to Jesus! I swear. Looking back it is still a very touching moment for me. I recommend it to all parents of small children. If we didn’t go to midnight mass, it was the first thing before stockings or presents in the morning.charles a. bowsher

    • Maureen Roy

      A 3 year old I know wanted to know where Jesus’ birthday cake was this year….pretty smart kid.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

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