Story last updated at 12/27/2013 - 2:41 pm
Christmas Compilation - CCW staff stories
Christmas is my favorite holiday simply for the spirit I feel around this time of year - the snow, the decorations, the movies, the folklore and the time with family and friends.
Santa is still one of the most exciting elements of Christmas to me. With Hollywood always trying to find that next classic Christmas movie, it's interesting to see how Santa's evolved over the years and "gotten with the times." I still remember the night I knew for certain Santa was real (you can never be too sure). When I was about eight or nine on Christmas Eve my brother and I had gone to bed after watching the Santa tracker flash across our TV. He was getting close. We left out a plate full of cookies for Santa and a plate full of carrots for those reindeer and off to bed we went. I was too excited to sleep very easily. Minutes turned into an hour and I heard our woodstove creak open. He must be here! Of course, you can't let Santa know you're awake so I huddled in bed until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
In the morning presents were packed in below the tree, the cookies and carrots were eaten, nibbled and munched.
The magic of Christmas is still very dear to my heart. Come one, come all, for Christmas is here.
- Sarah Day, Former CCW managing editor
The little things
My parents had nine kids. My dad was a teacher. We didn't have a lot so we didn't go all out on Christmas. So, the little things were special. I remember one Christmas when my Grandma came to visit, it was the only Christmas we had with a grandparent because they lived so far away. We were helping her unload and she turns to me with a brown box. It was plain - unwrapped.
"Put that under the tree," she said.
So I set it down under the tree. But when she wasn't looking, I opened the top a little bit and peeked in. It was a box of brown sugar.
It's funny now to think about that moment. Yet back then, the circumstances were entirely different. My grandparents were farmers in Arizona. They also lived on pretty slight means. For them food was essential but sugar - you don't actually need sugar to survive. That was a bonus.
I appreciate it more now because it reminds me of humble circumstances, because people used to be happy to get by on much less. Today, it's often about having so much more and appreciating it less.
- Rustan Burton, publisher
Racetrack with a loop
All I wanted was an electric race car track - the one with a loop that went up on the wall. And that's all I wanted; I didn't want underwear, socks or any clothes. Early that morning, I woke up and thought, "I should go look." But, I went back and forth about it. So, I went to the bathroom in case anyone caught me. When I came out of the bathroom, I couldn't resist. There it was. I could see it - the loop on the wall. I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't, of course, because I was so excited. Finally! I was going to get exactly what I wanted for Christmas.
At last the time came to go look at the Christmas presents. I emerged from my room trying my best to look tired, like I had slept all night. And what did I see? Not my racetrack.
I had looked in the wrong corner. One of my sister's presents was up against the wall and I had seen it shadow. His present was a simple figure-8 racetrack. I was very angry and sad. I never woke up early again on Christmas.
- Shane Leavitt, Business manager
Here comes Santa Claus
What my family does for Christmas is a story in itself. About 50 of us get together every year at my grandmother's house. She has a tree that's about 20-feet tall. The Christmas presents fill the entire room. Each individual family usually chooses a room to unwrap presents in. When we're done, there's usually 2-3 feet of wrapping paper covering the floor. We have so much family that you could lose small children under the wrapping paper.
Santa Claus comes every year. He's come on a tractor, fire truck, hot rod, golf cart, dune buggy - it's different every year. He brings probably 20 stockings every year and gives them to all the kids. We dump the stockings on the floor and sort through all of the good things that he's brought us. It's really cool. My family lives on this farm so Santa visits my father's aunt's house on Christmas Eve, which is one field away from my grandmother's house. We spend Christmas Day at my grandma's house and Christmas dinner is at my uncle's house, which is one field away.
- Kathryn Nickerson, advertising manager
It's all about the lights
I love Christmas. Well, I love preparing for Christmas. Don't get me wrong, the day itself is pretty darn fabulous and there is nothing like seeing mounds of presents under the tree, even though as I get older, less and less of the mounds have my name on them. Preparing for Christmas is where it is at. Those are the memories that stand out in my mind.
I knew it was Christmas time when my mom started to work on the lights. She would haul the multitudinous strings from the years previous and lay them out on the floor. The living room would be dark save for the enthusiastic survivors that threw their colors as far as they could. The floors were treacherous with the fuses and less worthy bulbs that lay scattered. A misguided step broke a bulb or two but, fortunately, never to ill effect. Handel's Messiah filled the air and we would get to work. My mother had a system. Red, green, yellow, blue, red, green, yellow, blue, this was the order for her lights and she stuck to it. Throughout the evening she would call for this color or that and my brothers and I would search the less fortunate strings or that failing, the boxes of extra bulbs for the color requested. She detested the creamy bulbs, scoffed at the twinklers and only accepted the delicate translucents for her vision. These lights, with which she would adorn our cabin's edges, made the dark nights almost bright.
Our house was beautiful. And we often won the town's decorating contest. We reveled in cold wonder at the perfection of our mom's creation and when we went to bed we were bathed in the multicolored Christmas glow that streamed through the window. There is something achingly beautiful to me about Christmas lights on a cold Alaskan night. This is Christmas to me.
- Hadassah Nelson, multi-media sales representative