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HomeNewsSpecial Reports Holiday Memories

A host of holiday memoirs...

When we asked readers to share their favorite memories of Christmas and the holidays, we were flooded with stories, too many to squeeze them all under the metaphorical tree (the newspaper). So we picked out some of our favorites to run in the paper between now and New Year's. The rest we are able to share with you right here on the web. Here, in their author's own words, are some great stories and special memories. Enjoy.

Story Archive

New London couple had the will, then found the way to celebrate Hanukkah

 December 30, 2010; Updated: 1:13 pm

Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah is a somewhat moveable feast. In the Northern Hemisphere it arrives in late fall or early winter, when the lighting of one more candle each evening for eight nights illumines the darkest time of year. Not so in countries below the equator. Winter here is summer there.


Little girl met her match

 December 29, 2010; Updated: 4:44 am

Little Debbie Ruggio struck a forbidden match, marveled at the blue at the center of the flame and blew it out. She lit another one and touched it to a paper napkin, expecting the flame to "stay on top" of the napkin, to burn bigger, bluer.


A family tradition took off when baby Jesus went flying

 December 28, 2010; Updated: 5:11 am

Sometimes a treasured family tradition rests on the slimmest of foundations.Consider the case of Christine Whipple who, visiting her mother about five years ago, noticed something was different about the manger set up on the living room table.


A 'night of glee, mixed in with a little fear'

 December 27, 2010; Updated: 4:23 am

Two days before Christmas 19 years ago, the little white lie rolled off Carol Baton's tongue."You know, Leif," she told her grandson, then 2 1/2 years old, "Santa flies by to see who's naughty and nice. It's easy for him to peek in the windows."


When Santa's cup runneth over

 December 26, 2010; Updated: 4:04 am

It was the first Christmas after 10-year-old Bobby Erickson's older cousins had come home from serving in World War II, and the mood was celebratory. Extended family gathered in an apartment in Jamestown, N.Y., a community of laborers and immigrants, largely Swedes and Italians.


'My Funny Valentine': A Christmas story of love, war

 December 25, 2010; Updated: 6:27 am

About Jo-Ann and John Geida, East LymeThis is a story of Christmas Day, 1969, but it really begins eight years before, on a warm summer night in Forest Park in the borough of Queens, N.Y., where a boy named John Geida met a girl named Jo-Ann Feger and they danced to "My Funny Valentine."


The flu vs. the Bible

 December 25, 2010; Updated: 6:16 am

By Darla Allen, GrotonThere have been many wonderful or remarkable holiday memories in my life. But the Christmas that will always hold a special place in my memory is the Christmas of 1968.


For Griswold couple, 'twas the greatest gift of all

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 10:38 am

His cap of snow-white hair notwithstanding, Richard Kramer tonight will mark a milestone that's typically reserved for the elementary school set. "We'll have his eighth birthday party on Christmas Eve," says Maria, his wife. "It's his second time around."


Black boots under the door

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 3:23 pm

By Diane (Maine) Joslin, North StoningtonThe Christmas eve that I was about three and my brother Stanley was about five we were told to go to bed and go to sleep or Santa wouldn't come.



 December 24, 2010; Updated: 5:46 am

By Dale Treadway, Gales FerryIt was December 1951. I was about to turn 13, and my brother had turned 15 the month before.


The arrival of Bo-Bo

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 3:09 pm

By Patti Noonan Foley, NianticThis is to my father, who made a certain little boy very happy back in 1954. The price was inconsequential — $3.98 or so — but the memory for me has been lasting and therefore priceless.


Oh, what a surprise!

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 3:01 pm

By JessieMay (Sissy) Kessler, NianticThere was one week left before Christmas. Owen, my young teenage brother was getting ready to go to the community Christmas party that was put on by the instructors for their children at the Shirley Massachusetts Industrial School for Juvenile...


The day my father's ship came in

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 2:16 pm

By Kelly Murphy, WaterfordIn April of 1972 my dad’s Navy ship (USS Newport News CA 148) was deployed from Norfolk, Va., to Vietnam.


Santa Claus is on the phone

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 2:04 pm

By Janet (Lachack) Decarolis, North FranklinMy brother and I grew up in New York City during the ‘40s and ‘50s. Our mother was a sales clerk in a large department store. Our father was a power maintainer for the city’s subway system.


The gift of five more days of peace

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:48 pm

By Mike Valentine, New LondonOn New Years of 1968, I was on R&R in Tokyo from Vietnam. I was with D company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and I hooked up with a trooper from C company.


A child is born

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:44 pm

By Joann Francisconi, New LondonWhat happened to us on Christmas Eve, 1985, can never be topped. For my husband’s and my family, it was definitely the best holiday ever.


Christmas can wait

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:41 pm

By Harvey Willard, OakdaleChristmas, 1966, would be my first Christmas away from home. A graduate of Plainfield High School, I had entered the Navy when I turned 18 in September and left for boot camp in Chicago in October.


The search for the ‘frozen wonder'

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:39 pm

By Theresa Fricke Grimm, GrotonI don't recall the year this particular Christmas stuck in my mind, but I believe I was about 8 years old, which would make it around 1960. It doesn't really matter. All that matters is that it was a memorable Christmas.


Dad's last Christmas

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:35 pm

By Judith Reed, NianticMy most memorable Christmas was in 1993. My husband and I lived in Gales ferry with our three children.


Simple gifts

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:34 pm

By Susan Borkowski Adkins, BerlinI was lucky enough to have parents who made Christmas time the most wonderful time of the year for me. My story is more about the love, and simple things, during the holidays, that seem to be forgotten.


The spirit of Christmas past

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:34 pm

By Anne Carr Bingham, SalemThe Ghost of Christmas Past always leads me to a corner of Salem where, year after year, my husband and I and our young children journeyed from Boston for the holidays.


The worst Christmas ever?

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:33 pm

By Joan Casey, East LymeThe week before Christmas of 1982, our family dog, Popcorn, of 14 years died. My mother was heartbroken. Knowing my mom wasn't ready for another real dog, my dad and I went out to buy a stuffed animal to temporarily fill the void.


Up all night

 December 24, 2010; Updated: 1:33 pm

By Thomas L. Cantone, MysticI never knew how he did it until later in life when I was old enough to know.


By way of memoir: The best Christmas ever

 November 28, 2010; Updated: 11:12 am

Of course, I don't remember it, but I have this photograph of what surely was, for me, the best Christmas ever. That's me, in the middle, occupying my rightful place in the center of the universe, orbited by the planets Mom and Dad and Grandpa and Grandma.