Thanksgiving Contest – Win $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Thanksgiving is in the air!  I have fond memories of family gatherings and Papa demonstrating how to carve the turkey.  He always removed the wishbone (located between the neck and breast of the bird) and set it aside to dry. A couple of days later, he’d offer it to me or one of my siblings and say, “Make a wish.”

Each of us knew to grab one end of the wishbone, make a wish, and pull until the wishbone broke.  It’s said that the person with the biggest piece of broken wishbone gets their wish. Papa eventually taught us a technique for winning the wishbone game, by allowing your opponent to do the work. Learn how here.    

Papa didn’t take anything for granted. He was self-reliant and learned strategies and skills to tip the odds in his favor. And when fortune smiled upon our family he would often say, “We are so lucky.  We have so much. Be grateful every day!”  He expressed his gratitude for the blessings he received not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day.

Do you have a special memory of your father or grandfather at Thanksgiving or during the holidays?  Was there a special tradition or custom that he had?  Please share it here.  And if your post earns two “thumbs up” from other readers, I’ll enter your name in a random drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com! 

This contest begins  today and ends at 11:59 PM (PST) on Friday, November 30th. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Tuesday, December 4th and will receive the prize in time for the holidays.

Contest Rules

The contest begins at midnight (PST) on Friday, November 9th, 2012 and concludes at 11:59 PM (PST) on Friday, November 30, 2012.  The winner will be announced by email on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Participants must be at least 18 years old to enter and have a valid email address. Participants may submit unlimited blog entries; however, each entry must receive 2 or more “likes” from blog readers in order to qualify for the gift card. Winner will be drawn at random. Blog entries must be posted on PapasPearls.com and relate solely to the given topic. The $100.00 gift card to Amazon.com will be issued within 7 days of the contest deadline and sent electronically. Only online entries will be accepted.

71 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Contest – Win $100 Amazon Gift Card!

  1. My dad and my extended family had a Chinese dinner at a favorite restaurant every year during the holidays when we were growing up!

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    • Every year when we were little my dad would gather all of us kids together and we would get in the car and go look at christmas lights. No matter how long it took we would look at as many as we could see.

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  2. Our favorite tradition for Thanksgiving is to have a “Peanuts” thanksgiving dinner the night before Thanksgiving Day: popcorn, pretzels, toast, jelly beans and jello! My son got this idea from the “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” special, and we have been doing this ever since! We also like to do a drawing on things we are thankful for into a jar, then we read them aloud one by one together as a family.

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  3. I fondly remember my father always patiently assembling our new toys with us and showing us how they worked.

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    • I think “assembly” may be a mandatory job skill for a dad. I think one of the few times I ever heard my dad swear was when an “easy-to-assemble” toy, proved not to be. :)

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  4. My mom was Swedish so we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. Of course this posed a problem for Santa in that how could he come to our home when all the kids were home? My daddy took care of that by giving us each 50 cents and took us to the local 5 and 10 store to by my mom a gift. This continued until one year when I was about 8 and I got to stay home while the younger ones went. To my surprise my dad had arranged for Santa to come knock on my door while he was gone. So many memories.

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  5. My father was a country doctor who worked 60 to 70 hours per week most of the time. We had late dinners with him and weekend time with Dad on was precious. However, Dad always loved decorating for Christmas. We would venture out one day early in December and hunt for the best tree for our living room. After that was duly chopped down and dragged home, we would look for more trees to place around our manger scene. Much time and thought was put into where Mary, Joseph and Jesus would be set to tell the world the Christ has indeed come. One year, the holy family even ended up in a sailboat in our front yard with lights running up the mast! I learned from Dad how wonderful the news of Jesus’s birth was and that we needed to creatively proclaim that to the world.

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  6. The special tradition that my dad had was to take us out into the bush to find the perfect tree for Christmas no matter how deep the snow. We often walked a long way in our attempt to find it. When the big day arrived, he would sit us all down and read the Christmas story to us as a family.

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  7. My father had a tradition every Christmas — he’d “rescue” a new “orphan ornament” from some store. He’d hunt for these strange, oddly made ones that looked like mistakes (Like one riding a hobby horse, but the horse was acutally impaled through the little wooden elf body), and otherwise would be rejected or left behind. Like the Island of Misfit Toys. He’d get one or a few and add them to the tree. I lost my father a few years back quite suddenly and unexpectedly — the orphan ornaments came home with me and we hang them with our own son, now ten, each year — in memory of “Pa”. We honor him, and a lesson (albeit maybe accidental) on acceptance, tolerance and reaching out a hand to those that might otherwise be overlooked. Even now, as we begin our search for a family dog at different rescues, our son gravitates towards those that are listed as “still waiting” or “overlooked” for some reason, wanted to give them what they need. It’s silly, it’s sweet and instilled a way of thinking that was probably unintentional as far as his reason for getting the ornaments, but had that effect nonetheless.

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  8. My father died when I was quite young at the age of 53, but I can never see a real Christmas tree that I don’t think of him. I came from a family that was rich in love but not money. My dad would always tease us that we we not going to get a Christmas Tree “this year”, but on Christmas Eve day sure enough off to town we would go and bring home that very special tree, obviously they were quite picked over, but I thought it was the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. When I got older I realized that most of the time they would give us that crooked or no branches on one side tree, but it made my 8 brothers and sisters very happy. We would many times have to have it right next to the curtain rod so we could tie it to the rod so it would not tip over.

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  9. When I was little my dad always took us to see Santa come to the shopping center the day after Thanksgiving. Now we get up really early and go shopping and out to breakfast that day, just the two of us.

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  10. My grandparents always loved Christmas and my grandfather especially loved all the lights that where strung up on peoples houses and in yards. So we would get in his truck and go for a ride through the neighborhoods just to look at all the beautiful light displays, and my grandfather would point out all the more elaborate displays with some oooh’s and aaah’s for added effect. He was really like a child when it came to Christmas, I loved it! Then we’d head back to the house and have some warm cocoa and a couple of Grandma’s homemade German Pfeffernusse cookies that she’d make, with the help of my Grandfather, every year at Christmas-time, and sit down in his rocker-recliner chair with my Children’s Bible and a blanket draped over our legs, and read about the birth of Jesus. I didn’t realize it at the time, but out of all the gifts I have ever received at Christmas, this was the best gift they could have ever given to me. And even though it wasn’t a physical gift that I could unwrap and display to all that were in the room, or show off to my friends, it is the one gift that has stayed with me through all the years, that I can sit back and admire at any time, no matter where I am, and it always brings a smile to my face, warms my heart, and makes Christmas just that much more precious and special to me.

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  11. My Mother was always in charge of the Christmas tree decorations. Every year she would lovingly place our homemade ornaments on the tree. Daddy was in charge on only one ‘decoration’.

    We had Christmas mugs for all of our family. Mother and Daddy got them when they were first married. With each child one was added. Daddy would write the name and date on each mug. After Mother had finished with the house and tree Daddy would gently take each mug out. Us 3 kids placed our on mugs on the mantle while Daddy placed his and Mom’s. He always had a faraway look on his face and I knew as I grew older he was remembering when he and Mom, newly married, had bought their mugs.

    My Mother died 4 years ago and Daddy has remarried bur my daughter and I always take those mugs out and carefully line them up.

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  12. My dad always taught us the tradition of family. Being there for one another & not focusing on ourselves. Mymost favorite part was the lessons in cooking.

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  13. When I was a little girl, my parents started a simple, but very meaningful tradition to take place all through the Advent season. Dad built a wooden manger, about 9 inches long and 6 inches high. He just used old 3/4 inch thick scrap wood, and stained it dark brown. Mom bought fat yellow yarn and cut it up into 6 inch lengths. They put the yarn into an old coffeecan and placed it and the manger under the Christmas tree. Each time someone in the family did something loving for someone else, he or she could then take one of the pieces of yarn “straw” and put it in the manger. The goal was to have a soft, welcoming bed for baby Jesus by Christmas Eve.

    Each Sunday of Advent we would draw a family member’s name from the hat, and that is who we would focus our acts of love on for the week. So I remember having my little sister Allison’s name, and doing things like setting the dinner table for her when it was her turn, playing with her (when I would not have otherwise), or letting her use my favorite toys. Each time I did something loving, I got to put another piece of “straw” into the manger–and we all did the acts without announcing them, and tried to slip in the straw when no one else was in the room, to keep the game a little secretive (and more selfless, now that I think about it).

    Every Christmas Eve we would have a full manger, so ready and inviting, symbolizing our excited anticipation of Christmas morning. But the best part, of course, was practicing choosing to love one another in tangible ways throughout the Advent season.

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  14. My favorite Christmas tradition was my grandfather sitting us all down and reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. I can still picture it in my head. The tv was turned off, there was a huge fire in the fireplace, and we were already in our pajamas. It was my grandparents, my parents, my brother & I, and my aunt and her family. We weren’t a huge family but we filled up my grandparent’s living room. We would all find a comfy place to sit. Then, with the sound of the fire crackling in the fireplace, my grandfather would read us the Christmas story from his Bible. After that, the children all went to bed while the grown-ups stayed up a little bit longer to visit (and put together any “some assembly required” toys). It is my favorite holiday tradition. Now that my grandfather is no longer with us, my dad is the one that reads the Christmas story to us. I hope that my children will have the same wonderful memories of their grandfather reading the Christmas story to them that I do.

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  15. There is a poem, a wonderful poem, by the name of “Annie and Willies’s Prayer”, that my Father read every Christmas eve for his family of 11 children. It was a full evening of caroling, visiting, snacking on oranges, chocolate and nuts that we had to shell. It was magical, and we all waited for the last bit, the poem. Dad would shed a tear every year, we knew, and that made it more magical yet. And then the last thing, before we were expected to head off to bed was the Christmas story from Luke. I expect that it began when there were only 1 or 2 children. But it continues to this day for any of his family that would be around him on Christmas Eve, and he is 93 years young this year. Not only that, but every family, all 11, keep the tradition, with one of the parents reading the poem and the Bible on Christmas Eve. I have attached it below.

    Annie and Willie’s Prayer, by Sophia P. Snow.

    ‘Twas the eve before Christmas. “Good night,” had been said,
    And Annie and Willie had crept into bed;
    There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes,
    And each little bosom was heaving with sighs,
    For tonight their stern father’s command had been given
    That they should retire precisely at seven
    Instead of at eight-for they troubled him more
    With questions unheard of than ever before:
    He had told them he thought this delusion a sin,
    No such creature as “Santa Claus” ever had been.
    And he hoped, after this, he should never more hear
    How he scrambled down chimneys with presents each year.
    And this was the reason that two little heads
    So restlessly tossed on their soft, downy beds.

    Eight, nine, and the clock on the steeple tolled ten,
    Not a word bad been spoken by either till then,
    When Willie’s sad face from the blanket did peep,
    And whispered, ‘Dear Annie, is ‘ou fast as’eep?”
    “Why no, brother Willie,” a sweet voice replies,
    “I’ve long tried in vain, but I can’t shut my eyes,
    For somehow it makes me so sorry because
    Dear papa has said there is no ‘Santa Claus.’
    Now we know there is, and it can’t be denied,
    For he came every year before mamma died;
    But, then, I’ve been thinking that she used to pray,
    And God would hear everything mamma would say,
    And maybe she asked him to send Santa Claus here
    With that sackful of presents he brought every year.”
    “Well, why tan’t we p’ay dest as mamma did den,
    And ask Dod to send him with p’esents aden?”
    “I’ve been thinking so too,” and without a word more
    Four little bare feet bounded out on the floor,
    And four little knees the soft carpet pressed,
    And two tiny hands were clasped close to each breast.

    “Now, Willie, you know we must firmly believe
    That the presents we ask for we’re sure to receive;
    You must wait very still till I say the ‘Amen,’
    And by that you will know that your turn has come then.”
    “Dear Jesus, look down on my brother and me,
    And grant us the favor we are asking of thee.
    I want a wax dolly, a teaset, and ring,
    And an ebony workbox that shuts with a spring.
    Bless papa, dear Jesus, and cause him to see
    That Santa Claus loves us as much as does he;
    Don’t let him get fretful and angry again
    At dear brother Willie and Annie. Amen.”
    ‘Please, Desus, ‘et Santa Taus turn down tonight,
    And b’ing us some p’esents before it is light,
    I want he should div’ me a nice ‘ittie s’ed,
    With bright sbinin’ ‘unners, and all painted red;
    A box full of tandy, a book, and a toy,
    Amen, and then, Desus, I’ll be a dood boy.”

    Their prayers being ended, they raised up their heads,
    With hearts light and cheerful, again sought their beds.
    Tley were lost soon in slumber, both peaceful and deep,
    And with fairies in dreamland were roaming in sleep.

    Eight, nine, and the little French clock had struck ten,
    Ere the father had thought of his children again:
    He seems now to hear Annie’s half-suppressed sighs,
    And to see the big tears stand in Willie’s blue eyes.
    ‘I was harsh with my darlings,” he mentally said,
    ‘And should not have sent them so early to bed;
    But then I was troubled; my feelings found vent,
    For bank stock today has gone down ten per cent!

    But of course they’ve forgotten their troubles ere this,
    And that I denied them the thrice-asked-for kiss:
    But, just to make sure, I’ll go up to their door,
    For I never spoke harsh to my darlings before.”
    So saying, he softly ascended the stairs,
    And arrived at the door to hear both of their prayers;
    His Annie’s “Bless papa” drew forth the big tears,
    And Willie’s grave promise fell sweet on his ears.
    ‘Strange-strange-I’d forgotten,” said he with a sigh,
    ‘How I longed when a child to have Christmas draw nigh.”
    “I’ll atone for my harshness,” he inwardly said,
    “By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed.”

    Ilen he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
    Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing gown,
    Donned hat, coat, and boots, and was out in the street,
    A millionaire facing the cold, driving in the sleet
    Nor stopped he until he had bought everything
    From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring;
    Indeed, he kept adding so much to his store,
    That the various presents outnumbered a score.

    Then homeward he turned. When his holiday load,
    With Aunt Mary’s help, in the nursery was stowed.
    Miss Dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
    By the side of a table spread out for her tea;
    A workbox well fitted in the center was laid,
    And on it the ring for which Annie had prayed,
    A soldier in uniform stood by a sled
    “With bright shining runners, and all painted red.’
    There were balls, dogs, and horses, books pleasing to see,
    And birds of all colors were perched in the tree!
    While Santa Claus, laughing, stood up in the top,
    As if getting ready more presents to drop.
    And as the fond father the picture surveyed,
    He thought for his trouble he had amply been paid,
    And he said to himself, as he brushed off a tear,
    ‘I’m happier tonight than I’ve been for a year;
    I’ve enjoyed more pure pleasure than ever before;
    What care I if bank stock falls ten per cent more!
    Hereafter I’ll make it a rule, I believe,
    To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas Eve.’
    So thinking, he gently extinguished the light,
    And, tripping down stairs, retired for the night.

    As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
    Put the darkness to flight, and the stars one by one,
    Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
    And at the same moment the presents espied;
    Then out of their beds they sprang with a bound,
    And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.
    They laughed and they cried, in their innocent glee,
    And shouted for papa to come quick and see
    What presents old Santa Claus brought in the night
    (just the things that they wanted,) and left before light:

    ‘And now,” added Annie, in a voice soft and low,
    ‘You’ll believe there’s a ‘Santa Claus’, papa, I know”-
    While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee,
    Determined no secret between them should be,
    And told in soft whispers how Annie had said
    That their dear, blessed mamma, so long ago dead,
    Used to kneel down by the side of her chair,
    And that God up in heaven had answered her prayer.
    ‘Den we dot up and prayed dust well as we tould,
    And Dod answered our prayers: now wasn’t He dood?”
    ‘I should say that He was, if He sent you all these,
    And knew just what presents my children would please.
    (Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
    ‘Twould be cruel to tell him I did it myself.”)

    Blind father! who caused your stem heart to relent,
    And the hasty words spoken so soon to repent?
    ‘Twas the Being who bade you steal softly upstairs,
    And made you His agent to answer their prayers.

    – Sophia P. Snow

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  16. We always spent the day with my grandparents. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known he has been gone for 16 yrs . What I would give to have him here to carve the turkey this year

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  17. We always went to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree with my grandfather when I was little. After decorating the tree, he always put reins with bells and a lighted red nose onto the mounted deer above the fire place. Then, very early Christmas morning he would ring sleigh bells and stomp around outside saying “ho, ho, ho” to wake us up for breakfast and gifts. I think Christmas was so important to him because he grew up very poor and with very little celebrating.

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  18. We had a tradition of gathering around the tree on Christmas Eve to listen to a taped reading of “The Christmas Carol”. Afterwards, we would read the Christmas story from the Bible. The year that I began working at a nursing home, I could not get home until 11:30 and I was sure that everyone else would be in bed. My papa, however, was waiting up for me with cookies, and the two of us sat by the tree listening to “The Christmas Carol” together. Just as the story came to the part where “all the bells in the house rang out”, there was a tinkling sound that came from under the tree! I jumped in surprise, but Papa just nudged a package with his foot and made some silly excuse for what I had heard! In spite of my unsatisfied curiosity, we finished listening to the story and went to bed. The next morning I found a package for me with a beautiful music box inside! Apparently, the previous night, it had shifted and the lid had opened enough for it to play– right at the most opportune moment! I will never forget that Christmas and Papa’s thoughtfulness in staying up to make sure that I wouldn’t miss out on our Christmas tradition.

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  19. Every year my mom cooks an amazing Thanksgiving meal and the family enjoys it and the next couple of days we start to decorate the house with Christmas lights, put up stockings and our very old Christmas tree (23 year old tree! Lol) and then my mom takes us to see lights around the neighborhood so we can start getting in the mood for Christmas!!! My father died before I was born and my grandparents live in Florida so we hardly see them but I am very blessed with a beautiful and hardworking mother :)

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  20. I did not have a father growing up but had a wonderful Grandfather. He was also a chef when he was younger so every holiday were special. Because my grandparents spent a lot of time raising my brother and myself they were like parents to us. They were not rich but the memories I have of my first Christmas stocking will last me a life time, it was nothing special just a stocking with a small apple, orange, some nuts and a little candy but it was the best gift I had ever gotten. My Grandfather went out of his way to make sure the whole family got together (all 27 grandkids and Aunts and Uncles) for most holidays, the meals were special and all the kids playing hide and seek all through the night on Christmas Eve. Grandpa always made sure Santa showed up and gave all the kids a little something. He passed away when I was 12 and Christmas was never the same after that, we never realized how much he put into everything he did until he was no longer with us. What a wonderful man he was. It has been 36 years since he has gone home but I sure do think of him and all I have to be thankful about. He taught me to be honest and to care for others and he made sure we were loved.

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  21. Christmas Day was my grandfather’s birthday. I always remember him making fun of his special day during every Christmas holiday. A fond memory would be during our Christmas dinner. He would sit at the head of the table surrounded by his seven children and several grandchildren, and say a special prayer before carving the turkey. He was a very gentle, loving grandfather. I miss him dearly.

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  22. I remember my father for the tradition of putting up the Christmas tree on my birthday. This was a way to make my day special even if it was so close to Christmas. Another tradition were his Mother’s Scottish Shortbread cookies.Every year we would make them for the Christmas season. Great memories!

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  23. My Dad was a working guy and mom stayed home and cooked and took care of the kids. My Dad didn’t bake (a little grilling maybe, but NO baking) except for once a year on Christmas morning. After all the presents were opened and the wrapping picked up, Dad would get Mom a cup of coffee and head to the kitchen with me in tow. We would carefully look over the recipe that Mom would helpfully leave out for us, gather all the ingredients, and go to work making Sticky Buns. And to this day, I still make Christmas Sticky Buns with my kids – because THAT is what you DO on Christmas morning!

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  24. Every Christmas Day, when my grandparents came over, my grandpa would bring with him a piggy bank. In that bank, he had placed all the change he had in his pockets at the end of each day for the previous year. It was always stuffed full, and my two brothers and I would get to open it, dump the change out, and count and divide it equally among us. It was always amazing how much those coins added up to – more than $100 – and it was a good lesson in how saving even a little bit can add up over time (plus some math lessons too!)

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  25. We were never allowed to eat junk food growing up, but on Christmas Eve, my dad took us girls to the store to each pick out a kind of snack and dip and soda. We also had hot spiced cider. That evening, my mom would spread out a table cloth on the floor and we got to eat our snacks in the front room while watching Christmas specials. It was so simple yet so exciting for me as a little girl.

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  26. We lived on a farm and although I never knew it, my parents worked hard to make ends meet. One of our favorite Christmas traditions was to go into the woods on our farm and cut our own cedar tree. My dad would let us wander around to find the perfect tree. Then he would cut it down and we’d haul it back to the farmhouse and make popcorn and cranberry garlands to decorate it with. The final touch was to put the Nativity stable that my dad had made under the tree with Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus.

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  27. Each year there was a Christmas present from Mrs. Claus under our tree. We knew it was really from Dad, but it was tradition and always fun to find it under the tree.

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  28. My father started a tradition in our family of writing creative gift tags. There are never names on the packages under our tree–only little epithets that serve as clues to who the gift is for and from and what might be inside. For example, a gift from my dad to my mom might read: “To the woman who has it all, from the man who broke it.” When I got married, my husband joined in on the game and we are now passing it on to our children. Not only does it add a personal (and often comical) touch to our gift wrapping. It really slows down gift opening. There is no mass tearing into gifts under the tree at our house. Each gift gets its own moment in the spotlight so everyone can hear and appreciate the tag before it is opened.

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  29. My birthday is two weeks before Christmas. My dad & PaPa (grandpa), along with my MaMa (grandma), all have their birthdays within a week of mine. Our family tradition was to always have a birthday celebration for all of us together. Considering these were 3 of my favorite people, even as a young child, I valued the ability to share that experience with my dad & grandparents.

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  30. Initially, when I was thinking back to my childhood Christmas and holiday experiences, it seemed like it was all my mom… all her special touches that made everything so wonderful and memorable.

    However, this question that you have posed, made me reflect a little more carefully upon those childhood memories. Even though my dad may not have played the obvious role that my mom did, it’s surprising how many traditions I now recall as being uniquely HIS.

    Two things in particular that I recall about every Christmas day are:
    1) My dad always cooked up a Christmas brunch to die for! This was an event in and of itself, because my dad worked so many long hours that he rarely helped in the kitchen. On Christmas morning, he’d “shoo” mom out of the kitchen, demand that she go relax and “enjoy” Christmas with me, while he whipped up a delectable storm!

    It was always funny to watch the exchange between them as he’d scoot her out of the kitchen, but she’d try to sneak back in to help… over and over! Then, of course, he’d often ask for help at the last minute, so she’d tease him about this. Fun times!

    2) Once we had finished cleaning up from brunch (even the clean-up was mostly handled by dad), we would load up our gifts and head over to our close family friends who ‘across the road’. A little background: I grew up in a very rural area in Canada. (a) We always had plenty of snow for Christmas, and (b) ‘across the road’ meant 1/2 mile or so! And, when I say “we would load up our gifts”, I mean we would load them up on a sleigh and trudge over! No matter how cold and blustery it might be, this was definitely part of the fun! Dad would pull us as we giggled and sang Christmas songs for all to hear!

    I have great memories of my dad’s role in making my childhood holidays special. Thanks for reminding me!

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  31. My daddy and I have been singing together since I was 1. We would sing at many places throughout the holidays. We sang at Christmas tree lightings and Christmas parties and family gatherings. When I was a teenager my grandma, whom I was very close to, got Alzheimer’s. She eventually had to go to a nursing home. One of my favorite things to do around the holidays with my dad was to sing at nursing homes. When we sang at hers, she was so happy. Even when she didn’t remember us that well, she would dance and sing and smile. It made my dad and I so happy to see her and the other people at the nursing home enjoying the holidays and the entertainment. It is one of my favorite memories now that she is gone.

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    • Thanks for the likes. I only wish my grandma were here so she could have met my kids. I know they would have loved each other so much!! It’s always hardest around the holidays. Especially since Christmas was her favorite and she did it up big. Best wishes to everybody!!

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  32. I remember the Christmas that I was ten, and I really wanted a pink and black outfit (it was the 80’s!). When I opened one wrapped package, there was a pair of black sweats and a pink sweatshirt. My Mom said my Dad had picked it out and purchased it on his own, and he hated to shop and was not the sentimental type. I absolutely loved that outfit! My Dad beamed with pride every time I wore it.

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  33. It has been six years since my Dad took his own life and the holidays are especially difficult because he always made them wonderful. I remember when he would drive us through all of the neighborhoods in search of great Christmas light displays on Christmas Eve. We would go to bed with vivid visions of Christmas themes and colors. When we would wake up he would have turned the living room into a wonderland. We would spend the entire morning opening gifts and eating breakfast. He was an awesome Dad who despite his issues later in life gave me and my siblings the best childhood any kid can dream of. I now re-create that feeling for my son and will be taking him on the annual Christmas light tour in our area this year. For those of you who have a great Dad in your life, cherish every moment and don’t ever forget to tell him that you love him.

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  34. It may sound silly, but after all of the hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day had settled down, on Christmas afternoon, every year, my dad would take all of the kids out for a movie. It was something special that I always looked forward to.

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  35. My Daddy was the chief tree decorator and light putter upper! He loved Christmas like he was still a little boy. It was infectious.

    Last year Mom got sick in October and was healed in Heaven just 9 days before Christmas.

    The holiday seems less like a holiday this year, but Daddy started a new tradition. Instead of a Christmas tree, we have the Mamo tree. (Mamo was what the grandkids called my mom). We all choose ornaments that remind us of Mom and on Christmas Eve, we tell about our Memory as we put the ornament on the tree. It’s a wonderful way to remember Mom and it’s a great support for Daddy.

    This is our second Christmas to do this, and everyone is excited and carefully picking out their ornaments!

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  36. My favorite Christmas tradition was having tacos for dinner on Christmas Eve (!), and then each of the four kids would get to play a part in a short drama, where we went around the house and knocked at various doors carrying pieces from the creche and reenacting Joseph and Mary looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem. My father was the play director, assigning who would play the innkeepers, Mary, Joseph, etc. each year, and making sure that the play progressed smoothly. We finished with a little procession to place the baby Jesus in the creche. It was a good reminder of the reason for the celebration of Christmas.

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  37. Every year two weeks before Christmas my father would take my brother and I to the forest and we would cut down our own Christmas tree. What was so unique is we would hunt for the perfect tree. As a young child I would want the first little tree we came to but my dad would say, “Not yet, that one needs to grow some more.” Then we would walk a little further and my brother or I would say,”What about this one?” My dad was patient with us and would teach us how to pick a good tree. By walking and looking he taught us how to be patient and not to settle for just anything. He also taught us how to see beyond just what we were looking at, to use our imagination and see our tree inside a bigger tree. He looked at the fullness of the tree and he would sometimes pick a tree that was too tall for our house. We would say, “that is too big”, but he could visualize what the tree would look like if he were to cut the bottom off. Once he was finished trimming it, there would be our perfect tree. I was always amazed when he was done because it would be the right size and shape for our house. Then we would take it home and dad would puts the lights on and brother and I would decorate it and my mom would serve hot chocolate because we would be cold from tree hunting.

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  38. My father had to take the place of both Parents for my brother and myself. My mother gave up custody of both us because she had become addictioned to drugs. My father was just starting a business of his own at the time he gained custody of us and things were very tight for a long time. It was the 80s and he was a single father. My grandparents usually helped him out with gifting(he doesn’t know that I know) and making Christmas special. Finally his business began to take off and we were more comfortable. My father decided that to help us along in life, he would culture us in a way. At Christmas time, and on our birthdays, he would take us to our musicals, ballets, plays, concerts, dinner theatres, museums, nature centers(we lived in CA)….anything that would help to give a good perspective on people, places, and things in life. I think he sort of wanted to give us a little extra because our mother was not in our lives. I’m not sure if this is what he wanted us to gleen from it, but I believe he wanted us to see the beauty in the world and that we could expand our minds and hearts, to do what we want in life; Because……that is what I gained from it anyway. I homeschooled my two step daughter through high school(who’s mother gave them up too-funny how God works) and am now Homeschooling my daughter, who is 7. I have done these tradtions with my girls and they LOVE it. My middle daughter is in love with musicals and continues to go see them as an adult. I cannot thank my father enough for putting thought into what he did for us, because a small amount of Christmas gifts and a visit to see Manheim Steamroller was much better than a tree full of gifts, and instead of a birthday party, and having the opportunity to watch a performance of Phantom of the Opera, was far more enriching….And it left beautiful memories for me to want to pass on to my girls.

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  39. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas!! It is my favorite time of the year. Every year we go to my granddaddy’s house and the whole family is there. We eat, watch football, play football and visit. Then, my immediate family would go Black Friday shopping early the next morning. We would grab Starbucks, get tons of presents and come back home. We put up our tree, listened to Christmas music, drank hot chocolate and I would wrap all the presents we bought (except my own of course). Now, I have a husband and 4 kids of my own. We have continued these wonderful traditions every year and try to add a few new ones of our own. Happy Holidays to everyone!!!!

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  40. We would often be with my mom’s family on Christmas day. My mom has 9 siblings and they all have large families, giving me about 70 cousins! Sometime in the afternoon my Grandpa would come around with a LARGE bag of candy and it would be announced that it was time for the ‘candy throw’! All the kids would gather in a crowd in front of him and he would pitch handfuls of candy into the air. Then what a scrambling to fill our bags! It was always fun to sit and examine our loot and share with parents and older people. And ofcourse, we always snuck out to Grandpa’s car soon after he arrived to peek in the windows and make sure he hadn’t forgotten the bag of candy! Then wait in delightful anticipation until it was ‘time’!

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  41. I remember the Christmas I got my first bike. I knew before I went to sleep what I was getting. Not because I snuck out of bed and peeked, but because my dad couldn’t resist trying the bell on it. I heard the bell from my bed.

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  42. My favorite Christmas memory of my Dad was when he cut a dry branch from our apricot tree. He told us as a little boy he didn’t have a Christmas tree. What his family would do was to get a branch and anchor it to something, add cotton balls, toys, or whatever decorations they had. My dad wanted us to experience putting it together with him. I remember, watching with such excitement and a bit anxious to help. He finally anchored that branch,and we were able to decorate that branch with cotton balls. The cotton balls were to mimic the look of snow on the branches. Then, we addedplastic toy ornaments and silver strings to it. We also added lights to it. I thought our little decorated branch turned out quite lovely! Thanks Dad for the memory of decorating that apricot branch together.

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  43. My parents could not have biological children. Yearning for children, they waited a long time until my adoption worked out. My parents both always talked about what a joyful time it was when they finally brought me home. I think I was always was always Daddy’s Girl and we were very close… Oh how I loved those Father-Daughter dates! OH and Christmas was such a special time in our home (and house)! We compared it Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation, wondering how he would out-do himself from year-to-year. In his case, it was not a matter of comparing ourselves to others, but the mere fact that he loved Jesus AND Christmas! I respect my Dad and his dedication as an ordained minister; he helped so many people and was very involved in their lives…while making time for us. Of many things, another thing I can take from my childhood is how I truly learned that we are not perfect and not able to be until we are Home with Jesus. He was not the most patient man; he made mistakes like we all do, but I always remember him admitting when he was wrong and why and his apologizing….he made it right. I never forgot that and have applied it to my life whether a student, in the workforce, wife, mother, teacher (still a student right?)… It is humbling to know that while we are all proud because of our fallen sinful nature, we can still strive to do what is right. …Another thing worth mentioning is how we relied on monthly support (not a 9-5 life). There were months that were short or tight, but somehow (and it got interesting), the Lord always provided! People are struggling today in this current economy and we all need to remember that we are from royalty. The King of Kings is all-powerful and He reigns and He provides our “necessities”. The Lord loves time with us…..even more than my Daddy loved time with his children/family. He was definitely a people-person and loved by all. My Daddy tragically died very suddenly 13 years ago and I still miss him so much. He would have loved his grandkids and my husband. I am grateful I will see him again someday…and my family I have now can meet him.

    Oh, and it is a blessing to me to have his identical twin brother that I can talk to.

    Thanks, that was nice to be able to share about that wonderful man.

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  44. I wasn’t much of a help around the house growing up, but one thing I did learn was how to make coffee cake for the holidays. My dad loved it so much, that it became not only a Christmas tradition, but a Thanksgiving one as well. He lived into his eighties and I was still brining him his beloved coffee cake, while secretly baking a gluten free version for myself and my kids!

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  45. We lived in Frazier Park CA when I was growing up. We were surrounded by woods. Every year my dad and I went into the woods to get our Christmas tree. We picked it, chopped it, brought it home. All the locals knew how to do this without killing the tree – you didn’t chop it at the bottom, but took it from the top. One year the snow was so deep that it was taller than I was and my dad had to carry me on his shoulders the whole way.

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  46. As the Holidays come near and the sweet smell of pine cuddles near my nostrils. I recall the sight of people quickly rushing for shelter as the snowflakes slowly touched the ground. It drew me into panic. I can almost hear their internal dialog as they fought with the weather man and contended with God. Yet the sound of my daddy’s voice, reassuring me that it was alright to allow the snow to caress my face, allowed the commotion on the outside to fade away. I can remember the song he sang as the cold held tight to his voice box and caused him to sing off tune. It was “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”. Daddy hugged me as we walked , quickly pausing his slightly off key tune to describe the precious creations and the beauty of Nature. My daddy opened my heart to a whole new world that day. From that day on I learned how to see the beauty in every situation. My heart does not cling to the scars that life leaves behind, but to the blessings that encamp around the circumstance. As the snow continues to fall I still hear the comforting sound of his voice letting me know that everything will be alright.

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  47. My grandfather is always on my mind at Thanksgiving, but probably not for any reasons you’re imagining. Growing up, we never lived very close to my grandparents and we visited them infrequently. Because of this I only knew my grandfather to be quiet, extremely intelligent, and intimidating. It wasn’t until I started graduate school in the same town where he lived, and also started doing my laundry at his house on the weekends, that I started getting to know him, his humor, his fairness, his way of seeing people for who they were, with no preconceived notions based on what they looked like or where they lived or how much education they had. I was enjoying this getting to know him when, a couple days before Thanksgiving, he had a heart attack and died shortly thereafter. Thanksgiving, for me, is about the memory of the too short time I got to spend with a man who I’ve come to learn incredible things about. While I always feel this loss of him, I’m also deeply grateful for those few months of connection that I did get, and the conversations that we had while I did my laundry. :)

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