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Carol Perkins: Christmas Tales

Previous Column: The Visit

By Carol Perkins

When we visited Carla last Sunday for JC's Band Christmas Concert, his brother Clint (home from the Army), his sister Dayna and her baby from Huntsville, and his other grandmother, Nancy from Brentwood, sat in the living room with Carla's family, and Guy and me and shared Christmas memories.

Dayna vowed that Clint would not allow her to decorate the tree because she had no order to her design. "I couldn't even put a candle in the window," she said.

Clint argued that was not true, although he agreed she was messy.

Their story reminded me of how Henry and I threw icicles on our real tree and half landed on the floor.

Nancy grew up in Martin, TN, and recalled that her parents never bought Christmas gifts until Christmas Eve. "They would go to town and shop while we stayed home."

I thought about how my dad waited until Christmas Eve to buy my mother's present and usually ended up with something a clerk chose. Sometimes, he knew what he was going after, but when Mama opened a pair of gold houseshoes, I knew a clerk had made that suggestion.

JC remembered the Elf on the shelf, which led to a conversation about how the "elf" was watching and likely tattling. Not a good idea, all concluded, but Carla assured us she did not use that tactic.

Many parents, however, say repeatedly, "Santa's watching." No kid fears Santa, do they?

Guy remembered riding to Glasgow with his parents and twin sisters when he spotted Santa flying over the square. "Both my sisters corrected me," he said. "'You didn't see anything.'" That could have been the end of Santa.

Carla recounted all the places we went within twenty-four hours: two grandmothers, two great-grandmothers, and back home. Mark had the same story.

Thinking about Christmas memories and retelling stories can be part of your Christmas this year. Go around the room and share. My mother, at 102, recalls a much different Christmas when an apple and an orange were prized gifts. Being the only girl for twenty years, she usually got a doll.

Christmas is a time of sharing; the best gifts come from stories we tell.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2023-12-17 15:11:23
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