Editor's Note: Beliefnet featured a holiday books contest with the question, 'What's the one holiday memory you will never forget?' We share the amazing stories of the five winners here.
During Christmas night, when I was an extremely young girl, I awoke to chatter in the kitchen. It sounded like two women. My sister was asleep in the same bed, so I nudged her awake. The two of us went off to investigate. First, we went to our parents’ room, but they were both sleeping and snoring soundly. Next, we proceeded down the stairs. No lights were on anywhere, but we could still hear the holiday sounds of clanking dishes, high heels on linoleum, running water, and the chatter of exciting preparation for the holidays. We looked in the living room and saw our presents sprawled out underneath the tree. Still hearing the festivities, we proceeded to the kitchen, but when we got within a few feet of the kitchen, the sounds suddenly stopped.
The two of us entered the kitchen to find it dark, and the way it was left the night before. Everything was put away, neat, and tidy. Not a single sign of the festive activities that we heard. We even checked the sink and the dish towel, and both were dry.
Immediately, my sister and I took off for our bedroom. We were somewhat scared, and we both took turns staying awake to listen for the sounds again. Eventually, we both fell asleep.
The next morning, we both ran downstairs to open our presents. Before we could begin, we had to tell our parents about what had happened. We explained how we heard two women in high heels having a grand time. Both our parents went pale. We girls refused to proceed with Christmas until they talked to us. You see, when our parents had looked at the house, one elderly woman was there. Our parents explained that she was moving because her sister, who had lived with her, had passed away. I asked my mother if the remaining sister was alive, but she didn't know.
The nightly festivities became a regular custom during all holidays. One Easter, I, all by myself, stood at the top of the stairwell and talked to the women. I explained that I thought they were wonderful people, and it was great that they were having such a wonderful time, but could they make sure we didn't hear them since it scared us? All of a sudden, the festivities ended. Never to be heard again.
To this day, I have never forgotten this. Even though it seems scary, it wasn't. if the festivities were just an echo from the past, why did they stop when I asked? Who knows? Perhaps those two sweet sisters are still celebrating their holidays in that very kitchen to this day.
This is a very true story. At a later age, when we discussed this, my mother did tell me that my parents had put presents out before they went to bed at 11 PM. The festivities always happened in the early AM—during which we would always find our parents asleep.
- Cecilia Andes of Pennsylvania
I have a lot of wonderful Christmas memories spent with family and friends, but the Christmas of 1980 has to be my favorite. I was approximately seven months pregnant, and my parents and my sister had made the trip to Jacksonville, FL to spend Christmas with my husband and me. Money had been tight, so I had made several gifts. I had made less expensive ones more special by embroidering them, and I had also made some really cute ornaments for our tree. Our meal turned out perfect and was made even better because we were able to share it with family. We stayed up until the wee hours talking and watching holiday movies.
Finally exhausted, we went to sleep. Well, we didn't get to sleep for long because my water broke (or at least I was pretty sure I had...my husband wasn't quite so sure). My husband and my father took me to the hospital to find out for sure what was going on. I knew for sure I was in labor just as soon as we walked through the emergency doors. I remember looking at my daddy and telling him, "I'm going to be here awhile." My beautiful son was born at 10:27 a.m. by Caesarian section, six weeks premature. It was as if God had said, "Here's my Christmas present to you this year. I love you; that's why I sent MY son to you so many Christmas' ago. Now your son can help remind you of my gift whenever you are feeling low. “ I still say that, with the exception of Jesus, my son Ryan was my best Christmas present.
- Robin Henry of Florida