Three Inspiring Family Christmas Stories

December 21, 2020  - by 
mother and daughter decorating a Christmas tree at home

Christmastime entails gifts, traditions, delicious food, and spending time together with those we love. This holiday season, we want to share fun and inspiring family Christmas stories that have generously been shared by people from around the world. Here are some family Christmas stories from real people to help you and your family feel the Christmas spirit.

The Christmas Train by Martha

Three children lined up holding each other's shirts in a living room.

In my home, at about 7 a.m. on Christmas morning, I listen carefully for a train. Even though I’m frantic to find out what Santa Claus left, the rule in our family is that you can’t leave your room until the “train” comes.

Eventually, I will hear my father’s voice let out a few tentative “choo-choo-choo’s” and “woo-woo’s”—the sound of a train’s engine. After Dad woo-woo’s this first time, anxious family members will woo-woo back to let the engine know they are wide awake and ready for the ride. These answering woo-woo’s are necessary, because if Dad doesn’t hear them, he threatens to go back to bed. (This has never happened, to my knowledge, but everyone likes to be on the safe side.)

Brown paper Christmas packages tied up with red ribbon.

The engine’s first few woo-woo’s are called out mainly to taunt everyone, because it’s much later—at least 10 minutes—before the “engine” (my father) arrives at the first bedroom door to begin picking up “cars” (members of the family). Before then, the engine is busy turning on the tree lights, getting a drink, getting into uniform (typically red winter clothing, engineer overalls, and a hat) and doing as many unnecessary things as possible before finally starting the train in earnest.

The first person on the train (aside from Mom and Dad) is the youngest person in the household, who gets to be the honorary cowcatcher at the front of the train. Next, the train chugs and choo-choo’s and woo-woo’s around the house to get another lucky person, who hooks onto the train by putting both hands on the shoulders of the person in front. The train progressively grows louder as everyone adds their own version of the “chugga-chugga-woo-woo” song.

While chugging through the house, the engine is especially fond of bathrooms, because Dad has a bizarre sense of humor and likes to squish the 10 to 15 train members into tiny bathrooms! The train cars protest (but laugh!) while going through the tiny spaces. After going through every single room in the house at least a million times, the engine revs up loudly and makes a dash toward the newspaper-covered entrance to the gift-flooded room, bursting through the newspaper with the rest of the train in tow. Then, the train breaks up and everyone is stunned by the Christmas lights and beautiful gifts, and each and every train car is exhilarated and ready to enjoy Christmas morning together.

My Grandpa, Santa by Carolina

Two children smiling with Santa Claus.

While growing up, every Christmas week my grandpa would grab his Santa Claus costume and wash it in preparation for the big night ahead. We loved the coming extravaganza. My grandpa, with his own money, would buy tons of candy.  People in the community would also donate candy to the cause, and the fire department of my city used to “borrow” a fire truck and some fireman to be part of the celebration.

On December 24, my grandpa would climb to the top of the fire truck. The truck would then drive around to a couple of low-income neighborhoods where “Santa” would throw candy to the kids. It was all so magical to me—the truck and all its sound and lights, the cars honking behind it, my grandpa throwing all that candy. After that, we used to invite neighbors and the fireman to celebrate Christmas with us.

After almost 25 years of doing that, my grandpa resigned because of his age, but the memories are still so fresh on my mind. One day, my grandpa received a letter from a woman saying that my grandpa made her happy on so many Christmases! She thanked him for all the joy he brought to her family during that difficult time they were living in. Most of the time, that candy was the only thing she was going to eat that night because she didn’t have anything else, not even a Christmas present. The sadness she felt on those nights was replaced by joy every time she heard the sirens. She thanked him for making her believe in Santa Claus and believe in a better world.

a house lit up with Christmas lights.

My grandpa passed last February, leaving us wonderful memories like this one. He will always be our Santa and will always be an example of love. Jesus Christ loved everyone he met and spread His love to those who weren’t physically with Him, and I could see a piece of His love in my beloved grandpa during the Christmas season and over the entire year. If people ask me if I believe in Santa Claus, I would say “Of course! He used to live at my house!”

A Familiar Voice by Rayleen

A red Christmas candle seen through a snowy window.

My husband passed away on October 7, 1999, at the age of 48, from melanoma cancer. The following is a true story of a very special Christmas that happened 4 years after my husband’s death. The year was 2003, and with only 2 days left until Christmas, our home was buzzing with activity. After all, there were always at least 12 people, including children, grandchildren, husbands, wives, and even my 2 stepchildren, staying at our home at any given time. It was early morning, and I brought out a small, scented candle and placed it on top of the mantle on the fireplace next to all the pictures of our children and grandchildren.

I then went on my way and continued to make preparations for the coming days ahead. I had been saving this small candle all year long for this season. I watched it burn throughout the day and enjoyed the fresh aroma that filled the room. The candle had been placed in a very cute wooden box with a heart shape cut out of the middle so that we could enjoy the brightness of the flame.

At about 4 in the morning, I was awakened by a male voice at the door that simply said, “Mom!” The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t make out which one of my boys was speaking because all 3 of them were now at their own individual homes for the holidays. Rather than answering from the bed, I went to the door. When I opened it, no one was there, so I peeked around a little further to see who it was, but no one was even in the room.

A bright Christmas tree with gifts packaged in red and gold beneath it.

However, to my surprise, I did see that I had forgotten to extinguish the candle, and the flame was now 12 inches high! It had melted a hole through the glass container and had started to burn the wooden box. The ribbon up above the candle was also singed. I quickly blew out the flame. I was not alarmed or frightened; instead felt a great sense of peace and gratitude, as I knew that a loving Heavenly Father was always watching over me. As I thought about the situation, I realized that the voice that had spoken was familiar to me. My husband, who had passed away only a few years prior, had almost always referred to me as “Mom.”

Share your own Family Christmas Stories

There are few days like Christmas to bring a family together. Share and record your own family Christmas stories using FamilySearch Memories. This can ensure that your family Christmas stories and traditions are remembered for years to come!

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Comments

  1. Loved your original story, Martha, it actually was a second generation Christmas Train..(maybe more) once upon a time i may have been the Cow catcher! Martha such a gift you have of turning words into loving pictures!

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. Christmas family traditions are one of the joyous lifelines that hold the families together. This one is created and fun and leaves wonderful childhood memories to be shared for generations. Merry Christmas to you & yours. And sincerely may 2021 be a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  3. My Father passed. He came to me several times before my Mother passed. I am thankful for your forthright and firm spirit, identifying the who and why of your sacred communication.