December 23, 2019

A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their own favorite Christmas memories.  Last year, to let my staffers and myself enjoy some time off with our families, we dug into the archives to share some of those wonderful stories with my newsletter/website readers.  Since we have many more subscribers now, I thought I would share them with you again, along with some more that have never run before. I hope they’ll add some extra joy to your holiday season!  
If you have a treasured family Christmas story you’d like to share in the comments, I’d love to read it.  Please be advised that by doing so, you grant us the right to share your story in the future in various media.  For instance, if you have a great story like the ones I’m sharing this year, I might lift it out of the comments and share it with everyone next year. 
We’ll be back with updates on the news after the holidays.  Don’t worry, if anything major happens, I’ll put down my Christmas ham or stop playing with my grandkids to comment on it (but it will have to be EXTREMELY major!) 
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year! 


Recently, police officers have become targets of hatred, assaults and even deadly violence.  Right now is a perfect time to stop and reflect on the many ways in which police officers and other first responders such as firefighters and EMTs give up their holidays so that we can enjoy ours in safety.  Many officers also go above and beyond the call of duty by performing incredible volunteer work.  One of those was a listener of mine named Randy, a retired police sergeant from Wyoming.  He shared a memory of a time when playing Santa Claus should have come with hazardous duty pay. 

Randy wrote:

"For many years, it was my distinct pleasure to assume the role of 'real Santa' at Christmas time. Though my sleigh was still a black and white sedan, my uniform changed from dark blues to a genuine Santa suit. I appeared on Christmas Eve, right at bedtime, delivering toys to needy children as well as my fellow officers…who had small children. What made this all work was the 'understanding' of the parents to make sure the kids were close to the front window upon my arrival, that they were not allowed out on the porch (where I left their gifts) until I was out of sight, and under NO circumstances were any pets to be loose.

All the parents were following Santa's instructions to the letter...until I got to my Chief's house. I gently placed (his sons') gifts on the porch (and) began to shake the bells, anticipating three squashed, tiny faces peering into the frosty night, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. To my surprise...No faces. I shook the bells harder and added a hearty ‘HO, HO, HO!’ Still, no faces.

Now in mid-‘HO,’ I heard the front door open and a small dog barking. 'For cryin' out loud,' I muttered, as I jumped toward the driveway. If only I'd remembered the small wire fence surrounding his wife's flower bed. There was no time to pick myself up, as I heard high-pitched giggles floating on the cold night air.  A quick double combat roll placed me out of innocent eyes' way, underneath my boss's pickup truck."

Then Randy heard a noise that seemed to be very close: "I smelled the dog food on his breath a scant millisecond before he yapped out the alarm. The 'WHOA!' that jumped from my lips was cut painfully short as I rammed my head into the pickup's driveline... The thought crossed my mind to reach out and pinch off his little windpipe, but that seemed a bit ugly for Christmas Eve."

A pair of cowboy boots suddenly replaced the dog: "I recognized my boss's voice as the words, 'Merry Christmas, heh, heh, heh," settled onto the cold concrete... 'Merry Christmas, Chief,' I replied as a solitary drop of black engine oil struck me dead center in the forehead. 'THANKS FOR NOT TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT!'

I continued on my rounds, a black greasy racing stripe running from my white curly beard to my belt, a well-lubricated lump on my forehead. I finished just as a soft snow began to fall, covering everything in a glistening blanket of white. It seemed the perfect punctuation mark to end another Christmas on Patrol."

Thanks again for that great story, Randy.  And thanks to all the police officers and other first responders and military members who go above and beyond, and sometimes even roll underneath, to keep us all safe during the holidays and all year ‘round.



This story shows us that Dr. Seuss was right: Christmas is not something that comes from a store.   Christmas means a whole lot more.  

Tina from California wrote that she was a struggling single mom for many years.  She managed to keep a roof over her daughter and son's heads.  But there was no money for the Christmas extravagances many families enjoy.  They had to be creative and "make do." 

Instead of buying cards, they'd call relatives and sing carols to them over the phone.  And instead of buying fancy Christmas treats, they'd go into the kitchen and make donuts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, and sweeten and decorate them with cinnamon and sugar.  Tina said that for years, Christmas wasn't a good memory for her.  All she remembered about those Christmases was being poor.

Then, Tina wrote:

“When my son was 20, he said 'Mom, remember when we used to make donuts and sing to everyone for Christmas?'

Sulking, I replied, ‘Yeah.’ 

He said, 'That is one of my BEST Christmases. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love to give.'

I have since changed my opinion...(Now), it is one of my best Christmas memories also.  My heart grew 3 sizes that day!...Ever since, I make it a point to make a homemade gift for the people in my family.  Last year, I made everyone throw quilts. Christmas is more than a day... It is a memory!”

Thank you, Tina for that precious memory and a valuable lesson for us all.  It’s not the presents you spend money on that stay with your kids for a lifetime, it’s your presence spent with them that they’ll cherish forever. 


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  • Velma Ardis Marshall

    12/25/2019 04:54 PM

    I have experienced miracles (answers to prayer) over the years. I will be 80 in January. They include healing, both for me & for a half-sister I had never met, as well as other things. The last one is recent, and it is a gift from the Lord. My husband died in March, 2019. I have played the piano since I was younh child. He played the violin, & I was his accompanist since I was 13 years old. My classical music I had played was put to rest. Two months ago the retirement community where I live had a talent show. I played 2 numbers, & found that in about 15 minutes I could play them by memory. I am now scheduled to play a full one hour concert on March 10, & will be playing I will be playing everything by memory! I know this is a gift from the Lord, and to me it is a miracle!

  • Margaret Kost

    12/25/2019 12:08 AM

    Father God, thank You for your steadfast love that never ceases.

    Your mercies are new every morning because your son, Jesus, was born sinless, He died for our sins & rose again, that upon our physical death we will spiritually remain with you through eternity in a new body that will never decay.
    You are an amazing God. Thank you for providing our needs according to your riches in glory.

    Help everyone in all nations, turn from our wicked ways to hear, accept & receive Jesus as their personal savior.

    Protect us from the enemy,
    satan, who roams the earth seeking whom he may devour.

    Happy Birthday, Jesus!
    I look forward to seeing you when you come to take us home to Heaven.
    A day is as a thousand years says the Lord & a thousand years is as a day. I am hoping your second coming is imminent.

    Merry Christmas to all!
    A Happy & Healthy 2020, too!
    God Bless Mankind...

  • Duane Davidson

    12/24/2019 04:26 PM

    It was Christmas 41 years ago when I met the love of my life! She was a single mom with the most adorablist little 3 year old. On our second date (to go skiing, which she had never done), on our way back to Grass Valley, a song came on the radio by Paul Anka entitled “This is it, this is love.” She let out a small giggle, so I turned to her and asked, “What are you giggling about?” She replied, “I can’t tell you.” But I insisted she tell me. So she said to me, I love you.”
    After I got the truck back on the road, I pulled over at the next turnout and we took a walk through the snow. I told her, “I’m not sure how I feel about you, but I’m in love with your daughter.”
    Nine days later, on New Year’s Eve, I told her, “When I come back I’ll bring you a ring,” to which she replied, “I know.”
    To this day I am one of only a handful, I’m sure, who never asked my bride to marry me.
    We spent the next 7 months 2,000 miles apart. And on a cold snowy day in McKinney, TX I adopted that 4 year old daughter.

  • Jennifer Gillis

    12/24/2019 02:46 PM

    Mike, You always "hit the nail on the head!" Thanks for the timely, (if tear - jerking! ;-} reminder!

  • Robert C. Whitten, Commander, US Navy Reserve (Ret.)

    12/24/2019 01:53 PM

    I spent Christmas 1950 in Sasebo, Japan alongside a repair ship while serving in a Pacific Fleet destroyer. Why so? On Dec 20th one of our boiler rooms burst into flame while changing burners on one of the boilers. Fortunately , no one was injured but we did not know that immediately. Since time was of the essence, I as assistant engineer officer donned an asbestos suit and oxygen breathing apparatus and descended into the room to check that the fire had been extinguished and that all personnel had escaped. Fifty years later at a ship's reunion the then-CO presented me with a commendation for the action. No one had informed him at the time!

  • Ingrid Forsberg

    12/24/2019 01:11 PM

    I received this in an email- thought you would appreciate it.

    The views this mother has about Donald Trump are interesting. Her
    characterization of Trump as the "Salty Sailor" or as "The Fireman"
    paint an excellent picture!! She has written many great books about
    her son and family. This is a Comment from KAREN VAUGHN, Mother of
    Aaron Vaughn, Navy Seal.

    Sometimes God uses the no-nonsense, salty sailor
    to get the job done. Appreciating what the man is doing doesn't mean
    we worship the salty sailor or even desire to be like the salty
    sailor. It doesn't even mean God admires the salty sailor Maybe He
    just knows he's necessary for such a time as this. I believe with all
    my heart that God placed that salty sailor in the White House to give
    this nation one more chance in November 2016. Donald Trump is what he
    is - and he is still the man he was before the election - and without
    guilt. I very much admire what that salty sailor is accomplishing.

    He's not like me. That's okay with me. I don't
    want to be like him. I will never behave like him. I know we've NEVER
    had a man like him lead our nation before. It's crazy and a little
    mind-blowing at times. But I can't help admire the stamina and ability
    he has - acting with his heart rather than a calculated, PC, think
    tank-screened, carefully edited script. I still believe that is WHY he
    became our President and WHY he's been able to handle a landslide of
    adversity and STILL pass unprecedented amounts of good legislation for
    our country AND do great works for MANY other nations, including

    I'm THRILLED with what he's doing for my nation,
    for the cause of Christ (whether intentional or unintentional, doesn't
    matter to me), and for the concept of rebuilding America and putting
    her FIRST. I will not be ashamed of my position because others don't
    see him through the same lens

    Should it matter to me if a fireman drops an
    f-bomb while he's pulling me from a burning building? Would I really
    care about what came out of his mouth in those moments? Heck no! I'd
    CARE about what he was DOING. He wasn't sent there to save my soul and
    I'm not looking to him for spiritual guidance. All I'm thinking in
    those moments is, "Thank you, GOD, for sending the fireman." AND

    I'll soon post this article again for those who
    still might not understand me. This man is crass. Okay. He's not
    careful with what he says. Okay. You feel offended that he's not a
    typical statesman. Okay. But he is DOING THE JOB of rebuilding the
    nation my son died for… the nation I feared was on a fast track to
    becoming a hopeless cause.

    Forgive me if I'm smiling."

    Written by


  • James ethell

    12/24/2019 12:43 PM

    40 years ago, I was out of work and my wife and i didn't know if we could have a great christmas. My 3 children (ages 9, 7 and 2) offered to give us the money that they save up for couple of years. It touched my heart. The thing that I realize that they were putting in practice that we taught them.

  • Carolyn M LaFavor

    12/24/2019 12:14 PM

    Thank you for sharing these stories

  • Linda Brady

    12/24/2019 11:25 AM

    Reading the Christmas stories brought back a cherished memory from my young adult years. ( I am hoping if you ever use my story that you will do as above and only use my first name and not publish my email). In 1969 when I was 23 years old, my husband and I were stationed in Gallup, N.M. as he was a member of the Public Health Service. We had been there 18 mos. and had not gotten to be home at Christmas the year before, and could not leave to drive home to La. until he worked Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I had been quite saddened not to be with family at Christmas, and to be at home all alone those two days, and thought what a strange Christmas it would be. I had the car loaded and ready, and we left after 5:00 P.M. to drive to Amarillo and stay for the night before going on to La. the next day. As we were leaving Gallup in the dark, it began to snow heavily and quietly. We listened to Christmas carols on the radio, and sang along, and ate turkey sandwiches I had packed while driving. About halfway between Gallup and Albuquerque is a picturesque and historical town named Laguna, after the Laguna tribe. As we approached Laguna on the interstate, the snow slowly subsided, the clouds parted, and out of nowhere the moon shone brightly. It lit up the church that was prominent on the hill, adobe, and covered in snow, both it and the village. The cross on the steeple seemed to glow in the moonlight. Wordlessly, we nodded as my husband pulled over and we drank in the sight. It looked so much like the cards that portray Bethlehem at Christmas. It was a moment that was magical, and even after all these years the memory remains so. After we drove on and talked about what a gift we had been blessed with, we knew that it doesn't matter where you are, who you are with, and even if totally alone, the magic of Christ as our gift lifts the heart. Later that night, we arrived in Amarillo, and watched a Perry Como Christmas special in the motel room. Ave Maria never sounded more beautiful to me than on that night. All these years later, I may be alone, or have the house filled with family, my grown children, my grandchildren, and friends, but that silent night will always be cherished for the gift it was.

  • Cách v? sinh ?i?u hòa Mitsubishi

    12/24/2019 10:54 AM

    2 b? ph?n này c?n ph?i v? sinh m?t cách c?n th?n.

  • Larry Jennings

    12/24/2019 10:44 AM

    As told by my mother.

    The date, December 22, 1950, the time approximately 10:30 PM, my mother intently listening to the 10 o'clock news on her bedside radio for news of the Marines trapped in Chosin Reservoir of North Korea where her eldest son Kenneth Jennings was with the First Marine Division. As she listened and prayed she looked toward her bedroom window. What she saw was not a window but rather a silver picture frame with a Blue Bird perched in the center of it. A sudden peace came over her as she turned over the radio and light and fell into a deep sleep. At 3 AM, on Christmas eve morning she was awakened by the ringing of the telephone. She picked up the receiver to here Merry Christmas mother. It was her son Kenneth calling from a hospital in Hawaii where he had been flown after being evacuated from Korea due to injuries.

    On returning home to Decatur, Indiana, my brother Kenneth lived a full and productive life, passing away at the age of 87, one of the Chosin few!

  • Bernadette Kathleen Dillon

    12/24/2019 09:52 AM

    Merry Christmas to all the world and Peace on earth and goodwill to all people everywhere! Especially Congress!!!?!

  • Kay DeWitt

    12/24/2019 09:13 AM

    In one of your Thanksgiving holiday messages you stated that "the greatest gift" ....a parent can give a child.... "is character"....." which is rooted in teaching their kids "INTEGRITY AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS" ....and, IN this newsletter....what you state about police near witness to the fact that you walk your talk!

    And now, during this holiday ce!ebration of Christmas, we can also say that God, OUR "parent", Father, gave US " the greatest gift....of the personification.... of perfect character"....when He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus....which, concomitantly, gave us the gift of Christ's unconditional love....AND...

    Christians, because they have RECEIVED Christ, and are a vessel OF His love, are so blessed that they are able TO give their kids this greatest gift of "character", not only at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but every day of the year!

    Blessed are your children who HAD...and HAVE...parents who gave them this gift OF character....and just the fact that you SAY that character is the greatest gift confirms the comment I wrote in response to your previous newsletter....the one right before this one!

  • Ruth Ferraro

    12/24/2019 08:38 AM

    I love these Christmas stories! Years ago I bought "Christmas in My Heart" by Joe Wheeler & didn't realize he wrote another sequel until I found it in the library. Each year I read these stories again. Christmas is so much more than fancy gifts & parties! Thank you for sharing. May you, your family, and staff have a wonderful Christmas.

  • Stephen Russell

    12/24/2019 08:34 AM

    Dems plan Impeachment 2.0 to resume with/.without Senate trial etc.
    Illegal, Unfair, wrong FYI
    Probe into this more

  • James Bagby

    12/24/2019 08:29 AM

    Gov. Huckabee; My wife (Jan) and I were married at a very young age and very little money for christmas. We decided to only get each other one gift. Since I was working at a shoe store I decided to get her a pair of fur lined winter boots. As I began to wrap them I had a great idea, I would make an odd shaped box for each. After placing them under the tree, Jan saw two packages for her and she had a fit. I couldn't tell her what I did so she bought a second gift for me against my complaining. When we opened our gifts, she couldn't figure what could possibly be in those odd shaped packages until she opened the first one. When you have lots of love and little money you can still have a Merry Christmas. We still talk about that Christmas today. Jan and I wish you and your family a very, very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Jim

  • Anita Barker

    12/24/2019 07:23 AM

    Interesting stories, Mike!!

  • karen s aubertine

    12/24/2019 06:53 AM

    Merry Christmas Mike to you and your family. Thank you for your integrity.

  • Melody Booth

    12/23/2019 11:17 PM

    In 1960, my Dad was stationed at Lajes AFB, on a little island off the coast of Portugal. Remember, this was a time of no satellites. Not much communication. There were no calls to family except on the TransAtlantic cable and the rates were very expensive. My sister and I were supposedly sound asleep on Christmas Eve, while Santa laid gifts under the tree. However, the youngest of the two could sleep through Earthquake, wind, and storm. The 7 year old woke when a feather hit the tile. I creeped in the darkness down the stairs very quietly, and what did my wondering eyes see? Santa! I said not a word as I ran up the stairs and under the covers. It was only years later that I realized it was my Dad in his red robe tip toeing around placing gifts from Santa. I laugh now but that 7 year old little girl.........believed!

  • Norma Solvie

    12/23/2019 10:14 PM

    My best Christmas was when I was 4 and got a ring for Christmas. My only gift. It got bent and my dad said " I will cut it off." In my childish mind I thought he was talking about cutting my fingeroff .I put up a valiant screaming fit. He cut the ring off gof my finger and it turned back to its natural color . It was such a relief that it was my best Christmas ever.

  • Robert Mascari

    12/23/2019 09:12 PM

    WOW!!! I always admired Trey Gowdy. Thought he was one of the good guys, very smart, no nonsense Trump defender and supporter. Would like to know what happened and what his take on this story is.
    Hope some trustworthy journalist presents questions to him. Very disappointing.

  • Kathleen Long

    12/23/2019 08:54 PM

    Merry Christmas and thanks for keeping us informed.

  • Cathy [email protected]

    12/23/2019 08:47 PM

    I am from a family of ten - each year my day would place a small gift each of us and hide it among the branches of the Christmas tree
    When we woke up on Christmas day a tree was in the living room with decorations and light on it
    We had to find our hidden gift
    I keep the tradition going

  • Donna Pope

    12/23/2019 08:47 PM

    I was 8 years old and was in an orphanage during Christmas when veterans hosted a party for me and my fellow companions . Each veteran took a child and danced with the music around the room, got us refreshments and saw we each received a gift. It was a wonderful feeling to be special even for only the evening. I am 78 now, but still relive those moments with the caring veterans who saw we children enjoyed that special Christmas evening. God bless our servicemen and women!

  • Kenneth g stach

    12/23/2019 08:46 PM

    Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy new year. Thank you for all your information and news