Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Remembered

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

As the day of Jesus’ birth draws closer, I’m reminiscing more and more. I’m not sure how accurate the memories are but they’re bringing back feelings of warmth and some head-shaking reminders as well.

When our first child, Sean, was born, we decided that, from then on, Christmas Day would be at our house. I remembered my childhood Christmases and being dragged from relative to relative, leaving my new toys at home. I wasn’t going to do that to our kids. And it worked out pretty well. My parents came over for breakfast and my wife’s parents came for dinner.

One Christmas, when Sean was a precocious eighteen months old, talking constantly and as mobile as a hamster on steroids, my father came over early to watch him while my wife and I went to church. Dad, who was a great cook, also said he would start breakfast. 

We came home to find Dad hard at work in the kitchen. And we found Sean plopped in his car seat in the living room. 

These were the days when car seats weren’t the massive safety contraptions we have now. They were simple vinyl seats on an aluminum frame that hung over the back of the seat and had a thin plastic belt to supposedly hold the child in place. They were designed so the kid could see out the windshield.

Dad had hung the car seat over the back of one of the living room chairs. Sean was quite content in the seat, watching his Poppy, maneuvering the plastic steering wheel that snapped onto the frame, and tapping the plastic horn that didn’t work because he had worn it out. 

I looked at Dad. Dad looked at me and shrugged. “He wouldn't stay out of my way.”

Another thing Dad did was to have toys at his house that matched toys our kids had at home. One was the Inch Worm, a riding toy kids would bounce on to make it move and with each move the thing made a loud click.

When visiting his house one day, one of the boys climbed on Dad’s version of the Inch Worm. The thing moved but didn’t make a sound. I said to Dad, “It’s broken.”

“No, it’s not,” he said. “I didn’t put the clicker in. I didn’t want to hear that noise every time it moved.” He stared at me and grinned. “Don’t tell me. You actually put the clicker in?” He laughed. “You’re your mother’s son.”

Dad and Sean are both in heaven now and I’m sure they’re having a great time together and probably driving St. Peter nuts.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?


Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest.

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. 

Connect with Henry on his BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK.


  1. Merry CHRISTmas Mr. Henry; and God's continued blessings sir.

  2. Merry Christmas, Henry. I loved reading your memories. They evoked several of my own.

    1. Thank you. I'm grateful my story blessed you. Merry Christmas.

  3. I love this story! Thanks for sharing and putting a smile on my face. Merry Christmas!

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. It's heartwarming - I loved the ending!

    1. I'm blessed you enjoyed the story. Merry Christmas.

  5. Delightful story. Thank you for sharing it.