A few special Christmas Memories…


Whether it was a special toy or a meaningful tradition, Christmas makes everything special.

We asked a few residents to share some of their favorite holiday memories or traditions and received many fun responses.

Becky Flowers said one of their favorite special family traditions is going to communion service at Moore Memorial United Church on Christmas Eve.

“This has always been a special time for us to remember the reason for season, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Flowers said.

And if Emmett Chassanoil doesn’t remember his anniversary, he is in trouble! This Christmas Eve, the Chassanoils will be married 35 years.

“He, Mary Rae (who was 3 1/2 years old) and I went to the Methodist parsonage, and as Mary Rae put it, ‘we all got married,’” said Lydia Chassaniol. “Bro. Clark married us and then we went to tell our families. My mother was the only person who knew about it. She was ill, due to a stroke, so we decided to marry quietly. Apparently it was a success.”

Ana Nicole Blakly said a tradition at her house was Christmas pajamas and a visit from Granddaddy.

“My mommy would give me Christmas pjs before we go to bed Christmas Eve so when we woke up to see what Santa brought, we all had our cute pjs on,” Blakely said. “And before he passed away, my Grandaddy always came to see what Santa brought me and fixed tomato gravy for breakfast!”

Carrie Welch said when she was younger, her favorite Christmas tradition was getting together with family just about every night of the week of Christmas.


“Some nights it was at our house and other nights at my aunts,” Welch said. “Lots of singing and dancing!!! We always shot the ‘family pack’ (fireworks) on Christmas Eve…. something I still do every year still, but not as much family attends as you know as your get older families grow and not all stay close to home!! But it’s still a tradition I tend to keep going!!!!”

Welch said she still has pictures of her dad and his late mother dancing in the living room to Elvis Presley!

“Elvis was a must for my family at Christmas!” Welch said.


Welch Family Dancers


Welch Family Dancers

Debbie Farmer said her family was very poor growing up  but she can remember always being excited about her Christmas stocking.

“It wasn’t much but we always had fruit, peppermint sticks and pieces of chocolate in them,” Farmer said. “After having Christmas at home, we would always travel to my grandparents house. When we walked in the door there was always beautiful Christmas music playing and a fresh-cut beautifully decorated tree. My Grandmother was an excellent cook so the aroma of turkey and dressing always lingered through the house.”

Paula McCaulla said it is hard to pinpoint her favorite Christmas, because she loves them all.

“But I guess, the year Santa brought me a Madame Alexander Cissy doll,” McCaulla said. “I was 10 and it was the last year that Santa brought me a doll. I still have her stored in my cedar chest and love her as much now as I did that early Christmas morning so many years ago.”

Betsy Tompkins said her favorite Christmas memories involve her family.

“I remember spending hours making crochet ornaments and fudge and divinity with my Mamaw Reed,” Tompkins said. “My Christmas tree is full of ornaments that she has made for me over the years! We always had a big tree decorating party at my Grandmother and Grandaddy Austin’s house. The whole family would help put up the tree, drink special punch (lime sherbert and ginger ale), and listen to Christmas music. She always made special Christmas cookies for us. We also made a chocolate birthday cake for baby Jesus. All six of the grandchildren would help make this special cake and we would decorate the cake with the same nativity set.”

Tompkins said that nativity set looks pretty bad now, a few of the wise men and shepherds are missing.

“We still make the Baby Jesus cake at my mama’s and daddy’s house,” Tompkins said. “My children and my nieces will enjoy this tradition for years to come.”

Tompkins said in the past few years, her family has also enjoyed going to the candlelight service at First Baptist Church of Winona.

“I love this service because it helps us to remember the real meaning of Christmas,” Tompkins said.

Donna Pearson said seeing her cousins was probably the highlight of Christmas for her.

“Also, my grandmother always bought us Holiday Crackers that you pulled open and candy fell out of!” Pearson said. “Oh and going through the Sears Christmas Wishbook…”


This story was featured in the December 22, 2016 edition of The Winona Times.

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