Juline McClinton

“When we were growing up in Alabama, my dad had to get up and make a fire. We had an old coal stove and once he made the fire, we all had our little individual boxes and bags from Santa. So one particular year, the next morning we get up and we’re looking at what Santa Claus brought us, and my brother, Tommy, saw some candy that had ‘black smudges’ all over it. So, he called us all over and said ‘Look! My candy! Santa Claus should have washed his old nasty hands. He got coal all over my candy.’ So we all ran over looking at the candy and said, ‘Oh my God, he sure didn’t wash his hands.’ My brother just kept complaining: ‘Next time, he needs to wash his hands.’ So my dad is laying there just listening to us and all of sudden my dad said, ‘Either you eat that candy or shut your (blank-blank) mouth.’ So we’re like why is dad getting so upset; we’re not talking about him. We are talking about Santa Claus.’ Later on we realized why he was so upset – we actually were talking about him.”

Bennie and Bertha Meeks

(Bennie): “When I think about funny things I can only think about what I feel: and that is love. Love about being around my family, and appreciating that the Lord has blessed me. To be able to give gifts, not so much to receive, but to see family enjoy themselves around the Christmas tree; and, all the cooking that is done. (Bertha): “My joy is seeing my grandchildren, and my children, when I give them a gift. And make sure Bennie agrees with me.”

Kuenn McClinton and Deanna Henry

“We both laughed when friends tried to make us get under mistletoe one year and we were too bashful.”

Lakeshia Kneeland and Audre Trotter

(Lakeshia): “It is family that brings smiles and joy. But I do remember laughing when my kids camped out behind the couch waiting to see Santa Claus and fell asleep. (Audre): “I enjoy the spirit of love and togetherness during this time and it makes me happy and it warms me all over.”

Ellen Newcomer

“When I was a little girl of 3 I woke my sister and brother up – one was 4 and one was 1 year. We went downstairs and opened up all the presents at 3 o’clock in the morning. When my dad asked me what the heck we were doing, I told him: ‘I thought we had seen the Christmas star and as long as we were down there we might as well open the gifts.’ So, the next year he slept on the landing with a shotgun.”