• Councilwoman Jennifer J. Ator: “My childhood Christmas memories are that my parents, who divorced when I was only 8, always made sure that we spent the holidays as a family. Even if my mom had to go to my father’s parents’ house or my dad had to go to my mother’s parents’ house, they always made each other feel welcome. They always made sure that we knew that we were a family even though they were not together any longer.
“Another of my childhood memories is that I really, really, really wanted a model train. My mother thought it was a passing fancy. I was very upset that I did not get that model train and to this day I love trains, model trains, the sound of trains, and am romanced by the thought of a long train ride across the country. I suppose that is why my kids have so many trains!”
• Tex Ziadie: “One of my favorite Christmas memories is from when I was teaching English at American High School. Each year at Christmas I would write all 150 or so of my students a Christmas letter, in which I explained my Christian faith and the true meaning of Christmas to me. I also offered them a pocket copy of the Bible as a gift. I told them that they did not have to take it, and I was not trying to convert them or make them believe as I believe, but I wanted them to have a copy of the best-selling book in all of history. I never had a student refuse the gift and many of them asked for more for their friends. This was the greatest possible Christmas gift to me, giving young people who lived in a crazy and violent world, the word of God. It will always be one of my most treasured memories.”
• Rick Aguila: “My favorite Christmas memory would be when I was about 8 years old. My parents told us we weren’t that good and that Santa wrote them a letter that we weren’t getting anything for Christmas. We spent the night at my grandparents’. The next morning when they took us back home our whole room was decorated with a brand new waterbed and television. I was so overjoyed I couldn’t control it and I started crying and weeping of happiness.”
• Judith Hamlin: “The Christmas, and I don’t remember the year, my husband and children were all together in Key West. The children got up way early — 4 in the morning. All our presents were opened by 5, at which time all the electricity went out in Key West. We had a generator. The whole neighborhood came together and we had Christmas as a community. It was a fabulous time.”
• Elizabeth Gueits: “My favorite Christmas memory probably would be when I had my first baby. He was 8 months old at Christmas time. Just looking into his little eyes when he saw the lights and all the different things going on around him brought that newborn joy into me at a time when the Christ Child was born.”
• Pastor Gordon A. Pike II: “People who professed to be Christians and live pretty much like the rest of the profane world 50 weeks out of the year would suddenly pop into church one Sunday, erect a cretch on their front lawn, play a part in some Christmas pageant and feel pretty good about their ‘Christianity.’ The hypocrisy drove me nuts. I loved complaining about it, pointing it out. Bah-humbugging Christians at every turn. And I was miserable beyond belief.