We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to contribute their most heartwarming holiday memories. Here are some of their stories.
1. The Brownies Sash
A few years ago I participated in a storytelling project in the month of December. The theme of the event was "gifts" and I told the story of how I had received a Brownies uniform and manual from my grandparents for my 7th birthday, granting me the opportunity to be in a troop, only to be faced with a horrible troop leader who freely told the other girls that she didn't like me and would only hand out badges on days when I wasn't there. My story concluded with revealing that after one year in Brownies, I only had one badge. All the other girls moved on to the next level of Girl Scouts… I did not.
My mother was at the storytelling event and two weeks later for Christmas, she handed me a small gold box. Inside was a Brownies sash, adorned with every single badge a girl could earn and accompanied by a three-page letter explaining how I had earned them. I was so touched, I cried. It was the most beautiful and thoughtful gift I ever received.
—Submitted by misslisa
2. Back To Normal
My grandmother died a week and a half away from her favorite holiday (Christmas) and we thought that things were at their worst. We were eating in complete silence and all of a sudden my grandfather said the simplest thing: that he was grateful for us being there. That week was the hardest week of my life and I still remember it vividly, but that Christmas when my Grandpa said those words I thought that things could go back to normal.
—Submitted by jonnalareau
3. Random Act of Kindness
I was about 10 and my family was really struggling financially. It was a few days before Christmas and a stranger rang the doorbell and handed my dad a wrapped box. We all sat at the table and my parents opened it to find a envelope full of cash, as well as gift cards for myself and my three siblings. My parents asked all around to try to find out who did it but to this day we don't know. It's touching to know people do things like this not for praise but out of the goodness of their hearts.
—Submitted by brittanim43d1dd5e6
4. The Laundromat
All throughout my childhood there was a homeless man who slept in our local laundromat. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas my mom would cook a big spread and we would take him a heaping plate and I insisted on hugging him. It is one of my favorite memories, and probably one of the reasons I ended up in school for social work.
—Submitted by chelseajewells
5. The Cabbage Patch Kid
I was 6 years old, my parents were getting a divorce, and my mom was pregnant with my little brother, so things were really rocky for us. On Christmas Eve my mom got a phone call, and the woman on the phone said they had heard we were having a tough time and asked if it would be OK if Santa came to visit. We lived in a tiny town so my mom wasn't too surprised that people knew what was going on. A little later we heard bells and down the road came a horse-drawn carriage with a real-life Santa! He came in and gave me a Cabbage Patch Kid doll — it was the '80s. To this day we still don't know who Santa was or who called my mom. Every year I send a little thank-you by trying to do something special for someone else who needs it. They taught me what Christmas is really all about and I never get tired of seeing other people's faces light up when I have been able to be their Santa.
—Submitted by dizzyizzy316
6. The Forgotten Present
I was about 8 years old and it was a couple days after Christmas. My mother had found a present she had bought for me in her closest. Instead of just giving it to me and have that be that, she snuck out on our back deck and threw it on the roof. My parents called me out and showed me this gift, and my dad got a ladder and spotted me while I got it down. I still remember the butterflies thinking, Wow he really came! Santa was up on this roof and this fell out of the sleigh!" The gift was a pink Barbie camera. I'll never forget that feeling.
—Submitted by katiec41ae5b7ad
7. A Trip Overseas
My dad's side of the family is from England, but my family lives in California. Tradition every year is to open one gift on Christmas Eve, so once when I was 12, my mom gave me this really light box to open. I opened it and it was just a piece of paper...until I read it. It said that I was going to England first thing in the morning with my dad. Best gift ever! I missed my family so much, and we even got to surprise most of them when we showed up at the annual family Boxing Day party. Truly grateful.
—Submitted by Mallory Sellens via Facebook
8. The Christmas Cat
As a child, like most any child, I always wanted a kitten. My mom would never hint at getting me one, but if I queried, "Mom, can I have a kitten yet?" it would be followed up with typical Mom Speak: "Are you ready to handle the responsibility?" Of course, the answer was, always, that I could.
Christmas Eve 1992: My mom was out of the house, but it did not seem odd to me — like any other day, errands need to be completed. It was about 11:30 in the morning, and my mom came in the front door of the house carrying a cardboard box. "Allison, come here," she said as I curiously made my way over. She put the box on the ground, and I saw this little black and white paw stick out of the box. What was my reaction? Joy? Elation? Excitement that my wish was finally coming true? None of the above.
"I CAN'T HANDLE THE RESPONSIBILITYYYYY!!!!"
Though the shock hit me like a ton of bricks as an 8-year-old, I had Kevin (his name, after Kevin McCallister from the Home Alone films) for 17 years, as he died after a good, hearty life on Aug. 30, 2009 — a date I can't forget. I was, of course, sad at the time, but so happy I had him. My baby Kevin was the best Christmas present I've ever received. He brought me pure joy. Every Christmas, I remember him fondly with a big smile on my face.
—Submitted by Allie Amanda via Facebook
9. Letters From Santa
My most heartwarming holiday memory is when my third-grade teacher gave each student in our class a personalized letter from Santa. I remember after we all got the letters, we came into school the next day really freaking excited that SANTA WROTE TO US, and we couldn't stop telling our teacher about how Santa sent us letters. It always brings a smile to my face when I remember that time. 😊
—Submitted by Megan Maginnis via Facebook
10. The Co-Worker
One year when I was younger, my parents were struggling financially. One of the ladies my mom works with asked my mom what my brother and I wanted for Christmas. My mom told her, and the lady bought exactly what we wanted and gave it to my parents to give to us Christmas morning. To this day my brother still says it was the best Christmas present ever, and it wasn't until a couple years ago that my mom told us it was her co-worker that bought us the toys to give us from Santa. We may not have had a Christmas that year if it wasn't for her generosity.
—Submitted by Stephanie Stevenson via Facebook
11. Time With Mum
I am one of seven children, and have never had much alone time with my mum. Every Christmas, we would go down to my gran's house around the corner for the huge family Christmas party on Christmas Eve. Mum was also one of seven, so I'd see my huge number of cousins and aunts and uncles and get presents and sing songs. It was such a warm, loving atmosphere, but one Christmas when I was little, I got quite sick with a fever. As a result, I couldn't go to the party and I was miserable. Mum stayed behind to look after me that Christmas. I remember laying on the couch under the Christmas tree, Mum playing carols quietly on the record player. It was just her and me, and she made me my own special dinner because I was ill and let me open one of my Christmas presents early. It was my first Ken doll (before that I used an 11-inch C3P0 toy to date my Barbie dolls). I had such a nice time with her. ♥
—Submitted by Nancy Lorenz via Facebook
12. A Christmas Computer Game
Before there were websites that allowed you to track Santa's progress, my dad, a computer programmer, made up a program on our home computer that allowed us to follow Santa across the globe on Christmas Eve. He even made it so that phrases would pop with my name or my brother's. It's probably been more than 10 years since we've done that, but I still remember it being one of the things I looked forward to most.
—Submitted by Julie7594
13. The Orange
When I was 6 years old or so I received an orange from my great-grandmother. I didn't understand why someone had given me fruit for Christmas, until I learned many years later that this was my great-grandma's favorite gift when she was a kid in the 1910s… It was her tradition and her way to remind us that small things could make us happy. 🍊
—Submitted by mariloulebeld
14. Teachers Are the Best People
One year, my family was going through a really hard time. My school was aware of this, and during our middle school Christmas party, two of my teachers brought us clothes, food, and stockings. Our tree and counters were full. My mom was crying when we got home because she wasn't expecting us to have Christmas at all.
—Submitted by NerdfighterGirl8
15. Catching Santa Claus
One Christmas morning my parents woke my siblings and I up and told us they had secretly videotaped Santa last night and we just HAD to see it. At this point we had started to question if Santa was real or not, but when we saw that video of Santa putting gifts under the tree and eating the cookies we left, any doubt we had was gone! Years later we found out that my parents had found a Santa suit at the store and stayed up all night recording the video. We still talk about that video every year at Christmas and it is definitely something I plan on doing with my kids!
—Submitted by Ahmba25
16. Christmas Carols
When I was little, my grandpa had cancer, and he and my grandma were too exhausted from all the treatments and emotions from the previous months to make the two-hour drive to Christmas with the rest of the family. So my mom arranged for us all to go over to their house instead, and we stood outside in their yard singing Christmas carols. I'll never forget the look on my grandma's face when she drew the curtains to see what was going on outside — it makes me tear up just to think about how excited she was. My grandpa died a month later, but my grandma has always said how grateful she was that we didn't forget about him on what ended up being his last Christmas.
—Submitted by emeliaf3
17. Together for Christmas
When my family was all able to get together for Christmas we always went to Christmas Eve mass. Although I don't really identify with any religion, Christmas Eve mass is beyond beautiful... the choir's voices were so lovely and strong that the whole building shook with song. My older brother wasn't going to be able to make it to Christmas because he lived too far away and it was just not the same Christmas Eve feeling as we stood there in our fancy holiday finest and sang carols...until my older brother walked in during "Angels We Have Heard on High." He had driven for 13 hours straight to make it in time for the holiday. My whole family was crying and I will never forget how it felt: like my own little Christmas miracle. For that reason I have always loved that song and it was so nice to have my Christmas wish come true. Merry Christmas, y'all!
—Submitted by Liz Karsa via Facebook