Sixteen years ago on Christmas morning, I stood not-so-patiently behind the wrapping paper-covered door between this room and the hallway…

…waiting for it to open.

Listening to my father giggle.

Listening to his favorite Christmas song spilling out through the cracks of the door.

Listening to the rustle of Santa’s workshop on the other side of that wall of wrapping paper as I stood waiting with breathless anticipation to see what was in front of the fireplace on Christmas morning.

I know what you are thinking. “What in the world? How old were you KariAnne?”

I wasn’t five.

I wasn’t ten.

I wasn’t even young enough to believe in Santa anymore.


Until I received the best handmade gift I’ve ever gotten.

My father was a rock.

He had to be.

He was an anchor for the mini-tornado that was me.

My father had been there through everything.  All those growing up years.  All the times I wrecked the car or was late for my curfew or rolled my eyes or sighed or cut super awkward bangs or told him I wanted to work at Dairy Queen for the rest of my life.

Every step of the way.

Every high and every low.

Every time I climbed higher….he celebrated.

Every time I stumbled….he was there to pick me up.

I wish you could have met him.


I wish you could have met that incredible father of mine.  He would have walked up to you across a crowded room with his wide-brimmed hat that kind of oddly tilted to one side with his shirt collar askew and his glasses perched on top of his head as he smiled at you.  He would have asked you all about yourself and listened to your answers and made you laugh and made you smile…..

….and made you feel like you were the most important person in the room.

And he loved Christmas.

On that long-ago Christmas morning, the doors flew open and the family rushed in.

And blinked.

The floor was covered.

It was festooned with paper sayings with wise quotes on them and chocolate money and handmade figures for each of us that he had created out of odds and ends from his workshop and sprinkled with love and a few dollar bills. He had worked for hours and hours and hours on Christmas Eve to build something so special and one-of-a-kind and unique that it could only come from our own special Santa.

We all sat on the floor and ate the chocolate and read the words of wisdom aloud to each other and giggled and laughed as my father’s eyes twinkled with laughter at what his handiwork had wrought.

But here’s the most amazing part of this story.

It doesn’t end here.

You see this year I stood here with these five cuties in matching pajamas waiting with anticipation—staring at the french door covered in wrapping paper…

…waiting for it to open.

Listening to my husband giggle.

Listening to his favorite Christmas song spilling out through the cracks of the door.

Listening to the rustle of Santa’s workshop on the other side of the wall of wrapping paper.

And then? The doors flew open and the family rushed in through the wall of wrapping paper.

And blinked.

The floor was covered.

My husband had created his own version of my father’s Christmas from all those years ago.

He had been there on that morning.

He had seen my father’s creativity and joy and love at creating something special for his family. So he picked up where my father had left off. He made a game with little figures in his Christmas workshop. There were tiny little “Baylor” bears holding ice scrapers and refreshments just waiting for someone to play a miniature game of handmade Christmas shuffleboard.

And play they did.

They all sat on the floor in their Christmas pajamas and drank their Christmas drinks and read Santa’s letter aloud to each other and giggled and laughed and shuffled the board with their ice scrapers as my husband’s eyes twinkled with laughter at what his handiwork had wrought.

And on that Christmas morning Santa’s torch was passed.

Another generation.

Another celebration.

And somewhere up above.

My father smiled. 🙂

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  1. Image for Judy Judy

    Tears running down my face as I read this amazing tribute to your father and your husband. Thank you for sharing such a personal memory with us.

  2. Image for Deb Deb

    Karianne, another time you bring me to tears! Such a wonderful memory your Dad created for you and now your sweet husband has done it for you and your kiddies!

  3. Image for Patricia Brock Patricia Brock

    Karianne I don’t know what to even say.. that was so heartwarning, touching and thank you so much for bringing me into your home and sharing your memories. I truly felt like I was there.❤️

  4. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    What a wonderful, touching story to be told over and over, and to be remembered and cherished forever and ever. To all dads Everywhere, that were always there, Karianne and her wonderful touching story, helped us remember you too. Thank you Karianne.

  5. Image for Julie Pietrzak Julie Pietrzak

    O.M.G. I don't think I have anything else to add for what has already been said.........and I hope my comment can be read because there's tears in my eyes as I type........what a memory and what a hubby to continue the tradition! And that your kids, no longer babies, embrace it as well! And if I had kids, I think I would be carrying out this beautiful tradition! Thank you so much for sharing another beautiful family moment!!

  6. Image for Diane Diane

    Your sweet story has my eyes filling with tears and my heart full as I remember my sweet Daddy with his twinkling eyes. We lost him when I was 22 but those memories are so clear and dear 51 years later.

  7. Image for Janette Janette

    This is the most wonderful story and I am honoured that you shared it. I wish sometime you would grace us with a photo of your father. He sounds like an amazing man who obviously adored his family just as your loving husband does. Thankyou for sharing. Xxxx

  8. Image for Harper Harper

    reading your story brought tears. I too had the best Day ever, one that loved Christmas more than Santa! During November his last year of life he told me he would not be around for Christmas that year (having a serious illness and not looking too long to be here..). Then he began to sing, "I'll be home for Christmas, If only in "your dreams" and there he is always in my Christmas Dreams. Thanks for much for Sharing

  9. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    THIS story and many others is exactly what sets you apart from all the other bloggers! You lead with your heart to make our lives fuller while sharing your talents for making our lives prettier and simpler! God bless you and your family! You’re the gift that keeps on giving!

  10. Image for Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces

    This is the most lovely story, KariAnne. You have a wonderful family and are continuing the beautiful legacy you were given. My own father loved Christmas and each year as I decorate and celebrate I miss him and know he would love it. I am grateful for the legacy he left to me, too. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Image for Va in NC Va in NC

    What a wonderful dad you had and what a wonderful husband you have to create this wonderful day of memories for you and your family. You are truly a joy for me to read your blog. Brings me so much happiness. Big thank you, Hugs and blessings to you and yours.

  12. Image for Katy Katy

    Oh KariAnne! This was poignant and precious. Thank you for sharing an intimate glimpse into your past, present and future with your family. This was a treasure to read and savor. I’m sure your children will be inspired to carry this tradition forward into their own families with their memories of this precious moment capturing a generational gift of love, caring and sharing. I might have shed a tear or two and had a lump in my throat! Big hugs!

  13. Image for Terri Terri

    Adopt us!!! Please??? What a beautiful scene it must have been. I miss my dad every day! Thanks so much for sharing yours!

  14. Image for Kim Kim

    Nothing better than a sentimental Christmas story!! Now I'll wipe my eyes and move on to the business of the day with a smile. :)

  15. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    So poignant. You are beyond blessed having not one but two awesome men in your life. Thanks for starting me day with one of your well told stories. Reminds me of my Dad who I miss every day.

  16. Image for Tara Tara

    That is such a sweet memory and it is heartwarming to at your husband continues these special traditions! My Daddy comes from a family of carpenters. He now enjoys making things on a smaller scale. He used to build houses. Now he makes smaller barns and replicas of churches. He makes beautiful wood crosses that he will not sell. He gives them to people he sees in town and that’s his way of showing love and witnessing. One year for Christmas just a few years ago he cane in from the shop and through their kitchen area into the den carrying a beautiful stained cedar… mailbox post/ stand he made me! I cried and cried! Christmas is an emotional time for me but that meant so much that he made that and i could not hold in the tears! Knowing he took that time to make whatever it is he makes, it is just extra special! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Image for Shirley Shirley

    KariAnne, this was so thoughtful of you to share this with us. I have happy tears in my eyes just imagining how beautiful that scene would have been all those years ago, and of course having your dear husband also recreating those moments for you all. You and your family are blessed in so many ways, and again I thank you for letting us have a glimpse into your childhood memories ❤️

  18. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Thank you for sharing your life stories with us. You make such beautiful memories for your family. I, too, had a special bond with my dad, who lived to be 100. I am blessed to read your blog every day! You truly inspire me!

  19. Image for Cate Cate

    Oh KariAnne, that was the sweetest of Christmas morning family stories!!! Denny sounds like the perfect one to pick up your Daddy’s “Santa-Torch” and carry on that special family tradition for the next generation! I love it!!! Thank you for sharing!!! And I’m sure your Daddy was smiling down on that sweet scene, and so proud of y’all. ♥️♥️♥️

  20. Image for Julie Mumpower Julie Mumpower

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story about your father! What a testament to who he was as a dad. I laughed aloud when I saw the bears and the shuffleboard. How cute-how hilarious!!! You’ve got me thinking about our next family Christmas! Please share some more of your father’s Christmas morning surprises!

  21. Image for Suzan Adams Suzan Adams

    KariAnne, I read your post in the middle of Marshall’s this morning! I laughed out loud and then I cried right there! You have such a way with words that is so moving and joyful! Thank you for making my day so much brighter. Suzan P.S. I am sure I would have loved your dad, too! Your description reminds me of my daddy.

  22. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Oh Karianne. What a wonderful story. As a girl who lost her Dad at five years old, and did not get to know him. This brought tears to my eyes of what I may have missed out on. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful Dad and Husband! Blessings on you and your family.

  23. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I'm not crying, you're crying . . . :) That was wonderful, KariAnne. I visited my dad today, and it was one of the better visits lately. I broke a stool underneath myself and reminded him that he and I, we know how to fall. We've both had lots of experience! ;) He laughed, and it made my day!!

  24. Image for Linda Scott Linda Scott

    Friend, You sure can tell a great story! Very sweet!! Your dad sounded like the best father ever and seems you have your mom's taste when it comes to husbands!! Love traditions!! Keep it going for when the grandchildren show up!! Have a great day!


    KariAnne, your story is so precious! Your Dad was so precious -- and your dear Hubby is so precious! Bless his heart for making Christmas so very special for your children. Hold on to those wonderful "old" memories and continue to make many "new" memories in your beautiful childhood home! Memories just become more and more precious as the days and years go by! You have been blessed with a wonderful family! How great to celebrate Christmas, as a family, in the home you grew up in with your dear Mom and Dad surprising you. You must be so proud of your dear hubby for wanting to make a very special gift for your children. What a wonderful tradition! May God continue to pour out His love and bless you all at Christmas -- and always!

  26. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, what a precious memory and recreation! And a precious husband to carry the torch. Always love the huge and amazing gift giving spirit your family holds. It’s priceless!

  27. Image for Dee Dee

    Reading this blog post reminded me of all the things I fell in love with when I first started reading your posts so many years ago. I can't even tell you how much I loved reading this, I felt privy to something so special, so family-oriented and intimate; that it was meant just for your family and yet it made me feel as if I was a part of your family. Generational creativity and goodness being shared in the sweetest of ways. A blessing to your kids, and to your grandkids to come, and to theirs beyond them. Thank you so much for sharing!

  28. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Oh, what a joyous story! I looooooooove all your stories. And I know you got that from your father as well. Keep telling them! 😍

  29. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Oh maaaaan, you did it again. Here come the tears. This was the most throughtful thing ever. You married an earth angel, I swear. That is beyond tender. ♥♥♥

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