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The stars come out for Christmas ... and recall for Post readers their brightest memories of the holiday season.

. . . and recall for Post readers their brightest memories of the holiday season.

Surely no occasion evokes memories keener or more sentimental than this season of good will toward men and women. Memories of Christmas past that could take us to a little one-room schoolhouse and a recitation we nervously stumbled through on the night of our Christmas program; reminiscences of the strange but welcome spirit of conviviality that pervades the hurly-burly of big-city life at this too-short-lived season of the year.

Between such extremes, memories of Christmas past can run the gamut from no observance of the holiday at all to the arrival of an adopted daughter, from a bicycle to a family gathering, ftom having to work during this festive season to spending the last Christmas with a dear one.

Or so the Post learned by asking some of the best-known names in American entertainment for their thoughts and memories of Christmas. "It is this special time of year of 'love and peace' that brings to mind a very dear friend, a man whose vision engulfed 'peace' for the whole world -Anwar Sadat. I am ever so mindful of his greatness, and as a man of destiny, dreams, and hope. We must all continue, especially at this time of year, to try and fulfill his deepest wish-Peace on Earth."

-ELIZABETH TAYLOR "One of my favorite Christmas memories was the arrival of my adopted daughter, Katherine Mary, in December 1985. She brought joy to the season, and to my life ever since."

-ED MCMAHON "Christmas is a four-star holiday for me. There has always been something special about Christmas. Right around Thanksgiving, people start looking at all of the earmarks of the season, and they become more giving, more in line with our ideals. But my very favorite memory happened just a few years ago. I invited the entire family out. They came from throughout the entire United States-Arizona, Florida, New York, Chicago -from wherever they were. We flew them all in for a family reunion at Christmas. We had chamber music, great food, and all of the wonderful trimmings. I even rented a tour bus and served as the guide. But the predominant mood was not abundance in things but abundance in the love that was there and the feeling of real family. Everybody was together in heart, soul, and mind in the real spirit of Christmas." -ANN JILLIAN "I always had a difficult time at Christmas because I was Jewish, and we were not supposed to celebrate Christmas, or even think about it. This was very difficult, as every one of my friends got presents. I received a few but nothing in quantity.

"We did have Hanukkah and we were given a present every day, but since this was during the Depression, they were not too big, and I couldn't figure the whole thing out. Did you have to become a Christian to get the loot? It sounded like a good idea, but even having a thought like that was too scary to dwell on. So the Jewish kids envied their gentile friends and played with their toys. This, we were told, was not a sin.

"I never told anyone this before, but I really like Christmas trees-but most of all I like Bing Crosby singing 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.'"

-ART BUCHWALD "Most of my Christmases have been spent working in the theater. It would have been very lonely if not for the fact that everyone you work with becomes your family."

-ESTELLE GETTY "When I was a kid nearly all of America knew The Saturday Evening Post, especially the Norman Rockwell covers, which captured the true spirit of American life. About 30 years ago, I drew a black-and-white sketch of a whale-sized fish with a huge open mouth into which a school of small fish were swimming. Below the scene were two smaller fish observing and speaking through their bubbles: 'You see, Lamarr Jean, what happens to conformists?' Years later, I had the chance to work with Mr. Rockwell in a television special entitied 'Norman Rockwell's America.' In the production, we used his famous Post covers to lay up a scene and then we would dissolve into an appropriate story line. It was an honest thrill to work with this great man, a wonderful memory. As a boy and as a man, my memories of holidays, especially Christmas, always include a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover."

-JONATHAN WINTERS

"There was one year in particular I'll never forget. My dad was pastoring a church in Arizona, and my parents just didn't think we could afford to go all the way back to my grandparents' home in Oklahoma for the holidays. We were really disappointed, and the closer it got, the harder it was. So a couple of days before Christmas, my mom, dad, and we kids hopped in the car and drove to Oklahoma to surprise everybody. We arrived on Christmas Eve, tiptoed up to the porch, and sang 'Joy to the World.' My grandparents came running to the door with big tears in their eyes. Even though they hadn't expected us, the next morning there were presents for everyone under the tree."

-SANDI PATTI

"One of my fondest memories of Christmas was the year that I asked Santa for a bicycle. All of the other kids in the neighborhood had bicycles, and I really wanted one. I was just thrilled when on Christmas I woke up and found that bike. Years later, Mom told me that Dad worked extra duty on the police force, coming home to sleep two or three hours, then out to work again, to make sure his kids had the best Christmas. That made the memory even more magical.

"Christmas is a dual celebration for me. It's also my birthday. As a little girl, I always tried to separate the celebrations by putting my birthday presents on the TV. That way I wouldn't get those two-in-one presents that you think about when you are a kid.

"My sisters and family are very close, so we celebrated each year at one of our houses, just talking, cooking in the kitchen, and watching the little ones open the presents."

-BARBARA MANDRELL

"We agree that our most cherished Christmas was the last one spent with our mother before she passed away.

"Mother had been ill and knew it would probably be her last, so we rounded up all the cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and celebrated Christmas at our home in the Sonoma Valley. We served a traditional Christmas dinner, and mother sat at the head of the table proud as ever. She even wore a special dress of black velvet with a lace collar which had been a fantasy since she was a young woman. We videotaped the entire evening and will always carry that special memory because mother was gone shortly after . . . and never told us which one she liked better."

-THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS
COPYRIGHT 1988 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Saturday Evening Post magazine
Author:Halvering, Sandi Patti; Taylor, Elizabeth; McMahon, Ed; Jillian, Ann; Buchwald, Art; Getty, Estelle;
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Dec 1, 1988
Words:1163
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