Christmas memories from Boyne area folks

Chelsea Kuzmik is pictured here with her kitten "Cleo."
Chelsea Kuzmik is pictured here with her kitten “Cleo.”

By Megan Wilson

Boyne City Gazette

Contributing Writer

Holidays may come and pass, but memories are here to stay. And, even though they may wane, they will always be with us.

This year, the Boyne City Gazette asked some Boyne area residents to share their favorite Christmas memories.

“The greatest Christmas memories I have is when my daughters were young. It was always so exciting for them to see their presents—their eyes were wide open before they even opened their gifts,” said Boyne City Police Chief Jeff Gaither. “It made it all worthwhile to see the looks on their faces.”

Spending time with family during the holidays was a recurring theme among those who commented.

“I would have to say that one of my most recent Christmases was—sharing Christmas morning with my husband, my son and my granddaughter,” said Holly Watson, owner of The Bird’s Nest. “It was so nice sharing the early morning excitement of opening packages. We did breakfast in the crock pot so we could share in opening packages.”
She added, “Christmas is really fun when you have the little ones.”

Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann shared his Christmas memory of when he first moved up to Northern Michigan.

“We had a whole bunch of family come from Illinois and we all went skiing together,” Baumann said. “The cottage we stayed at had a sauna … it was very Christmassy.”

Faith, it seems, is just as important as family at this time of year.

“My fondest memories of Christmas include family, with Christmas Eve service singing in the choir since I was 4 years old in a big beautiful church with a large choir and church organ. We would head home and were allowed to open one present,” said Scott MacKenzie, Charlevoix Area Humane Society Director. “Christmas morning, my dad would make us sit on the steps until Santa was done. The church choir director and minister would often come to our home for a special breakfast, presents with grandparents and the rest of the family, and then Christmas afternoon the cousins would come.”

Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Moss said going to midnight services on Christmas Eve with his family is one of his favorite memories.

“It was a great time because we would see people that we had not seen in a long time; people would come home at Christmas,” he said. “Then there was the mass itself, and the beauty of it.”
Moss added, “Often, it was 1 a.m. before we left church because we were talking with friends and family.”

Even more residents reveled in the celebration of Christmas, and the joy that it brings.

“My favorite moment is yet to happen. I’ve shifted focuses from myself to my kids, and this is the year that my four-year-old has actually started to get excited and count down the days to Christmas,” said Chris Christensen, Charlevoix County Commissioner.

“One of my greatest memories is being with my family and singing,” said Boyne City Clerk Cindy Grice. “We would all sing Christmas Carols together. I really don’t have a favorite one—they are all my favorites.”

For some, the Christmas tree is one of the best parts of the holiday.

“The thing that comes to mind is the tree, as a child, and watching the tree, sitting on the couch and looking at the lights, the magic of the lights at night and the glitter,” said Karen Lindsay. “That, to me, seemed like the spirit of Christmas was in our home once we had the lights on the tree and everyone was together.”

Still, others wanted to share their favorite childhood memories.

“Going back when I was about 6 or 7 I remember getting a large electric toy crane for Christmas. It was about three feet tall, and had these huge arms,” said Michael Cain, Boyne City Manager. “It was a perfect toy for a little boy who liked mechanical stuff. I played with that for well over a decade.”

Cain added, “It was a very fond memory of days gone by. I had brothers and sisters and we would take turns standing on the stairs looking at the gifts.”

Joey English shared a Christmas memory from when he was nearly 4 years old.

“I was living downstate at the time. At that time, my dad was dressing up as Santa Claus; my sister heard a noise downstairs and she went out and saw Santa,” he said. “She went back and got me, and together we saw mom kissing Santa Claus. My dad came home a half an hour later and we were more excited to tell him that we saw mom kissing Santa Claus than we were to open presents.”

Chelsea Kuzmik shared a favorite holiday memory from when she was 7.

“My favorite Christmas memory was when I was 7 years old and I was getting ready for a school musical,” she said. “As I was getting dressed into my giraffe costume, my mom surprised me with a little black kitten.”
Kuzmik added, “My mom let me name him, and I named him Cleo. That kitten became my best friend. I will never forget him.”

The Boyne City Gazette wishes you the best this holiday season and hopes you remember some wonderful Christmas memories … and that you make some new ones.