Christmas Memories that Became Family Lore

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(Credit: Rachael Botelho ’26)

Rachael Botelho '26, Contributing Writer

Around Christmas, we all get excited and full of Christmas jitters. This leads to clumsiness. Clumsiness leads to funny, sometimes reckless, mistakes that become the inside joke of this year’s Christmas dinner and other Christmases to come. Here is my entertaining story and a few more that other Montrose students shared to get you in the Christmas spirit! 

It was 3 AM and I was nine years old, filled with the same memorable Christmas jitters that everyone gets. I woke up, unable to sleep, with the familiar excuse of “just getting a drink of water.” My dad, who is very handy with tools, had the bright idea to attach a zipline to my door handle. This meant that as soon as I opened the door, the bucket attached to the zipline would zip down and land in my hands, holding an Elf on the Shelf and a carefully wrapped present. This was meant to go perfectly… until I “went to get a drink of water.” I slowly creaked open the door, careful not to wake my sleepy parents. I heard a “fwEeep” sound which startled me so much that I almost ran and clunked my head on my door. Instead of running (because I thought it was Santa), I jumped happily. At that very moment the bucket made its way down the line and I felt a “bOnk” on the side of my head; and, in the complete darkness, I stood and yelped. Not because it hurt, but because I thought I was now on the naughty list as I stood right in front of my sleepy and grumpy dad. Me on Christmas morning. – Rachael Botelho ‘26

“I was at my cousin’s house the day after Christmas eating brunch. I was in the basement with my mom. My cousin had turned on one of those Christmas fireplaces on the TV. Then, just out of the blue, I heard this scream. It was my grandma because a cat had walked onto the TV screen.” – Keira Hyatt ‘26

“My dad always dressed up as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house. My cousins and I always would sit on his lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas. He would give us a gift. I found out later that these gifts were just from our aunt. My dad always tried to make eye contact with me so I would know it was him; but every year, it didn’t work. Then, one Christmas Eve, I heard my dad in the basement of my aunt’s house. Then, after ‘Santa’ left, my older brother said that he saw the reindeer and called me to come see. I always believed everything that my older brother said, so I followed him. When we got to the basement I saw my dad hiding a Santa costume in our trunk. (I found it at home later on). So I looked at my brother, and he just said:

‘I TOLD you Santa is real.’ I looked at him and never believed him again. After that, I didn’t believe in Santa anymore.” – Bella Gonet ‘26

“When I was younger, our family had an Elf on the Shelf. I was really little, so I had no idea what it was. My Nana asked my older brother (he is two years older than I) what he was going to name it. He answered (I think it was just the first gibberish he thought of): ‘Pookey.’ When I was a little older, we still had it, and I didn’t know any better — so I touched it. My brother started to yell at me saying: ‘NOOOOOOO now all of Pookey’s power and magic is gone!’ But I said: “if he really has power, why would he just BE GONE after touching him?’ He still said that it was gone. Then the next day, we still saw him hiding like he did the day before. Then I said to him: ‘Told you so!’” -Bella Gonet ‘26

“This is a story about my mom’s childhood. My mom’s family was leaving for the Christmas Vigil. She forgot to turn off the Advent candles. When they got back, as you can expect, the house was on fire. Everything was burnt, and the fire was burning out a bit because it had run out of things to burn.” – Maria Silveryia Dodds ‘26

Rachael Botelho ’26

26rbotelho@montroseschool.org