7 most unforgettable Christmas memories from Fox News presenters
Christmas rhymes with family: family recipes, family traditions, heirlooms and especially family stories.
In “All American Christmas” (Fox Books), now available, 23 Fox News personalities greet readers in their Christmas celebrations. From baking to pruning trees to lighting Advent wreath candles, they describe their most precious seasonal rituals.
Here, contributors share childhood Christmas memories that remain vivid decades later – and a few that their families will never let them forget.
Christmas Eve mass at the Catholic Church in Bret Baier neighborhood was a highlight of the holidays, and serving as an altar boy made the night even more special.
âI really got to being on the front and part of the sacrament,â writes the anchor.
One year, the priests organize a particularly elaborate procession to kick off the midnight vigil. Twenty altar boys in black cassocks and white hooded surplices led the solemn march along the dark central aisle. Each boy held a large lighted candle. With their hoods on their heads, they looked like a line of miniature medieval monks.
âThe next thing I knew was that I was on the floor looking at faces that gradually came into focus,â Baier recalls.
âI had carried the candle too close to my body. The heat and smoke from the candle flame remained trapped in my hood. He had collapsed on the altar, in front of the whole horrified assembly.
âIt’s not the typical surprise you want to give to your family and your faith community,â he admits.
STOP OF FATHER NOL
Brian Kilmeade’s brothers tease him again about “the Christmas summer-open door.”
Late on Christmas Eve, the “Fox & Friends” host recalls, the three boys snuck out of bed to take a look at the tree standing in their living room in Massapequa, NY. Sure enough, a pile of presents awaited him.
âSuddenly we heard clicking noises. We thought it must have been Santa Claus, âhe recalls. As they rushed to their shared bedroom, Kilmeade noticed that the front door was open. He did the only thing responsible: he closed and locked it.
âThe open door had nothing to do with Santa Claus,â he explained. âWe had a fireplace. Santa Claus does not make the doors.
In fact, the boys had interrupted their father, James – coming out of the last shift at the bar he managed – carrying all their gifts around the house from their hiding place in his car. James spent hours shivering outside, unsuccessfully trying to wake his wife without alerting the children of his situation. (A handful of pebbles thrown at her bedroom window finally did the trick.)
âIt’s a parent’s dedication,â says Kilmeade.
SEARCH FOR SECRETS
Long before Fox meteorologist Janice Dean became Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fiercest critic, she investigated the great mystery of childhood: the truth about Santa Claus.
âMaybe it was the start of my career as a journalist,â Dean remembers.
When his half-eaten lollipop got tangled in the fluffy beard of a Santa Claus in a department store at the age of five, Dean grew suspicious. “I noticed straight away that the hairs on the beard were not normal hairs,” she recalls.
She started snooping around her family home. Hidden in the closet in her parents’ bedroom, she found a cache of wrapped gifts. Just to be sure, she opened one.
“I was very careful with it and was able to close it forensic, keeping the tape intact,” she admits. âI remember being both delighted and horrified by what I had done: ‘Oh, that’s terrible!’ and âOh, YAY! I got what I wanted! ‘ A newcomer is born.
Decades later, when Dean’s son Matthew asked where Santa’s gifts actually came from, she confirmed her doubts.
âHe was clearly upset,â she wrote. But âonce he got in he said, ‘Well, let’s not tell Theodore.’
“I loved that he wanted his younger brother to haveâ¦ that magic.”
“We were kind of a makeshift family,” remembers Lawrence Jones, Fox News contributor. Her mother’s creativity sparked their low-budget Christmas tradition of making ornaments from cotton balls, popsicle sticks and pine cones. âI learned about using a glue gun very early in life. “
This skill has already gotten Jones into trouble over Christmas. Weeks before the big day, he found his parents’ hiding place and spotted the toy gun he had requested among the collected gifts. But his coveted gift was missing a case.
âI thought it was a problem I could easily fix,â he writes. âImagination + cardboard + razor + hot glue = case. He put it together and put it away.
On Christmas Day, Jones unwrapped the pop gun and rushed to get the pending prop.
âMom and dad knew pretty quickly that I was sneaking around,â he admits.
The toy gun was put away for a few months as a punishment.
At the age of 7, all questions White House correspondent Peter Doocy had about Santa’s story were thrown away after an awkward encounter with the good old elf himself.
Doocy’s dad, longtime âFox & Friendsâ host Steve Doocy, had landed tickets for the whole family to attend the premiere of âMiracle on 34th Street,â the remake of the classic Christmas movie by the director John Hughes, at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan.
âI was a little kid, and after all this time watching the movie, I had to go to the bathroom,â Doocy remembers.
âAs I stood there, a man with a white beard approached the urinal next to me. It was Santa Claus!
In fact, it was Richard Attenborough, the famous British actor, who had grown a full set of mustaches to play Kris Kringle in the film.
Dating for men is now a favorite family affair. âImagine a child who still believed in Santa Claus when he saw this! Doocy writes. “Not only did Santa Claus not have a uniform but …”
All Jesse Watters wanted for Christmas in 1985 was a red leather jacket with multiple zippers like the one Michael Jackson wore in the video for his hit song “Beat It”.
“There I was, that little white boy who grew up in Philadelphia,” writes Watters. âI was seven years old. I had no idea how expensive and impractical this jacket would be – I would have been out of it in no time. “
On Christmas morning, he eagerly snatched the paper from the package he was convinced would fulfill his dreams of walking on the moon. Unfortunately, the pragmatism of his parents won the day. âIt was a DIY Michael Jackson glove kit,â Watters recalls.
Three decades later, when Watters revealed her dotted Christmas wish during a segment of her show “The Five,” co-host Dana Perino took note. She had drawn Watters’ name at the office’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange.
Perino found a replica of the Michael Jackson jacket and presented it to his colleague. âThe mixture of surprise and pleasure when a gift connects to someone is worth all the time and thought that goes into it,â she writes.
“It was worth the wait!” said Watters, who proudly wore the jacket to the air. âNothing could ‘beat him’. “
âOne Christmas, with just one gift, my dad pretty much changed the meaning of my life,â writes country music superstar John Rich, who hosts a show on streaming service Fox Nation.
Jim Rich, John’s father, was a preacher who played gospel music on his pulpit acoustic guitar and gave group guitar lessons next door. When five-year-old John took a lesson, Jim handed him a plastic guitar so he didn’t feel left out.
âOver the next year, I got to where I could take that little plastic guitarâ¦ and play whatever he played,â Rich recalls.
That Christmas there was a big box under the tree with John’s name on it. âIt was the guitar that I watched my father play since the beginning of my life,â he writes. Unable to afford a new instrument for the boy, Jim Rich passed on the only guitar he owned.
âYou need a real guitar, and with it you’ll be better than me,â the father told his son, who started his career at a major record label with it.
“He taught me about sacrifice,” writes John Rich. “About putting your faith in something that you can’t see yet, but you know it’s going to happen.” “