Celebrities’ Favorite Christmas Memories

American Icons
on December 14, 2014
Christmas Memories of the Stars

Actors and actresses from prime time’s top shows recall their favorite gifts, most awesome Christmas mornings and heartwarming holiday moments.

Debra Messing
Det. Laura Diamond / The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)

It was actually a mug my son made me from Color Me Mine that said “Mom” on it that he painted. Who knows—it may have been Pollock-inspired. The painting was fascinating. It’s my favorite mug. He was around 5 when he made it.

Sasha Alexander
Maura Isles / Rizzoli & isles (TNT)

I always ask my mother-in-law [Sophia Loren] for something that she has owned, something that has been in her possession. I like vintage. She gave me a vintage Chanel purse, which is the first Chanel purse I ever had—and the only one, which I just love. It is from the ‘60s and I treasure it. The other thing is my husband [Edoardo Ponti] gave me my engagement ring. He proposed at Christmas, so that is a big one, too.

Cynthia Watros
Elizabeth Wilson / Finding Carter (MTV)

When Christmas comes around, my daughters make me things. To me, whatever it is, that is is my favorite. So whatever my daughters make me. I am not much for gifts, but those are keepers. I have a whole box of stuff they have made for me.

Brooke Burns
Host / the Chase (GSN)

Gift wise, I’ll never forget growing up in Texas. One year, we went through all of our Christmas presents, and then my dad ran outside the house and rang the doorbell. My sister and I ran to the front door—and there were two four-wheelers sitting out front. We drove around the cul-de-sac, going “Wheeeeee!”

Nicole Beharie
Lt. Abbie Mills / Sleepy hollow (FOX)

My nephew is now 4 years old and he makes art and paintings. He painted me a little monkey and he stuck a flower on it. I thought it was the sweetest thing ever because it clearly took a long time and he had to go find the flower. He knows I buy cut flowers every two weeks and put them in the house. When he gave it to me, he said, “I’m sorry, it’s dead. It was living when I put it there.” It had dried out. I said, “Baby, bless you.”

Mindy Kaling
Dr. Mindy Lahiri / The Mindy Project (FOX)

I am a huge J.D. Salinger fan. I had a boyfriend who gave me all the uncollected J.D. Salinger stories that were published in magazines but were not compiled into book collections. That was a nice Christmas present.


Jared Padalecki
Sam Winchester / Supernatural (The CW)

Probably my favorite gift is photo albums. I am terrible at taking pictures, but I love looking at pictures. My mother, my sister and my brother at family functions always have cameras. I always say, “Just enjoy it. You can’t take it with you,” but I will get a photo album for Christmas or my birthday, and it is always makes me remember the good times.

Joanne Froggatt
Anna Bates / Downton Abbey (PBS)

It would be when I was a little girl getting a doll’s house for Christmas. I think I was 2 1/2 or 3. It is probably one of my earliest memories, receiving this dollhouse and having my grandparents there for Christmas. It was several stories so it was higher than I was tall. I remember spending all Christmas with my head in this dollhouse.

Ioan Gruffurd
Dr. Henry Morgan / Forever (ABC)

I think one of the most delightfully surprising Christmas gifts I got was a pair of socks that my wife had given me. But rolled up in those sock was a beautiful watch that I had had my eye on for a long, long time but I couldn’t justify buying it. It wasn’t crazy expensive, but it was beyond our means at the time.

But the socks themselves were great because they were great sports socks that I absolutely loved, And, of course, not being that curious about it, I missed what was at the bottom of the package—and then I saw this watch. So that was pretty special that she had hidden it in such a subtle way.

Sarah Wright
Dennah / Marry Me (NBC)

When I was in high school, I wanted to play the flute, and my parents went out and bought me this beautiful silver flute with a gold mouthpiece. I was so proud of it. I played it every single day. I will never forget the moment I opened the box and saw what it was.

Maggie Q
Lt. Beth Davis / Stalker (CBS)

When I was a kid, I wasn’t a Barbie doll girl. I won’t say I was a tomboy, because I wasn’t, I was still a girl, but I liked tough toys. So instead of wanting a Barbie like other girls did, I wanted a C-3PO. I wanted a big, tough metal guy, and I got it. I was obsessed with him for many years, because he was my tough guy.

Dash Hosney / The Red band Society (FOX)

We live in an era when nobody buys CDs anymore, but I still physically like CDs. I like to collect them instead of going online and digitally downloading them. So I always ask my mother for the newest Missy Elliott CD or the new Jay-Z CD.

Jesse Lee Soffer
Det. Jay Halstead / Chicago pd (NBC)

When I was a kid, my father gave me one of his gold- chain bracelets. He used to wear two, and he gave me one of them. I still have it and I wear it every once in a while. I looked up to my dad.

Matthew Gray Gubler
Dr. Spencer Reid / Criminal Minds (CBS)

It sounds cliché, but I wanted a BB gun. I was 12 and I saw that movie, A Christmas Story, which is about the kid getting a BB gun. My dad went to great lengths to make me think I wasn’t getting one. He recreated the end of that movie, where we had opened all our presents; I hadn’t gotten the BB gun. I was a little disappointed, and then he said, “What’s that over there in the closet?” I went over and the BB gun was there. It was a wonderful moment with my dad.

Found in: American Icons