Now, Cooley hopes his new book will spur that same warm, fuzzy feeling in the hearts and minds of other children.
"Reindeer Magic" tells the story of a young girl who recently moved into a new house and is afraid Santa Claus won't find her on Christmas Eve.
She sprinkles reindeer food onto her lawn with the hopes of drawing Santa and his reindeers.
Cooley, 48, said in addition to his mom, the story is inspired by his sons, Joshua and Caleb, and their enthusiasm for Christmas.
"I was dedicated to write a story that captured that spirit," he said.
While the book is targeted to children, it also will tickle the fancy of adults who are "young at heart," he said.
Cooley will sign copies at 11 a.m. today at Three Sisters Gifts and Home Accents in Hickory Flat and at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29, at FoxTale Book Shoppe in downtown Woodstock.
The book retails for $22.95. For $34.95, buyers will receive the book, a toy reindeer and a bag of "magic reindeer food."
On the website www.reindeermagic.com children can name their reindeer, print out an adoption certificate and read a letter Santa Claus has written about each reindeer.
Ellen Ward, co-owner of FoxTale Book Shoppe, said there's a strong market for books such as "Reindeer Magic."
Classic children's holiday stories never die, she said, noting "The Nutcracker," "A Christmas Carol" and "'Twas The Night Before Christmas," while very old, still are timeless.
"They are tied in with tradition," she said of children's holiday stories, adding they often focus on values of family and selflessness that are synonymous with the holidays.
Cooley began writing the book in 1999, but didn't find the right illustrator until two years ago.
As a child, he said, his mother, Ruth Cooley, made the most of the holidays. What he remembers best, he said, are his mother's main dishes and desserts.
The late Mrs. Cooley would take the time to make everyone's favorite dessert. Cooley said his favorite dessert, pecan pie, turned out perfect every time.
"Everyone would end up at our house because she was a really good cook," he added.
Each Christmas, he said, the family had a live Christmas tree, and on Christmas Eve, the family ate T-bone steaks at his aunt's home. On Christmas mornings, the family would trek to the Cooley house for breakfast.
His mother's family-oriented lifestyle is something he's working to instill into his family. Each holiday season, he said, he makes a point to spend as much time as possible with his family.
Cooley was born in east Atlanta and graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School in 1980. He obtained a bachelor's degree in biology from Georgia State University and completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in 1989.
He did three years of training at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and began practicing medicine in Canton in 1992. Cooley now operates the Minor Emergency & Family Medicine clinic on Transit Avenue.
Cooley said he hopes his book will fill readers with the holiday spirit his mother so loved.
"I want to help families feel that special feeling," he said.