Christmastime has always been my favorite time of year. Ever since I was a kid, the air seemed to hold a certain new magic during the month of December. I spent the whole year anticipating it (probably because my birthday also falls in December and I loved getting presents– ha!). But, to be honest, my parents always made the holidays feel so special; not only with presents and material things but in the quality of time we all spent together.
It was a tradition for ten years or so to watch A Christmas Story in the week leading up to the 25th, and on Christmas Eve we would open a single gift and laugh while watching the Griswolds’ hijinks in Christmas Vacation. We still quote this movie whenever we get the chance. (THE BLESSING.) If you’ve never seen either of those movies, get on that.
As for the funny Christmas stories…
My dad and I always decorated the house together. I think he’s the reason I love this time of year so much, and he’s also to blame for my crippling bouts of nostalgia (thanks, dad…)! When I was 11 or 12 my parents bought an adorable Christmas Village with detailed buildings that light up from within and some snow-covered scenery to go with it. We’d always set up those fake, fabric snow sheets on top of the mantle and place the buildings on it. I remember when we bought the village, we spent a long time choosing which buildings we wanted. The shop employee was very helpful and attentive. When we noticed that one of the little people had broken off of its ceramic stand, she offered to discount it. I (not so) smartly chimed in “We’re just going to superglue it!” It made her laugh, and my dad told me to hush because he didn’t want to pay full price. Kids. Always offering up the brutally honest truth. Luckily for me, she still gave us a discount.
I’m pretty sure it was the next Christmas that the funniest decorating mishap in my memory happened. We had an archway over our kitchen bar where we always hung up a long pine garland adorned with bows and bells. My dad would use a staple gun to stick it up there, and it required him to stand on the bar in order to reach. Before you worry, no he didn’t fall off. But what he did do is equally embarrassing if not more so. He was moving along the garland stapling at even intervals when all of a sudden the staple gun stopped working. Even just typing this makes me laugh to think about it. He noticed that the gun had stopped working, so he shook it. Still, no staples were coming out. I watched him from below as he climbed down and said “It’s not working. Look!” and then proceeded to hold up his hand and pull the trigger on the stapler.
Well, the staple shot out and right into his hand, where he was positively shocked to see blood dribbling from his wound. Merry Christmas! You have a staple in your hand. Like I said, I still laugh to this day about that.
There was yet another, later Christmas, where we were burgled. I’m sure you’re wondering how this could possibly be a funny, happy Christmas memory. I’m not sure if it were my parents telling the story that it would be spun in a positive way, but I for one find this a great story to tell at parties. The thing is, the burglars only broke into our garage where my dad had unwittingly hidden all of my mom’s gifts. They were in the trunk of the car, waiting to be retrieved and wrapped after we decorated the tree. When we walked out to the car the morning after, the garage door opened to reveal… an open and empty trunk. My dad’s face turned white as a sheet.
I think he dropped an F-bomb. Or two. I couldn’t believe that sneaky people would break in and steal a bunch of our gifts. Where was their Christmas spirit? They should have LEFT gifts! What’s funny is that back then my parents collected action figures. My dad had bought my mom a bunch of action figures and wrapped them in plastic bags just in case my mom opened his trunk, she wouldn’t be able to see them. Apparently, the thieves couldn’t see what they were stealing either. But all of the gifts were gone.
After a few more expletives, we got into the car and backed out of our driveway. My dad was still fuming as we drove up the street, but I was looking out my window. First, I noticed a white package peeking out from a neighbor’s hedge. Further up the road I noticed another plastic bag in the middle of the road and another in the gutter.
I guess the burglars realized too late that Stan Winstons Realm Of The Claw Cat People action figures weren’t really what they’d been after. They’d thrown them out of their car as they drove up the road not even half a mile from our house. We got most of the gifts back because my parents were a couple of action figure collecting nerds.