Holidays with the family can be quite the adventure, can’t it? Here is a small collection of some funny Thanksgiving and Christmas stories.
Cold and Lonely on Christmas Eve
We were young and alone on Christmas Eve. I’d accepted a new job during the summer, so Mary and I had loaded our meager belongings into a truck and drove it a thousand miles. For both of us, it was the first Christmas away from family and friends.
The holidays were hard as we came from large families. Making matters worse, Mary was heavily pregnant. My Dad said that married men have to learn to walk on water, and when the wife is pregnant, we have to walk about three feet above it. She was on an emotional roller coaster that dipped up and down minute by minute.
That Christmas Eve, I tried to cheer her up by getting her out of the tiny apartment we’d rented, aptly named “the cave” for it’s tiny windows and dark interior. We went to an inexpensive family restaurant, about all we could afford on our tight budget. Even though the staff wanted to go home to their families, they treated us nicely, maybe because Mary was so obviously pregnant.
We finished the meal and returned to the dark, empty apartment. I retreated to the bedroom to wrap some small gifts while Mary busied herself in the living room. When I came out, she beamed, pointing at a lamp she’d decorated with ornaments because we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree. A minute later, I held her in my arms as she sobbed.
The Ice Storm
My in-laws drove halfway across the country to visit us on Thanksgiving, much to the joy of Mary and the kids. Who can spoil children better than some doting grandparents? My father-in-law enjoyed eating out at restaurants, a real luxury when you come from a tiny farm town, so I could claim to be spoiled too.
We planned a big Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey and all the goodies. Mary made a pumpkin cheesecake, and then had to make another one when my father-in-law and I ate most of the first one the night before the holiday. It hurt, but it was very good!
The next morning was cold and wet. The temperature dropped steadily through the day. Ice accumulated on the trees outside, making them look like crystal. I was nervous about a power outage. Sure enough, just after sunset a transformer blew and the lights flickered out.
We lit every candle we owned to light the kitchen and dining room. Fortunately, we had a gas stove, so cooking was still possible, and an hour later we sat down to dinner.
If you don’t help with cooking, you have to do the dishes. It’s our house rule, and I’d avoided doing any of the cooking, gambling that my friend Mr. Dishwasher would be up to the job. I lost, but I didn’t complain. I washed and dried dishes, scrubbed pots, and cleaned flatware for about 45 minutes. Finally, I poured a cup of coffee and cut another piece of that marvelous cheesecake just as the lights came back on.
The Quasimodo Tree
Mary and the kids went to pick out a Christmas tree while I was at work. They visited a local tree farm and selected one from the bargain rack. The guys there wrapped it in netting, probably chuckling all the while, because when I got home and looked at it, the tree appeared to have a huge bulge on one side. Trees don’t get pregnant, do they? This one looked like it was ready to pop out a sequoia.
At first glance, it looked like a perfect Christmas tree. I’m sure it looked that way while leaning against the rack, but further examination showed that the trunk was bent and wildly off-center. The branches were carefully trimmed to give it that “perfect” look. I found that it was almost impossible to balance in the tree stand. Mary held it up so it wouldn’t fall on me while I laid on the floor muttering and fussing with it. Eventually it stayed upright.
The kids decorated it with tinsel, strings of lamps, and ornaments, putting the latter out of reach of Mittens the Wonder Cat. When they finished, we had dinner. Minutes later, the tree crashed to the floor! Mittens streaked through the dining room, looking like a furry torpedo. She’d had a paw in the crash, I knew.
We put the tree back up. An hour later, it crashed onto the floor again. This time Mary saw Mittens trying to extricate herself from the tree. She was tangled in lights and tinsel with an ornament stuck on her tail. She took off again, hiding in the bathroom to sulk until the evil, cat-eating tree was gone.
Just to be safe, though, we tied the tree to the wall with rope, leading a friend to ask, “Are you afraid it might try to get away?”
Do you have any funny family Christmas/Thanksgiving stories that you would like to share?