Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year. The season is full of sparkle, lights, magic, and the goodness of humankind. My grandmother Ruth loved the holiday season too, and as a little girl, I always spent Thanksgiving weekend with her to help her decorate, bake, and make Christmas candy.
I was the kid who stayed wide awake all night every Christmas Eve, and much to my parents' dismay, I was always up at four or five in the morning to open presents. One year when I was about four, I was so excited to see Santa. We waited in line for at least an hour at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach. When it was my turn, fear took over, and I had a tearful outburst. I didn't get to give him my list. I fretted for days that he was going to skip our house that year. I was shocked and SO relieved on Christmas to find out he came through for me.
When I was almost five (and the only grandchild on all sides), I wanted a puppy. I got a sister that year. She came home on Christmas Eve, and things haven't been the same since. I'm just kidding, my sister is my best friend (but I was a tad disappointed that I didn't get the puppy and that she was too big for me to carry around like a doll.
This time of year is chaotic, but it's fun. Here are some of my humorous holiday moments.
I Have Proof - One year before my sister arrived, it snowed late on Christmas Eve. It rarely did that in Virginia Beach. I didn’t know which was more exciting, Christmas or snow. We opened the front door, and there were real, honest-to-goodness reindeer tracks on the front steps. I couldn’t believe it. I had proof. I saw them. That’s where the reindeer waited while Santa unloaded all of my loot.
I found out much later that my “reindeer” was the next-door neighbor’s German Shepherd JoJo.
What is That Smell? - One summer, I was driving back and forth from work, and I smelled this sickening citrus odor in my car. I checked my bags and the car. It kept getting worse, and I couldn’t find the source. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I pulled everything out of the car. Someone had given us a bag of potpourri the previous Christmas, and it had gotten stuck between the back seat and the trunk. It was ripe when I finally threw it out.
Invasion of the Short People - My husband volunteered to help the men’s club at church one year when they decided to sell wooden angels as a fundraiser. The angels were about four-feet tall with the name of the donor on the front. At Christmas time, they decorate the lawn of the church.
He cut about five of them and put them up against the wall in our garage. I went out to the garage in the dark and saw five figures lined up next to the wall. I got a start until I realized what they were. In the dark, it looked like a bunch of short people hiding in my garage.
The Terrible Christmas Cookies - One December after work, my husband met me in the garage. “These cookies are terrible,” he said munching on something hard.
“What cookies?” I asked as I tried to remember what kind I bought last time. He finished his snack and said, “These in the red bag.” They were the peanut butter dog treats my niece made for the pair of Jacks.
I Don’t Care About the *&^%* Carolers - One Christmas, I volunteered to bring four dozen cookies to the holiday party at work. Well, at my house, to get four dozen cookies that look good enough to share, I had to bake six or seven dozen. The malformed ones were for sampling, and the burnt ones went into the trash. About halfway though the baking, I had lost my holiday spirit and all desire for peace and goodwill.
My husband came bounding into the kitchen with the joyous news that we had holiday carolers outside. He wanted to know if we should take them some cookies. By then, the floor, dogs, and I were covered in flour and sugar. I gave him the look of death, and he slowly backed out of the kitchen.
What Happened to the Angel? - One year, my sister and I went over to my Grandmother Ruth’s house to help her decorate for Christmas. When we were unpacking decorations, we discovered a bald angel. Previously, she was a blonde. It seemed she fell off the tree last year, and Patton, the Boston Terrier ate her hair.
It's Awfully Humid in Here - My Grandmother Ruth always had candy at her house. She had an open dish in her living room for guests. During the holiday season, it was filled with all kinds of festive hard candy. I loved the assortment, but it was always stuck together. We had to break it off in chunks. Grandma always chalked it up to the heat and the humidity.
One day we discovered the truth about the sticky candy. We went in the living room, and Patton , her Boston Terrier, was standing in the chair licking the candy dish. I pass on the hard candy now.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. I know there's a lot of activity, but try to squeeze in the moments to enjoy the magic and fun.