I’m with you, standing here in the Target checkout line with the perfect wrapping paper to compliment the fun, yet educational toys under the tree. The ribbons will match. Maybe a sprig of evergreen? I mean, a 2 year old will appreciate the Pinterest worthiness of the whole thing, right?
After this, I’m running home to cook a mock holiday meal to make sure the sides don’t need more salt, butter or seasoning.
We’ve seen every Santa. We’ve watched every holiday movie of my childhood, a few of theirs. The Elf on the Shelf has successfully moved every morning (so far).
I love Christmas. I want my children to love Christmas. But so far, I’m missing the one element that made my childhood holidays so magical….
The annual Christmas Disaster.
You may know what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s not National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation level disaster, but still … a small fire, a crying kid on Santa’s lap, etc.
One of my favorite disasters happened annually when were kids. My parents would take us to cut down a tree from a tree farm. We would drive 40 minutes away (because the trees were cheaper). My dad would take one of the saws provided, which was more like dental floss, and we would trek around the tree farm looking for the perfect tree. It had to be the perfect height, the perfect fullness, perfectly straight trunk and – for a few years – must have a birds nest.
Did I mention it was usually 30 degrees?
Then my dad would saw back and forth for what seemed like forever. Finally, the tree would fall, we would grab onto the sappy trunk and use all of our strength to carry a tree to the car.
After roping it onto the top of our minivan, it was time to head home.
BUT that’s where the tradition took an amazingly magical turn.
There was a bend in the road near a small church. One year, as we rounded that turn, the tree slid off the top of the car and dangled outside our passenger side windows. I’m sure we screamed and laughed. I’m also sure my dad swore under his breath, pulled over and re-roped it to the top.
The next year, we were approaching that same bend near that same little church, and like we were on a roller coaster knowing the drop was coming, we chanted “here it comes! Here it comes!!” And like de ja vous, the tree slid off the top and rolled to the side of the van.
We laughed and cheered like we scored the winning touchdown.
The next year, just like a movie, the same scene.
It was our annual Christmas disaster.
Once we were older and too cool to cut down a tree, the Christmas disaster typically happened during gifts.
My sister opened a clothing box and pulled out a plum colored matching velour jumpsuit. I feel like J Lo made them mainstream around that time. Within seconds, she burst into tears of disappointment along with a laugh and a “why would you buy me this”. My other sister was laughing so hard next to her, it made the crying worse.
Then my mom got upset and – I think – walked out of the room saying “I can’t do anything right”.
I stayed quiet because I was with my mom when she bought it and said “Oh yeah, Bridget will look great in purple.”
That’s the year we started the tradition: “Who will ruin Christmas?”
It’s a contest now, with year long bragging rights. Whom ever ruins Christmas in the worst way is applauded and celebrated as the winner.
Someone sometimes misses a flight. Last year, my cheesecakes fell flat and *someone who shall remain nameless* still took a forkful out of the garbage. A couple years ago, my uncle even hit my cousin’s car on the way out of Thanksgiving dinner (still counts as holidays) and kept driving. We all agree felonies aren’t funny … but now we joke about getting through the holidays without a hit & run.
These are the memories we talk about every year.
I don’t remember what my sisters bought me or what the wrapping paper looked like. (Although, Annie who is an artist usually stays up all night cutting snowflakes out of napkins and slays any wrapping paper I buy).
There’s no side dish I could make or cocktail I can mix up that will inspire my out of town siblings to book flights home. But that Christmas disaster? No one wants to miss it.
So, yes, I will still try my hardest to plan out a perfect holiday with magical traditions – One that my babes will cherish as they grow older and less attached to Santa. But if my perfect plan completely unravels or there are tears not stemming from pure joy, I know exactly what to do: Laugh about it.
Cheers to all of you! I hope your holidays have one epic disaster and all happy memories! I’ll talk to you in 2018.