Ah, Christmas. A time of crashing Christmas trees, flaming hair extensions and faux fruitcakes. A joyous season of drunken, rampaging in-laws, in-church flatulence, and eggnog-induced dinner disasters. In the spirit of Blue Christmas, (still available as a bargain-priced $1.99 ebook until Dec. 23) we asked for your best/worst Christmas catastrophes, and like the intrepid troopers you are, nearly a hundred of you opened your hearts and your memory banks to come up with some of the most compelling, embarrassing, hilarious, heart-breaking stories ever.
Truly, reading your stories, my cup runneth over. In fact, my cup of Diet Coke speweth from my nostrils in a most un-Nativity like manner.
Your holidays make the Griswold’s Christmas Vacation seem like a Perry Como special. Your stories made me pause and take time to reflect and take stock, this blessed holiday season. IS IT JUST ME? Are all of my readers really this messed up? I was troubled, dear readers, that some of you might be troubled enough to come over to my place and take a baseball bat to my car, as did one of the characters in one of the stories I read. So I had to reach deep down and ask myself: Do my books attract a special variety of dysfunctional whack job?
But I decided, nah. Everybody’s life has its lousy, awful, disgusting moments. Everybody has a variation on the creepy ex brother-in-law who shows up Christmas morning to hit on an innocent niece. Lots of people have dogs who scarf up 30 yeast rolls and then barf them up on the rug just before company arrives. And really, who hasn’t, as a child, clambered atop her brother’s shoulders and ferreted out every last hidden Christmas toy at the top of the closet and handed them out to their younger Santa-believing siblings while their parents were picking up Granny at the airport?
Of course, not everybody is like Mary Calhoun, who defied her grumpy father in an effort to surprise her terminally ill mother with a live Christmas tree, and in the process inadvertently set a crazed squirrel loose in the house. For that, Mary Calhoun, you win first prize, a vintage Eisenberg Ice blue Christmas tree pin just like the one in Blue Christmas.
And not just anybody has a story like Amanda Totino, who unknowingly gifted her fruitcake-loving Aunt Berta with a mail-order confection which just happened to be made of foam rubber. For that moment of thoughtfulness, Amanda, you win the reproduction blue rhinestone Christmas tree pin.
Peggy Nesbit, you won an autographed copy of BLUE CHRISTMAS for your tale of the ‘60s-era hairpiece that ended up snagged in your suitor’s dinner jacket at the big Christmas formal. And Pennie Chase, you won an autographed BLUE CHRISTMAS for the not-so-funny story about the year your hubby believed all the bagged-up Christmas gifts were trash and thoughtfully took them to the curb for pick-up. Bridget Loprieato, you won for your re-telling of the time your cranky granddad mistook the doggie treats for cocoanut candy. Alison Storaasli, because we loved the tale of your sister’s hair extensions being set aflame at the candle-light Christmas service, you get a book too. And Yvonne Jefferson? How could we not give you an autographed book? Your story about the long-ago South Georgia white Christmas when your husband and father-in-law decided to thaw the frozen water pipes by starting a bonfire beneath the house—thus filling the old board house with enough smoke to cure a country ham left us—literally, with tears in our eyes.
As for the rest of you, please believe me when I say how much I enjoyed reading all your meaningful (and disturbing) stories. If I had a hundred prizes, you would all win one for your willingness to share. In the meantime, what I wish for you is a safe, loving, blessed, Merry Christmas. And just remember—don’t let the cat near the Christmas tree, and don’t leave the dog home alone. Take the plastic wrapping off the ham and the bagged-up gizzards out of the turkey before baking. Make sure your oven actually works before inviting the free world over for a big Christmas dinner. And always, no matter what, remember to smile. Because who knows? Maybe this year’s catastrophe is next year’s contest winner.
Merry Christmas, y’all!