Carol Ross Reveals Her Very Best Christmas Disasters
Nothing less than perfect will do! The best tree, the perfect gift, the most delicious meal, the ENTIRE family gathered together. We all have our list of essentials that we need in order to have the perfect Christmas.
How dare that wayward mishap, imperfection, or even tragedy, crop up and try to ruin our day? It can’t. Not when we’ve planned so meticulously, taken every precaution, finalized every detail, checked every item on the 148 different lists we’ve made. But then, the evil, the un-listed unimaginable happens. A storm knocks the power out, a flight is canceled, or the dog tips over the turkey fryer and burns down the garage. Big or small, I’m sure we’ve all experienced a holiday that was something far less than our completely reasonable expectations of perfection.
I think it’s true that misery loves company. It makes us feel better when someone can sympathize with our plight. So I thought I’d share a few of my “favorite” disasters with the hope that it will make yours seem a little less, um, disastrous.
The funniest (in retrospect) Christmas disaster happened when I was about ten-years-old. As we often did for the holidays, we planned to make the 500-mile trip from Washington to Grandma and Granddad’s ranch in northern Idaho. This year we were taking the motorhome. Dad loaded it up but with five kids, space was at a premium so he came up with the brilliant idea to neatly stack the already-wrapped gifts in the shower compartment. You can see where this is going, right? Yep, somewhere along the journey, an errant gift bumped the faucet that turned on the shower, which completely soaked the gifts. (My poor mom.)
The ugliest Christmas disaster happened years later after I was married. My three sisters, one of my brothers, and all of our families gathered at our parents’ (aka Granny and Papa’s) house for the holidays. There were at least 15 of us. A vicious stomach virus swept through the entire family, except Papa, knocking us down like bowling pins - the vomiting kind. Gifts weren’t even opened until the 27th.
The best animal disaster happened one Christmas Eve while my husband and I were having dinner at my sister’s house. Our newly adopted kittens climbed the tree, tipped it over, and broke half the ornaments. Others were shredded, many were batted around the house, or both. We discovered ornaments hidden under appliances and furniture for months to come.
The cringe-iest Christmas catastrophe would have to be the first year I was married and had my in-laws over for dinner. The oven was accidentally turned off and the prime rib was nearly three hours late while the rest of the food grew cold and crusty. This mishap wouldn’t bother me so much now, but as a newly-married twenty-something who didn’t yet know my in-laws well, it felt like I’d never recover.
The worst culinary disaster has its own name, it was that horrific. The Year Without Pie. The pumpkin pies were baked without sugar. I nearly cried. Yes, dessert is that important to me. (Hey, don’t judge. I’m not proud of it.)
The saddest holiday happened the year my mom’s sister, my beloved aunt, was killed in a car accident on Christmas Day. I’m so grateful she called me on Christmas Eve and I got to tell her Merry Christmas and I love you one last time. To this day, we all try hard not to let that event sadden our holiday. We know she wouldn’t want that.
Were any of these holidays perfect? No. But they didn’t need to be. Because every holiday eventually transforms into something so much greater than its worst moments as the charm, the fun, and the unbridled wonder of it all fills our hearts. These disasters, debacles, and yes, even the tragedies stick with us, of course. But, over time (and sometimes it’s a long time) they become like hard-won scars worthy of showing off and boasting about. They morph into joy-filled recollections and treasured stories to tell. Memories.
And often our best memories are of an occurrence that, while in the midst of it, we never dreamed we’d laugh about, or at least allow our hearts to smile over, later. Because no matter what happens, at the end of the day it’s all about the love, the real reason to celebrate.
Are your holidays ever a little less than perfect? How do you handle it when your holiday goes off the rails? Maybe you’ve even had a Christmas disaster you’d be willing to share?
For more information about Carol Ross, please visit her website: carolrossauthor.com
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Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis
Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty
Finding His Fiancee by Christmas by Cheryl Harper
The Christmas Window by Tara Randel
Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker
Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross
The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart
A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine
Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb