My parents moved us a 4-5 hour drive from where their siblings lived when I was very little. So every year, there was usually a trip, by us, back to the area sometime before Christmas to deliver and pick up gifts.
One year, I stayed home with Mom and my brother, who was driving by this time, and my Dad made the trip. They'd seen Dad's relatives and were heading to my Mom's sister's place to spend the night and then head home. My Aunt was going to come to our house for Christmas but wasn't planning on coming until closer to Christmas.
As they were driving down the highway, with my Dad driving, a car coming out from a side road didn't stop. Dad had seen them and had slowed down but still T-boned them, going a pretty good clip. The other guy had two little girls in the front seat with him, none of them wearing seatbelts. My Dad and brother were both wearing theirs.
My brother jumped out to go give the guy what for; my Dad struggled because his door would only open a foot and hollered to my brother to make sure they were OK first, before he lit into the guy.
Police showed up, wanted my Dad and brother to go to the hospital to be checked out. Dad had seatbelt bruises, brother had bruises on his arms because he braced on the dash (no airbags) but other than that, they were OK and refused to go to hospital. Police dropped them off at Aunt's house.
So on the day they were expected back home, they arrived with my Aunt. And that's when we heard what had happened; Dad didn't want to tell Mom over the phone because he knew she'd freak out. I was just thrilled because I got more time with my favourite Aunt.
Dad called the insurance agent to get moving on that, let him know that Dad was going to buy a new car. The insurance agent tried to stall him, saying it wasn't a sure thing that the car would be written off. Dad told him that if it wasn't written off, he didn't want it back. The engine had moved right back against the fire wall, the sway bars in the trunk were bent; no way was he taking it back, fixed.
So Mom got a new car for Christmas. Dad went out and bought the same car, put it in the garage with a bow on it and didn't let Mom go see it until Christmas morning.