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Author Topic: Share Your Christmas Stories  (Read 26326 times)

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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2013, 09:13:57 AM »
On 'good' surprises, I'll share one--although trigger/TMI warning, it is about infertility and doesn't really start as a Christmas story.

A few years ago, after a lot of weirdnesses in our lives, Mr. Dawbs and I had been trying for children for a few years.  This had been challenging and stressful, in part, because when my hormones take their natural course, I have daily migraines with nausea.  So I'd been in pain for the better part of 3 years and the treatments we'd discovered were incompatible with even *trying* to be pregnant according to the doctor (my rantings on my disagreement w/ the doctors on that can be another topic--it's moot because the doctors control the prescription pads)

Aenyhoo, in October, the doctor gave both Mr. Dawbs and I a whole battery of tests and the consensus was given to us around a not-very-pleasant-Thanksgiving that with our collective issues it was 'highly highly unlikely' that we would ever have a child without tremendous amounts of medical intervention.  The fact that hormones in my system cause me no end of pain meant that it was going to be a bit extra challenging to have said interventions.  I said that we needed to think on it, to sleep on it, and to all around have some time to grieve/process/figure out budgets/figure out some stuff before we took our next steps.  I was entering my 'busy season' at work so said we would take our time and we'd decide how to proceed by spring.
We had much debating with the docs over the status of the prescriptions for the intervening time and eventually I prevailed on the doctors to allow me to keep absurdly close track of my cycles--so I was taking pregnancy tests essentially every-other-day and, since they were inevitably negative, I was allowed to take my medications every day, after my negative test (For the record, that was incredibly disheartening and depressing.  Nothing like "oh, yeah, another negative pregnancy test, now I can take my moderately in-effective medications in order to take my pain level from an 11 to a 4 today.  yay?".
(On the plus side, I learned you can buy cheap, no-name pregnancy test strips (without the plasticky things that surround them) in bulk, online, for something like .27c/test) 

Christmas morning, I woke up and felt like hell.  THat wasn't really surprising, I felt like hell a lot then--the previous few days had been pretty migraine-nausea bad.  I decided washing my medications down with tasty Christmas wine was the way to go and, as always, I pulled out the morning's pregnancy test.   Except, this time, it was positive.
Best Christmas present *EVER*.
(although I didn't ever get my wine.  In fact, I didn't really get Christmas dinner--I had impressive morning sickness)
(And, it's really really hard to trust a piece of paper you paid 27c. for.  Of course, Christmas day, it wasn't like I could just hop on down to the corner store and buy a second test.  So, I used about $1.08 worth of cheap tests and dealt with the crazy the next day to be able to confirm with something not made by the lowest bidder)

We were headed over to my IL's house, but made a quick detour to my parent's house, where we told my family (OK, we didn't tell gramps, because he couldn't keep a secret to save his life--and I didn't need *EVERYONE* knowing on that day), and at my IL's house, I handed my MIL a gift-bag with a tiny baby outfit (I'd been working on sewing something; I had take me 3 years to sew it--I am not speedy) and watching her process that was amazing.
(and, FWIW, the child hated that carefully [if badly] sewn outfit, and wore it all of 2x.)

What a great surprise! I bet the scream shook the rafters!

Team HoundMom

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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2013, 11:27:07 AM »
Well I can tell you about the Christmas morning when I woke up to an empty stocking and no gifts.

I had broken my own rule and was seeing a guy who was a single parent.  His son was 5. I was in college and my roommate moved away so this guy let me live with them because I couldn't afford a place on my own. This is what apparently transpired on Christmas Eve. He knew there was an expensive moisturizer I loved, but of course being a dude he didn't know exactly what so he got me 2 $25 Sears gift cards to get it.  He also got me a big fluffy teddy bear and his buddy was supposed to take him shopping for stocking stuffers for me. (He didn't have a vehicle at the time.)  So on Christmas Eve he goes to his mom's house and it turns out her boyfriend's sons each gave him a gift and he hadn't bought anything for he gave them the gift cards.  Then his brother and brother's daughter (age 9 or so?) showed up and he hadn't bought them he gave her the teddy bear.  Then his buddy couldn't be bothered to take him shopping (I guess taking the bus or finding another ride wasn't an option  ::)) so he didn't get anything for my stocking.

So there I was on Christmas morning with an empty stocking, no presents, and a little kid going "Daddy, why didn't Santa bring Hurricane anything?"

Even though as a "starving student" I still managed to scrape up presents for him and his son.

I felt extra guilty for feeling hurt because Christmas is supposed to be all about "giving not receiving" and "for the children" and as an adult (27) I had no right to feel hurt or resentful about not getting any Christmas gifts given to me. I've had bad Christmases before and after, but that one would be the worst.  (I left him very shortly after, not because of that but because I couldn't handle living with a child and because he simply wasn't the "right guy" for me.)


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2013, 04:40:57 AM »
This was a few years ago when one of the Gameboy versions had just come out (I think it was GBA) and my sister was about 13

I always give my sister a pile of presents, one of her favourite Christmas memories was when I pulled a sledge into the front room stacked with presents for her. She is allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and I was adamant that THIS UNREMARKABLE PRESENT couldn't be opened as she wouldn't be able to use it till Christmas Day when she opens her other presents. so after I brought her attention to THIS UNREMARKABLE PRESENT that just so happened to be the same shape, size and weight of a GBA, she had figured out what it was, you can imagine how excited she was.

Christmas morning and this was her first present, I can still see the look on her face as she opened it and found... A GBA shaped metal pencil case! She did her best not to look disappointed and grateful right up to the point when I told to open the pencil case. Inside was the actual GBA. She screamed.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2013, 08:27:36 AM »
I have a raft of Christmas stories but this is one I remember well. 

I was about six years of age and, when my Dad was mowing the lawn in warm weather,  I would follow him with my doll carriage and pretend to be mowing along with him. 

That Christmas, one of the gifts I received was a toy lawn mower that could actually work. 

I loved the gift but it was December and there was nothing to mow.  Being an inventive child, I decided that it would be a good idea to mow the Christmas tree.  I did so with great gusto and, of course, the entire seven foot tree crashed to the floor.

I had to be punished and the punishment was severe.  I was denied access to the public library for a
full three weeks. My Dad wanted to give me a good whoopin' but Mom vetoed that because she had done something similar to her family's tree when she was my age. 

The next year, the annual recital at my dancing school had the theme of 'Holidays'.  I was 'Labor Day' and had a solo.  I performed a tap dance in a red, white and blue tutu with the lawn mower as a

Thus was the lawn mower rehabilitated in our family.         
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 08:31:16 AM by Thipu1 »


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2013, 10:37:15 AM »
The saving places in line thread made me remember another holiday tradition I'm glad my mom is continuing. Someone posted about a woman stocking up for nuclear winter, a comment on the amount of canned and non-perishable goods in her cart.

We've always had a spirit of charity in our family. Every year when Harvesters had their big donation push, we'd go to Aldi's or Costco or Sam's Club and stock up on canned goods. When Sis and I got to high school and our school did a canned good drive, they'd give us each $50 during the drive to spend how we wanted. Trust me, I got great at budgeting that $50, and as a senior when we had friends with jobs, memberships to the bulk store clubs, and cars, we'd coordinate who was getting what, when, how much they had, and how much extra they could spend if we'd pay them back.

My favorite memory was when one of our regular restaurants had a food drive. It was through a registered charity, and the owners of the restaurant were going to match pound for pound the food donated. Dad went and spent $150 at Aldi's and Sam's Club, brought in literally two loads of food in the back of a Jeep with the back seats down. The owners of the restaurant had to slightly change their donation amount to their maximum they could because Dad had met it.

I still stop and buy nonperishables when I'm shopping and there's a certain charity at the store. They're not pushy, I can afford to give a few dollars worth of food to them, but I'm looking forward to the giant trip with mom and sis to load up the whole car full of food for the needy.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2013, 08:37:33 AM »
There is the story of the box. 

One year, a cousin got a seasonal job at a very posh department store.  It was a place we'd never think of shopping but Cousin got a hefty discount and many of us received gifts in the distinctive box of the store. 

Everyone on both sides of the family lived within ten miles of each other and we were all on good terms.  Nobody thought anything about re-using gift boxes.  Often, these were from places that had gone out of business years before.  The box from posh store that originally contained my Mother's gift attained legendary status in the family. 

The year after she received it, Mom used it for her sister's gift.  The year after that, it went to Dad's side of the family.  The game was on!

After a few years, the question during the Christmas morning barrage of phone calls was, 'Who got the box this year?'

Repaired with tape, that box had a life of over 20 years.  Its end came when an Aunt welcomed a new bride to the family by packing a shower gift in it.  The Bride knew about the tradition but was not impressed.  She was insulted by the 'ratty' box and threw it away.

The family was not surprised to learn that the marriage was dissolved within the year. 



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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2013, 09:48:25 AM »
Heh, we had a nice Lord & Taylor box (but not actually remarkable in any way) that was used for gifts for at least 15 years.It only circulated within my mom's house, though.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2013, 11:33:02 AM »
Erma Bombeck: "Every Christmas I get something from my mother in a NeimanMarcus box. It's always the same box. My mother's never been in NeimanMarcus in her life."


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2013, 12:39:56 PM »
One year, when my nieces were about 7 years old, their daddy had just gotten a new job that was 350 miles away, and my sister was packing up the house to move. In December.  My sister was going to work Christmas (she was a nurse), and pack everyone up to go to their new place on December 27th.   As you can imagine, that made Christmas a huge challenge.    They dealt with it very well.  There were some presents to open at the first house, but the girls were told that 'Santa made a mistake and most of your presents are going to be at the new house!'.   So they got to have Christmas all over again.
Meanwhile, I had been told that they were getting a microscope for a present, so I got them a box of pre-made slides.  But the microscope was at the new house, not to be seen for days!!  Uh-oh!   When one niece opened the box, she said, 'What are these for?' and I told her, 'I don't know.  Santa told me that you were supposed to get those for Christmas.'   The other niece got it, and told the first one.  It was very cute.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2013, 04:01:49 PM »
We have a "box" story, too. In my extended family, any box will do when wrapping gifts. One year, Auntie wrapped some smaller gifts for my brother in a box that had originally contained envelopes. He unwrapped the box, saw that it was a box of envelopes, and kindly thanked Auntie for the gift.

Later, Auntie realized Brother had never even opened the box, so our mom had him open it and look inside. I think it had some special baseball cards and baseball-themed pencils, etc. in it. Way better than envelopes!

Now every year, someone gets a gift in an envelope box. When it is unwrapped, we act delighted and say "Oooooh, envelopes! Just what I needed! Thank you so much for the envelopes!"


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2013, 04:21:52 PM »
one more:

As I grew up, every Christmas dinner was at my mom's cousin's house. Cousin was in a family with several brothers and sisters who were always there, too.

The cousins had a rough childhood. Their dad (my great-uncle who got the cut-direct from most of the family) was awful to them before finally leaving for good. He left great-aunt who barely spoke english and a houseful of kids with almost nothing, and no way to support themselves. One year Cousin was lamenting the fact that they really did't have any pictures from their childhood. She knew some had been taken over the years, but never saw them herself. She had seen less than five photographs of her or her brothers and sisters from childhood. Ever.

My mom made it her mission to find pictures for the next Christmas. She really went to bat against my grandmother and another aunt who were the self-appointed gatekeepers of all family-related stuff, and very unwilling to share. Eventually, my mom got her hands on piles of photographs of Cousin's family from the 40s, 50s, 60s, and into the 70s taken by other relatives. She got copies of everything for Cousin. This was before stores had in-shop equipment to do this type of thing. She had to go to a specialty shop to have negatives made, then get the negatives developed, and it was mostly a mail-order thing. She did it in small batches for fear of losing it all in the mail. By next Christmas, she had over 200 pictures for Cousin.

She wrapped them in calico and ribbons in small stacks of 10 pictures each and put them in a basket, so it looked like a big basket full of little presents. When Cousin opened the first stack and realized that the basket was full of pictures, she burst into tears, which didn't stop flowing until all of the pictures had been seen. The other cousins (siblings) were equally excited and started to grab at the stacks too. Cousin grabbed the basket and said "no-- I don't want to miss anything. I'll pass everything around as I open them", and the whole evening was spent with everyone in tears, looking at old pictures and sharing memories.

The next year, Cousin had enough copies of all of the pictures made to give a photobook to each of her siblings.

I remember my mom working so hard on that all year. It's been a long time, but we still talk about how wonderful it was to watch the whole family see this gift.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2013, 05:48:17 PM »
That is an incredibly touching story, mime.


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2013, 09:36:13 PM »
I've had a lot of great Christmases, but the one really bad one from when we were 6 sticks out in my mind. :P Our family calls it "The Christmas from Hell."

To start off, Cabbage, the night of the church Christmas pageant, came down with croup. Yes, she still had to do her lines.  :-\ Mom took her to the hospital afterward, and she got medicine.

Then, we traveled down to Louisiana to spend Christmas with Mom's parents and grandma. Mom's dad was a pastor, and we all went to church on Christmas Eve. After the service, Gramps is talking with some members about a new security system, and how he doesn't see a need to update the security system. Just as he says that, Dad comes back in to let the family know that our car has been stolen.

Cabbage and I freaked out and started crying, but fortunately for our family, two things happened. One, the only car Gran and Gramps had was a van, so we could all go back home together. Two, the police chief attended Gramps' church, so we got our car into police custody later that night. The retrieval of the car may or may not have been aided by criminals who were almost stupid to live - they stole our car to drive to another place to steal another car to drive to another place to steal another car.  :o  ::)  :P

Then, Mom, Gran, and Great - Grandma all got pneumonia days after Christmas, and Dad came down with a cold, as well as Cabbage still recovering from croup. Since Great - Grandma was older and frail, she went to the hospital for treatment...and they gave her the antibiotics she was allergic to. Her throat almost swelled shut, plus she still had pneumonia.

Yeah, that was a *lovely* Christmas. NOT.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2013, 04:42:29 AM »
My grandparents had relations in England, and went to visit often (from Australia, in the 70s and 80s when that was an even more major journey than it is now).

By the time they were no longer able to travel, my parents and I had planned a separate, but at the same time trip to England (long story) and made a point to visit the relations on my grandparents' behalf. My grandfather had be telling us about a table that English relations (ER) had that was about 2 feet high and had arms that folded out in various places in order to hold plates, and the hostess would put a little plate of cake or sandwiches on each arm at afternoon tea time. He was most impressed with the wworking of this table and described it at length.

When we arrived at ER's house, there was the table with  the plates on it as described and during the course of the visit, ER (who was quite elderly herself) insisted that we take the table back to Australia for my grandfather, because he had always loved it so much.

So my poor parents had to lug this folded table around for the rest of their two week trip, and get it home as extra luggage. It was worth it, though, when we presented it to my grandfather at Christmas. He was so stunned, and impressed to have received this table, and knew what it had meant to its owner, and the relationship that they'd had, that he welled up with tears, and was just speechless as he sat with this table. It was such a lovely moment.

My cousin, who knew none of the back story, kind-of broke the moment with her comment, "I'm amazed!(pause for effect)... and confused."

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Re: Share Your Christmas Stories
« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2013, 08:07:29 AM »
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.   :D  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.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.