Most of us have treasured holiday memories of traditions we share with family and friends, some happy, others bittersweet. Some of my favorite holiday memories are the joy and anticipation, and the magic the season brings. Of course, I can’t pass up a silly Christmas story either.
If I had to guess my sister Shauna’s favorite Christmas memory as an adult, I’m pretty sure it would be the year that my daughters knocked over my mom’s Christmas tree.
My girls, Violet and Eleanor, were three and one that year. They were drawn to the sparkly lights and ornaments, especially Violet. With eight small children in the house, it was busy. All of the kids were in their pajamas and ready for bed or at least ready to lay in their beds and wait with anticipation for Christmas morning.
The girls were excited, too. But they were excited about something else. They were admiring the ornaments a little too hard when the tree crashed in the middle of the living room, scattering ornament shards all around.
Violet has an affinity for all things sparkly, and while the broken ornaments were being cleaned up, I had to quickly grab hold of her nightgown because she was walking forward like a little zombie arms outstretched chanting, “sparkly, sparkly.”
They were so surprised and innocent looking, and Aunt Shauna thought their orneriness was the best. She started laughing and couldn’t stop. She demanded that we hoist the tree up and take a reproduction photo of the girls pushing on the tree so that she could keep the memory.
One Christmas when my older sisters, Megan and Shauna, were little they attempted to make skies out of 2 by 4s that they tied to their feet. They knew they needed a slick surface on their “skies”, so they rubbed them down with a bar of Irish Spring soap. They even attempted to attach plastic bags to the bottom of the skies.
Shauna graciously allowed Megan to take the skies out on their maiden voyage down our sledding hill. The anticipation of whooshing at top speed down the hill was great. However, all that went at top speed was Megan’s face right into the snow.
It was a beautiful plan, and I have to hand it to our parents for allowing my sisters room to explore their creative ideas. But I don’t believe there was ever another attempt at homemade skies.
My cousin Maria has an Elf on the Shelf for her children. Recently her son, Charlie, 7, was upset with her for not letting him do something. She came around the corner and overheard Charlie telling the elf to put her on the naughty list.
When Maria was a small child, she would travel to our grandmother’s house to celebrate Christmas. She was so excited that year that she woke up before anyone else and snuck out to find a giant present. Maria managed to get it out of the living room and down the hallway near grandma’s bedroom. Grandma heard Maria and started to sit up. She slept with a washcloth over her eyes, and in the feeble light of early morning, it looked like a scary mask. Maria quickly ditched the present and ran to hide. Between their bouts of laughter, her mom and grandma tried to get Maria to come out of her hiding place. It took them a lot of convincing.
Erin Raatz, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, found that her son, Levi, 4, had left a treasure in her bedroom.
“Levi, why is there a 5-foot long stick in my bedroom,” she asked.
“I thought you’d like a walking stick for Christmas,” he said.
Erin and her children drove past a plastic nativity set in someone’s front yard.
“Look at all those people camping,” Levi said excitedly.
This year Levi decorated the Christmas tree with his socks. He explained to his mother that he didn’t want the tree’s arms to get cold.
Cristina Bassitt, of Bremerton, was driving with her son, Philip, 3, and saw a blow-up Grinch in a yard they passed.
“Look,” she said. “It’s the Grinch! He’s waiting to steal your presents.”
“No, he’s not,” Philip said. “The Grinch is in our TV, not in our real life.”
Several Christmases ago Jocelyn Horton, of Poulsbo, overheard her daughter, Phoebe, who was four at the time, talking to her big brother Jonah.
“Sorry Jonah, I’ve got to leave,” Phoebe said. “I’m gonna be away in a manger today.”
I would love to hear your funny kid stories, so please send them my way. Parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and people who love children, please send your stories and cute kid photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Quinn Ward is a former journalist living in Poulsbo. She has been recording the amazing and outrageous things her kids say since they have been able to talk.