Most of my memories of Christmas past are the usual kind, I suppose. Warm and fuzzy. Full of images of family and gifts and fun and food. I can even bring to mind a few outstanding Spiritual Christmas moments that meant a lot to me. But some Christmases are memorable because they're more infamous than famous. So in the spirit of all that is fun about the holidays, here's the dubious list of my top 5 infamous Christmases:
5. 1986- We spent this Christmas in Indiana with the Eppert side of the family. I remember many things about that holiday including the huge tree at Grandpa Doc's and getting in trouble for opening a present before I was supposed to. But mostly I remember Christmas Eve of that year. Some of you might remember that my mom's birthday is Christmas Eve, so we had her party that year over at Grandma Charlotte's house. I remember two things distinctly a) mom was very pregnant with Skye and b) her cake. Mom turned 30 that Christmas Eve and her sisters had ordered a cake with gray icing and a tombstone that read "RIP Here lies Cindy youth." At 9 Years old I thought it was the most appropriate birthday cake I'd ever seen. Afterall 30 was OLD! Now well into my 30's I cringe to think of that moment because I don't consider my own youth gone at all. Perhaps the tombstone cake was a little premature. (All bets are off though when Travis turns 40 next year.)
4. 1997 - Our first Christmas in Idaho. The family had moved here nearly a year earlier, but for that first Christmas, Santa brought Cody a new sled. Naturally we were, at that time, thrilled by having a white Christmas (also something I cringe about. Having spent waaaaaay too many white, icy, cold, windy Christmases here, I can truthfully say that I agree with Kenny Chesney, all I really want for Christmas anymore is a real good tan! But I digress.) We took the new sled up the butte to a neighbors house, and took turns sliding down the long hill. It was icy, slick, fast and most definitely a rush. That is until mom went down head first and took out another neighbor's garbage cans with her head. The best part is that we have the whole thing on tape thanks to a somewhat dated video camera and Shiloh's mad filming skills from the back of the sled. It's pretty funny stuff!
3. 1998 - Mom had always had this dream of having everyone dress for Christmas dinner. For some reason she had visions of us carving a turkey in suits, ties and fancy gowns. I'm sure it had something to do with something she'd read in a book or seen on television. Either way I was all for it. Any reason to wear high heels and red lipstick is okay with me. Somehow though "dressing for dinner" turned into "dressing up" for dinner. We ended up with me in a sparkly green dress and everyone else...well...let's just say it's the only Christmas dinner you could ever have mistaken for Halloween. We had Uncle Sam at the table and Annie Oakley. I'm pretty sure someone was wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt. And Cody was dressed as a Mariachi Singer in the outfit he'd brought back from Mexico a few weeks earlier. It was all fun and games until Dillon (a boy Cami was dating) showed up. It was only awkward for a few seconds and then the laughter broke out. (I'm pretty sure Cami was more embarrassed at the time than she'll admit now though.) For some reason this tradition stuck around for years despite my adamant refusal to participate and desperate attempts to stamp it out. One year we even had Dolly Parton at the dinner table. (Refresh my memory, did Jesse do Dolly before or after she got together with Kelly?) Anyway, although it provided us with a lot of laughter I for one, am glad we haven't done "dressing for dinner" the last few years. The last thing I need is more stress in my life trying to come up with a costume for Christmas dinner. I already have a hard enough time managing Halloween.
2. 2000 - Sometimes I think I just set myself up for disappointment. After returning home from my mission in late October I had these great expectations about how wonderful it would be to have a Christmas holiday with my family again. I had built up in my mind the great dinner we'd cook and eat together. And all the little things that had become Christmas tradition (including the costumes, although I was dreading that part.) And then mom got to pneumonia. On her birthday they took her to the urgent care clinic. It was only because it was a holiday that they didn't hospitalize her. Instead they gave her lots of drugs and sent her home. She was so sick that she sent Cami and Jacob (who weren't yet officially engaged) to the grocery store to buy everything necessary for Christmas dinner. (Sidebar, two days before Jacob had cut his hand on a tile saw while working on the new house and had to have stitches. Then he bought the engagement ring on his way home from the hospital. I always thought that was a funny story, but no one else seems to find it as amusing as I do.) Anyway Cami and Jacob came home with the list of necessities (milk, eggs, bread, etc) and a Christmas ham. But nothing else. Our Christmas dinner consisted of that lovely ham, canned green beans and peaches and sliced bread with butter, because that's what we had in the house. Santa Claus also struggled that year when he realized at around midnight while he was trying to stuff stockings that because his elf had become ill, she hadn't gotten around to purchasing candy or stocking stuffers. With the help of several of his daughters, he emptied his dresser drawers and stuffed stockings with ammo and a variety of items he'd kept for years. Including 30 year old key chains, shells from beach trips he couldn't remember and even one of his own wisdom teeth. (I returned that to him.)
1. 1988 - Two words: Pink Eye. We were living in a hosue that my dad actually built but we always referred to as the Burgess's house. (The family who lived there after he built it, before we moved into it.) Shiloh got a horse named Honey that year. We made most of our gifts for each other, including sweatshirts decorated with puff paints (Don't judge, it was the 80's.) But mostly I remember four of us lying on the floor under one blanket, watching Christmas specials on TV. And everyone one of us had a patch on one eye or the other. It was pretty miserable. If memory serves (And given the two decades that have passed since I could be foggy on the details) I don't even think we had our Christmas dinner on Christmas. We were used to celebrating with Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Bill but since we were all infected, I don't even remember seeing them that Christmas. I do remember having Christmas dinner a day or two later, but by that time it seemed a little anticlimatic because I'm pretty sure a bout of the flu was circulating through the family. But again, that could be my brain just mushing two different experiences together.
These are by far not the only funny or cringe-worthy Christmas memories I have, but these are the top five that stick in my brain. As we approach Christmas I grow more and more grateful for all of my wonderful blessings, most especially my crazy family who I love so much! This trip down memory lane was mostly intended for them, but I hope the rest of you got some enjoyment out of it as well.
So as a mother I've come to HATE stickers. I hate trying to scrape them off of floors and furniture. Gideon knows he can put them on himself or in a coloring book, or on certain papers, but that's it. When he found a sheet of Christmas stickers the other day, he started passing them out to everyone on in the room, including Michael and Ashlynn who were over for a quick visit. But eventually he decided that Michael would benefit from having ALL of the stickers. And he found increasingly more unique places to put them, including his eyes and mouth.