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Laugh your way through Christmas disasters

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 25, 2013 06:00 am

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Christmas, in my world, is a time for family and creating memories.

However, sometimes those memories aren’t always of sipping eggnog in perfect harmony, surrounded by love and gazing idyllically at the fire.

Sometimes those memories are of the various snags our holiday has hit, which we’ve overcome to have a great Christmas anyways.

My family’s holiday season has never quite hit the epic disaster levels of say, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, at least not in one go. But we’ve had some misadventures over the years that stand out.

Picture, if you will, a slightly-younger version of myself bringing a man I’m particularly serious about home to meet my family for the first time, circa 2010.

As an unusual seasonal gift to my family, a young man who was residing with my family at the time managed to infect my little brother with a norovirus.

Never one to keep things to himself, my sibling shared his germs and infected my father. My mom then had an injury act up badly.

This was my now-fiancé’s introduction to my family. They were too sick and injured to even drop us off or hug me goodbye. I drove myself to the airport.

Another precious Christmas memory – when I was about 10 or 11, my little brother, frolicking about the house at warp speed, put his knee through the fish tank. At about 5:30 p.m. On Christmas Eve.

As we worked to desperately to ensure the fish didn’t die, my heroic father ventured out, found a pet store that was open that late despite the day, and brought back a new aquarium, thus saving the day (and the fish).

Or, there was the year several members of the Maple Ridge volunteer fire department ended up at our house. I was 17. It’d been a rough and rushed couple of days – it was our first Christmas where we were also running a family business at the same time. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and my mother’s car had broken down, stopping her from getting last minute shopping done.

So instead, she was stuck at home with my brother and I, which turned out to be a good thing as our dishwasher went up in smoke despite not being in use at the time. In fact, we in the midst of an assembly-line hand-dishwashing session because the machine had been doing a terrible job of late, when the smoke started billowing.

Want another? Years before, our German shepherd puppy attempted to make off with the Christmas lights off the tree during his first Christmas at our home. My parents, with years of tree-climbing cats behind them, always anchor the tree with wire, but the dog’s grab and dash resulted in many precious ornaments being broken. I still have the unicorn ornament I was allowed to buy that year in our emergency ornament-replacement shop-a-thon.

So remember, while your holiday might hit a few unexpected bumps, don’t let them bring down your Christmas.

Because if your family can laugh through it the way mine can, that’s the best gift of all.

Victoria Paterson is a reporter for the St. Albert Gazette who doesn’t get to see her family nearly often enough.


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