Christmas catastrophes |

Christmas catastrophes

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice

“Santa’s had another stroke again,” I informed Husband-Head as I looked out the window of the front door. “He doesn’t look so good. And that’s about the fourth one he’s had.”

Husband-Head joined me at the door and looked at our blow-up Santa lying face down on the front yard.

“Frosty keeled over the other day, too,” he told me, looking at our inflatable 10-foot-tall snowman. “It looked like a Christmas cemetery.”

While Husband-Head went out to resuscitate Santa, I went to go finish the last of my Christmas cards.

“I think we’re finally ready for Christmas,” I said when we were both done. “Everything’s been done. Now all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the holiday.”

A doubtful look crossed Husband-Head’s face.

“I wonder what this year’s Christmas catastrophe will be?” he mused out loud. “It’s kind of tradition that something goes horribly wrong or somebody cries.”

As I thought back, I realized that he was kinda right.

“Remember the first year we were married and I made homemade little gingerbread men and hung ’em all over the tree?” I recalled.

Now Husband-Head had a pained look on his face.

“And the dog ate all of the ones he could reach and then backed his hinder into the tree and had a bad bout of diarrhea all over the presents?” I continued.

The pets sometimes have a hard time with Christmas.

One year the cat climbed into the tree and broke a bunch of ornaments. Another year one of the dogs ate a whole box of chocolate, which is deadly to dogs, from a present under the tree. We had to give both of them hydrogen peroxide to make them throw up, and the dog who DIDN’T do it was not very happy. …


“Remember when we had some of my family over for a fancy Christmas Eve dinner and we were all standing around in the kitchen and you went to take the prime rib out of the oven and dropped it right on the floor?” Husband-Head said with a laugh. “And you couldn’t even fake it because everyone saw it going sliding across the room. …”

Not funny. I’ve done that before with the turkey at Thanksgiving, too.

“Is it just us or did you sometimes have bad things like that happen at your family’s house at the holidays?” I wondered out loud.

I recalled one Christmas Eve when I was a little Brownie scout, our troop had all made decorative little soup cans and went to the nursing home to give to the residents.

I went to give mine to an old lady who wasn’t very steady and instead of grasping the can, she stuck her hand IN the can and it got stuck. There she was, waving her hand around with the can on it, and I began to cry and went running out of the room.

“I once crashed a motorbike that my Dad had given me for a Christmas present when I was 10,” Husband-Head recalled. “My mother had warned him not to do it, and I immediately took it outside and wiped out and ruined it. I had it for about 10 minutes.”

Suddenly I remembered an incident when I was a little girl and my mom and my sister and I were in church on Christmas Eve, sitting in the second row. Right in the middle of standing there singing “Silent Night,” my sister’s hymnal went FLYING out of her hands and landed on the floor in the pew in front of us.

“We started laughing so hard, we could absolutely not stop,” I told Husband-Head. “And the worse part was that my MOTHER started laughing uncontrollably, too. All of our shoulders were shaking violently as we tried to stop and everyone behind could see us. It was so embarrassing.”

Speaking of my mother.

“Remember the time when she gave you a little miniature kitchen funnel for Christmas?” I recalled. “I think we nearly wet ourselves laughing.”

“Not to be outdone by the multi-colored toe socks,” Husband-Head agreed. “Or best ever, the ‘Cuddly Puppies’ calendar when we were dating. I’m pretty sure that for a long time your mom thought I was an 8-year-old girl. …”

Which reminded me I had to place the order for my mom’s perishable gift. This year I was giving her a big box of individually frozen chocolate croissants -which she adores – from Williams-Sonoma.

When I was done, I came downstairs, but I didn’t want to tell Husband-Head that the first of the Christmas catastrophes had begun.

After paying for the order, I realized I had screwed up on the billing and shipping address.

“Ummm … honey,” I asked tentatively. “Do you like chocolate croissants?”

“You know I’m not allowed to eat that kind of stuff,” he retorted. “Why?”

Because we’re getting a box of 30 of ’em. …

Merry Christmas everyone!

Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at to see more columns or to purchase her book collection.

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