Presents from your pet that you don’t want to get |

Presents from your pet that you don’t want to get

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice

“YES! I get to open one!” Husband-Head cried out excitedly as he grabbed a present from under the Christmas tree several days before Christmas. “I can’t wait any more. It’s time!”

I quickly grabbed the gift out of his hand and put it back under the tree.

“It’s not even Christmas Eve yet,” I scolded. “You’re going to have to wait.”

Husband-Head didn’t like that idea at all. The forbidden presents under the tree were like dangling a bone in front of a dog.

“You’re supposed to get a gift every day for the 12 days before Christmas,” he insisted. “Haven’t you heard the song? We’re late!”

Nothing doing.

“You can open one on Christmas Eve and we’ll open the rest on Christmas Day,” I instructed.

Husband-Head looked appalled.

“Who made you the Gift Nazi?” he demanded to know. “That’s not how we did it when I was growing up.”

I guess everyone has their own Christmas traditions.

Turns out that when Husband-Head was a kid growing up in Wisconsin, the family opened all their gifts on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day the children got the toys that Santa left.

I asked him what time he would wake his parents up in the morning, with a pretty good idea of the answer was going to be.

“Ummm, I think I woke my parents up around 4 a.m.,” he admitted.

“What kind of snacks did you leave Santa?” I asked curiously. “Because I can only imagine it must have killed you to go to bed while there was a plate of cookies and milk left out unattended.”

“Cheese curds and beer,” Husband-Head said proudly. “And they were always gone in the morning.”

My family had their own weird customs.

My sister and I also got up early – not at 4 a.m., mind you – but my mother had a tradition of making us all hold hands and sing “Jingle Bells” while we walked down the hall into the living room to see what Santa had left.

This was cute at age seven. It was hideously embarrassing at 17…

Now, as adults – and I use that term loosely – Husband-Head and I share our own Christmas traditions, which have evolved over the years.

At first we insisted on tramping through the snow and cutting down a fresh Colorado Christmas tree. But after the tradition of the tree falling over every year after we decorated it and spraying needles everywhere, we gave up and went artificial.

We’ve also changed how we celebrate Christmas with our pets.

One year I made little miniature gingerbread men and hung them all over the tree. I thought they were quaint and festive.

Our dog at the time also thought they looked neat and as we slept, proceeded to eat every gingerbread man he could reach – which was about halfway up the tree.

A little while later, our gingerbread-eating dog didn’t feel so well and decided that all the presents under the tree must pay.

When Husband-Head dashed into the room the next morning to rip open his presents, he saw the smelly accident that covered the brightly covered packages and came running back into the bedroom, looking absolutely green.

It kinda took all the fun out of unwrapping gifts that year…

Our dogs now, Weber and Wyatt, have also had some Christmas behavioral issues.

The first year we had them together, I purchased a HUGE beef rawhide bone and presented it to them with flourish, thinking they would absolutely love it.

Instead, it started this HUGE dog fight in which all of us almost got killed…

Another year, I had gone out to do some shopping and when I came home, I found that a box of See’s Candies that was under the tree, had been torn open and there was nothing left but little brown candy wrappers strewn all over the floor.

Of course, neither one of the canines would confess to it, but knowing that chocolate can be lethal to a dog, I frantically called my vet. She told me to give them hydrogen peroxide to make them throw up. And being that I didn’t know who did it, I had to give it to both.

Twenty minutes later, it was quite obvious who’d done it.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” I could hear Weber saying to Wyatt. “How come I have to do this? Dude, I told you not to eat those!”

Whatever the holiday traditions are in your family, may they be safe and happy.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her website at to see more columns or buy her book collection of columns, “Skully Says Shut It!”

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