One of my favorite Christmas memories involved an emergency room. Yes, you read correctly…an actual emergency room.
Before I begin my tale, here are some things you should note:
1) My mom is Ms. Claus reincarnate. Seriously, she would have Christmas rooms (plural) in the house if allowed. The trees go up on NOVEMBER 1. By November 3, it looks like Christmas threw up all over the house – inside and out. The Griswold’s have nothing on us!
2) My dad is a trooper. He always complies, bless him, with all of her holiday demands. All I see is a small roll of his eye as he unfurls the 500th strand of lights, trips over a random plush snowman or hears the dancing Christmas tree sing for the bajillionth time.
In this story, I was 7 years old. My sister was 5. Mom decided my sister and I needed some extra holiday sparkle to keep us happily believing in Santa. She concocted a plan.
My sis and I were in the living room playing when we heard some stomping on the roof…. and some bells! It was Christmas Eve, so that meant one thing: Santa was here!!!
I look at my sis and we exchange the “Oh crap! We were supposed to be in bed and now we will not get our presents” look. I fled straight to my room because, in my estimation, Santa didn’t leave presents for kids if they weren’t in bed.
My sister, bless her, is quite precocious and was rebellious even then. She came to my room, grabbed me off the bed and said let’s go see him! I explained my whole bed = presents philosophy, but she declared good = presents regardless. I couldn’t argue that.
We sneak to her bedroom window. We keep hearing the bells and stomping and a conversation similar to this ensued:
Sister: Why is he still stomping?
Me: Maybe because he knows we are awake and he can’t come in until we are sleeping.
Sister: glares at me
At this time, mom appears and says: Actually, Santa’s stomping because there is snow up there. He doesn’t want to track it in the house. (side note: if anyone comes to the house, be they repairman or Senator, Mom makes them take their shoes off. NO ONE wears shoes at mom’s house. EVER.) This made sense to my sister and I. Mom disappeared around the corner. Her plot to re-energize our Christmas seemed to be working!
Sister: Let’s look in the fireplace!
I nod in some covert spy “we got this” manner, and we stealthily creep to the fireplace. Then, the most repeated line in my family’s history occurred:
HO! HO! OHHHH!!!!!!!!! AWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We hear Santa crash hard!
Convinced that we’d killed Santa, we look at each other in terror.
It was the doorbell! My sister and I tumble over one another to get to the door, Mom right behind us. It was my neighbor. Behind him? My dad. Looking nothing near holly nor jolly.
Mom: WHAT HAPPENED?!
Neighbor: Um. I was on my porch and I saw your husband…. um…. trying to… catch Santa. Santa startled him, and he tumbled off the roof.
Mom: Sweet mother Mary….. are you ok?!
Dad: I hate Santa.
*Dad was fine, just banged up. We rushed to the ER and my sister proceeded to tell everyone that daddy almost caught Santa, but the he fell off the roof. Looking back, the responses ranged in expression from “bless” to “um-hm…I bet he was drunk.”
*Dad promised my crying sister that Santa would return with presents.
*Mom and Dad didn’t really speak that holiday.
*Santa never visited our roof again.