Laughs from Christmases past

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‘Tis the season to not take yourself too seriously.

Combine family gatherings, overspending, and lots of tasks and it’s easy for Christmas to devolve from joyful to stressful. It helps if you can laugh along the way.

I recently asked people to share their funniest Christmas memories on social media. For this post, I’ve collected some of the best replies, edited for clarity. Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun!

End of innocence

Nick: When I was a kid, my mom always signed our gifts, “From Santa.” When I was four, all I wanted was a Batmobile for my Batman action figures. Christmas morning I raced down the steps to find the one box that was definitely the size of a Batmobile. As I excitedly dropped to my knees, I read the tag: “To Nick, from Satan.” That was the year I stopped believing in Santa. And got saved.

Lauren: When I was about five or so, I was watching a dress rehearsal of a Christmas play that my mom was in at our church. I found out in one scene that Santa, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy all weren’t real! She forgot about that part in the show (there weren’t many kids at our church). Needless to say I was traumatized, but we laugh about it now!

Isaac: When I was six, I really loved cheese. So I got a two-pound cheese wheel. I ate it in two days. I’m not such a huge fan of plain cheese anymore.

Laura: There was the Christmas when I was in 6th grade. The family was sitting around playing Trivial Pursuit and I got the question, “Which magazine has published the most photos of nude women?” The best my naive mind could come up with? National Geographic.

Hannah: When I was about four years old, my grandma made me a life-sized clown doll for Christmas. The clown was complete with wire hands, paper mâché body, and a painted face with rosy red cheeks. When I unwrapped the clown, I screamed in terror and hid it in the closet. I’ve never liked clowns since!

Tony: My brother-in-law, when he was little, received a present that was all torn to pieces on Christmas morning. He was told that the dinosaur had escaped. He spent a long time looking for it.

Darren: Mom bought me a lottery ticket. I spent some time explaining the lottery to my young children and why it’s not good to waste money, that we need to be good stewards, the standard “teachable moment” fare. It all went right out the window. I won $100.

Thank you? 

Jessica: My parents gave me batteries with a note saying, “Toys not included.”

David: One year I got three socks! Not three pairs of socks—three socks. My grandma bought a package of socks and split them between my brother-in-law and me. That same year she also gave me a blank VHS tape in case I wanted to record something.

Hope: My high school mascot was a scorpion and Mom didn’t know what one looked like. I received necklaces, earrings, bracelets, clothing, and even a quilt with lobsters on them. She didn’t know the difference.

Eliot: My not-so-humorous grandfather gave all his grandkids money for Christmas, with the exception of one grandson who got body spray. None of us dared ask why he did that.

Jennifer: My dad wanted a Kindle Fire, and I gave him a Ken doll and a lighter (fire).

Deborah: The year Furbies were all the rage, my parents could only snag one. There were four of us kids. My dad made us wrestle for it—no joke. I won. Then I was kept awake all hours of the night by that crazy thing!

No humor intended

Mae: My mom always had migraines when I was a kid. I found a pillow in a tourist shop when I was eight that said, “Not tonight, I have a headache.” I had no idea what it meant but it seemed appropriate so I purchased it and wrapped it. My parents laughed so hard and I didn’t know why ’til I was much older.

Mandy: Shortly after my husband and I got married, his grandmother bought me a shirt that said, “Jingle my bells!” She seriously didn’t know what it meant, and everyone died laughing!

Katie: I received a pair of Christmas lace panties from my grandma. The card said, “You can wear these for your future husband’s Christmas present!” All my family was there. I was mortified!

Dana: During my first Christmas married, I was trying to be the perfect daughter-in-law. I told my mother-in-law I would like some running pants. I opened the box and was so excited to see grey running pants. As I held them up, my husband died laughing. I turn them around to see the bright pink glittery bottom that said “Holla Back!” Was I supposed to pretend to like these or were they a prank gift? I went with my southern upbringing and said, “Thank you so much.” I waited for the reaction. Nope, she was serious. My husband was not so polite and was rolling laughing as I open the matching furry sweatshirt. What was an elementary teacher to do with those? We laugh about it now and still joke about “Holla Back!”

Douglas: My uncle John, a traditional and conservative Christian man, bought me a shirt from Hollister that he thought read, “Everything is better in California.” When I held it up for the family to see and take pictures, we discovered that it actually read “Every thong is better in California.” At the time, in my foolish ways, I thought it was the greatest shirt ever, but my mom was appalled and made me return it that weekend. Probably the only present I will never forget, it was that funny.

Christmas gone wrong

Tom: A squirrel fell down the chimney into our lit fireplace one year. It jumped out, tail ablaze, onto my grandpa’s lap and ran around the house until it was shooed outside. Everyone who hears this story is convinced our family is remembering National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as our own life.

Heidi: When my dad cut down and brought in our Christmas tree, we began to decorate it and a swarm of bees ran after us. My sister and I ran screaming to our rooms while my parents dragged the tree outside with the hornet nest still hanging on it.

Daniel: My dad got my sister and me a puppy for Christmas. A couple of hours later, he reversed out of the driveway. I guess that dog was just for Christmas.

Shannon: I got an iPhone for Christmas a few years back. I am technologically challenged so my husband set it all up for me including a contact list before Christmas. I proceeded to flirt with my husband via text while the rest of the family hung out in the living room. I kept eyeing my hubby for a facial response. Nothing. Then finally I saw a response . . . from my father-in-law. Should have checked that contact list a little more carefully.

Buff: My 80-year-old grandmother caught on fire when my mother decided she would throw all the giftwrap scraps in the fire. She failed to realize my Right Guard can was in that pile. Huge explosion.