From Carolyn Hax, advice columnist for the Washington Post, who posts holiday horror stories every year. Here are a few that made me literally “LOL”.

Still Not Gay
: The chat reminded me. One Christmas I really wanted to build my record collection and so all I asked for was three Beatles albums. The White Album, the blue compilation album and the red compilation album. On Christmas Day I imagined singing along all day with John and Paul and when I opened it up it was … an electric crepe maker! What every 15-year-old boy wants! When I asked about the Beatles she said that the guy at the record store told her there was no Red, White and Blue album and who doesn’t like crepes!?! And as a quick reminder, this is the same mother who told all of her friends I was gay because she wanted to look hip and accepting of my lifestyle even though I could not possibly be straighter. Hmmm, I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Maybe she thought flambe stood for something else.

Merry Christmas and may all your days be gay.

Who is it for?: When we were young kids, my sister, 5 at the time, opened a gift from my aunt and uncle, while they watched.

It was a robot. My sister lost her mind. “I hate it” she screamed as she bashed the present into the wood floor over and over again. My mom was horrified. I was secretly laughing as the robot bits went flying all over the place.

When she finished up, my uncle calmly looked at her and said, “That was for your brother.”
At which point I completely lost my mind.

Now, at every Christmas, everyone asks (after the gift is opened), “Is this gift for me?”

Re: Stockings: When my husband and I got engaged and had our first joint Christmas morning at my parents’ house, my mom pulled me aside to ask if I thought my husband would prefer my brother’s ex-wife’s former stocking or our childhood dog’s old stocking.

A box of Christmas miracles: : Last year on Christmas, with all four of us grown kids and our spouses and children gathered around the tree, my mother gleefully presented Dad with his gift: a shoebox-sized box of generically packaged Viagra knockoffs.

Atlanta, GA: : Re: stockings: Oh yes, I think this happens a lot (usually to the youngest child). My two siblings are 10 and 7 years older than I am. Before I was born, my parents enlisted a very talented seamstress to sew beautiful, personalized stockings for their family of four and a smaller stocking for the dog (maybe it was “the” thing to do in the 70’s?). By the time I came along, they decided to re-purpose the dog stocking and tape my name on it. So for the last 29 years, I’ve been using a re-purposed dog stocking, and my name usually has to be re-taped on each year. Do I have a complex? You bet. 29 years in the making.

Indianapolis: My now 23-year-old daughter, when she was just 2, was unwrapping a Christmas gift of some sort of clothes … sweater and matching pants, I think. So, my daughter got the box open, saw the sweater, and cried out “A SHIRT!!” Except, she was only 2, and didn’t speak very clearly, so it really sounded more like she had yelled “AW, SH!!T!!!”
The great thing is we got it all on video, and spent the next day playing it over and over for relatives and laughing until we cried. The sad thing is that Grandpa wasn’t very good with camcorders so he accidentally taped over it the next day.

re: Should I bring him or not?: -Last week’s thread about the agnostic Jewish boyfriend] also leads to a favorite family holiday line.

I was once dating a similar guy, and my very Catholic family was intrigued. He was a carpenter to boot (Jewish carpenter, ha, ha) I brought him home for Christmas, and he declined to go to church, he would feel “uncomfortable.” I should have told him to pretend he was an anthropologist. Instead he decided to make a special breakfast for the family while we were at Mass.

Now, I had met him and was living in Alaska, so of course he was a big hunter. He brought special deer sausage in a cooler on the plane to make for my family. Evidently he got pretty hot while cooking, so stripped down to his tank top undershirt.

So, we all troop in from church, and there’s my hairy Jewish Alaskan boyfriend in his undershirt. My mom went upstairs to change and said to my sister “WHY is there a Jewish carpenter in his undershirt making REINDEER sausage in my kitchen on CHRISTMAS?”

For various reasons, the relationship didn’t last.

Chocolate moose
: Here’s my favorite family Christmas story: Ever since my parents retired to Maine 13 years ago, Mom has had a tradition of giving her grandchildren some kind of “chocolate moose” candy. Well, about 10 years ago, when my sons were teens, the ubiquitous package was labeled “moose droppings.” My older son took one bite of a colorful piece of candy, then promptly made a face and spit it out, exclaiming, “GRANDMA, WHAT IS THIS?!!!!” Turns out she had bought moose-dropping fire starters, which were real moose droppings with a colorful wax coating.

Worst gift competition: Every year I look forward to the holidays because my siblings compete for who receives the worst Christmas gift (not from each other, but from others). Last year I won because my MIL got me a basket of lotions and scented soaps even though she knows I’m allergic to these products (“I hope you can still enjoy these even though you’re allergic.”). The year before, my sister won because she got a holiday plate with the Last Supper on it from her Step-MIL, who happens to be Jewish. Bring on December 25th!

Greensboro, NC: For Christmas in 1995, my sister’s little boy, “Andy,” who was 2, was going through that “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?” and “Why? But why? But why?” phase. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the world and their environment, yeah, but it can also be annoying as h311 when it goes on for a few hours.

For Christmas, my sister had gotten a large tray of dried fruit as a gift, and as she bustled around the kitchen, cooking (I was doing something tedious, like latticing a pie or something), Andy took an interest in the dried fruit and started asking what everything was. My sister was responding to him, but was really focused on the giant dinner, and was clearly getting a bit annoyed the longer the interrogation went on. “Those are pineapples … those are dates … those are raisins … those are papaya … those are apricots … those are prunes …” He got to the very middle, where there was a whole dried fig, and he said, “What’s that?” My sister, who was getting more annoyed and has always had a really twisted sense of humor, glanced at it and said, offhandedly, “It’s a human ear.”

Well, Andy let out a bloodcurdling scream and started crying hysterically. My sister and I tried to calm him down, and we kept telling him she was just kidding (she really thought this kid, who was obsessed with shooting you and toy guns and wrestling and the like, would think it was funny), that it was a fig, etc. We had to hide the tray of dried fruit because he now thought the dates were fingers, and so on.
Until he was about 8, he wouldn’t touch Fig Newtons because he thought they were made of people.

Happy Holidays. 😉

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