We are so excited to share this guest post by our awesome friend Kristen Neurer. She is so much fun in real life and now on her new blog, Snapshot.
We can’t wait to read more from her!
I used to work with all women. There were several decades between us, some had kids and some didn’t, some were married and some weren’t (and still others wished they weren’t). Yet, we all shared a hope and a dream that each and every year, Christmas would be a Martha Stewart affair: a soft focus, twinkly lights, treasure-for-a-lifetime holiday.
Now taken in their entirety, I do have wonderful Christmas memories. They are funny, non-picture perfect, exhausted, sometimes teary, wonderful memories.
But any given year, life has a way of throwing a few hurdles in the way of holiday happiness. Anything can and usually does happen, so the gals and I came to view these sometimes ridiculously awful times as badges of honor. Every year, come the first week in January, we’d compare stories. If your Christmas was great, well, we’re all real happy for you, sit down.
Bad you say? Just how bad? (It’s like the episode from Go On where Matthew Perry eggs on his fellow therapy group members to share their worst experiences to win a sort of game show.) If you are deemed by the group to have had the worst holiday of all then you take home the holiday trophy, hand-crafted by yours truly from goodies in my basement. It’s a small consolation, but a source of survival pride for us.
So how bad are we talking? Well, there are only five of us, yet we’ve had emergency hospital trips, family fights (think hiding in your minivan in the driveway to cry for three hours), unexpected overnight guests (the day after Christmas, say what?), sick kids, gift giving disappointment (think hiding in your basement to hide your heaving sobs, though there’s no hiding the damage to your eyes), alcoholic excess, house guests three days after delivering a baby, Christmas trees falling down, and lots more.
There’s bad and bad/funny. My worst was the year my mom, dealing with cancer and chemo, was flown via helicopter to the hospital and nearly died. The phone call came just as my husband was bringing the turkey to the table — surreal. Not funny at all, but certainly bad enough to assure a win.
Another fav was the year my brother and his wife were sick with what they thought was food poisoning. I had to punt a holiday dinner for 10. He sent over his non-sick kids (who were, of course, actually sick) to mingle with the newborn twins and my 80-year-old father. I had sick kids in the bathtub, poop on the floor, and thought my mild-mannered husband was going to punch someone. I’ll take that for another win!
So we laugh because what else can you do; Christmas is not for wimps. You just pull up your big-girl yoga pants, take your trophy home, and hope to hell you don’t win it again next year.
P.S. from Jen
I have been, ahem, honored to win this trophy more than once. In fact, I once won it for “lifetime achievement” even though that particular year had been smooth sailing. I’m the one in my minivan for three hours; my brother at least brought me a glass of wine. It is absolutely true that it is better to laugh at myself than cry over my unrealistic and unmet expectations. Christmas is so not for wimps.