My Favorite Christmas Story

First, pictures!

Son had a much better time with Santa this year… even asking “Does Santa speak both Spanish AND English?” I think Christmas morning will be fun this year.

This year's visit with Santa was markedly better than last year's.

Having broken my cardinal rule of "NO ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES", I guess there's no turning back now.

With respect to the tree, I hate artificial trees. Hate them. Like, almost didn’t forgive my parents for making the switch about 10 years back. See, I grew up with the annual Christmas tree hunt being a family adventure, usually ending in a huge fight between my parents when it came time to put it up. But is was pure comedy gold to me and my sister.

One year’s trip I remember vividly: We spent the better part of 3 hours searching for the “perfect” tree, hiking through a half-foot of snow over the course of a couple of miles. We eventually settled on a tree that was far too big for the house, but Sis and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. We cut it down, and my Dad started the long, arduous process of dragging the sucker out through the snow. My Mom was in a foul mood by this point, as we’d been out in the bitter cold for a couple of hours. We finally got back to the car: a 1985 Volvo 240DL station wagon that my Mom had just purchased a few weeks before and was pathologically obsessed about keeping spotless. You know the one:

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Hers was silver, and we affectionately nicknamed it “The Refrigerator”, much to Mom’s chagrin.

The prospect of putting a Christmas tree on top of it, and the resultant sap deposits were clearly pushing Mom to the brink of a nervous breakdown. As she barked orders at my Dad and the tree lot attendant on how to properly place the tree on top without it touching her precious station wagon (via levitation or some other supernatural act, natch), one of the farm’s dogs was curiously sniffing my Mom’s car. My sister and I watched this dog with growing anticipation and excitement as we realized what it was doing. My Mom was oblivious at first, caring more about the Christmas tree and her car, but she soon took notice of the dog too.

What happened next was like one of those slow-motion dream segments… As the dog circled once or twice near the car, my Mom had the same epiphany my sister and I had shared a few moments earlier: “Oh sh*t! THE DOG IS GOING TO PEE ON THE CAR!!!” My Mom struggled to gain her footing on the icy ground in order to shoo the dog away at the same instant the dog began to lift its rear leg near the front tire. What followed was a comical, cartoon-like second or two much like after someone slips on a banana peel; my Mom’s feet were running in place on the ice and her arms were flailing wildly as she tried to advance on the dog with a murderous look in her eyes.

My sister and I began laughing as the dog, much better suited for stability on icy ground (it was a Husky mix, I remember), looked at my Mom and relieved itself on the front passenger tire, then quickly scampered away. My Mom’s mouth was frozen in a pained “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” as my sister and I doubled over in laughter, unable to contain ourselves. The dog pee dripped slowly down the tire, hubcap, and mud flap, forming pee icicles on her precious new car. My Dad, delightfully ignorant of the DEFCON-5 situation at hand, still struggled with the tree.

Finally, my Mom (realizing she had lost) slunk into the car and closed the door. All of a sudden, Christmas tree sap no longer mattered. Her new car had been defiled by a Christmas tree farm canine. You could see the resignation in her eyes, and the anger over her inability to prevent what had happened in her expression. We avoided her for the rest of the day, an especially difficult feat considering the 45-minute drive back home confined in the same car.

My sister and I were so delighted by the occurrence that we made my Mom’s Christmas present that year: a framed painting of the exact moment the dog urinated on her car. I don’t think my Mom spoke to us until the New Year.

She still hasn’t lived this down. My sister has told all her kids the story and they ask Nana about it every year, making her relive the horrors of that day each and every Christmas. I, too, will tell my son about that wonderful, glorious day and remind him to ask Nana about it every year, too.

What’s your favorite Christmas story?