Your Best Holiday Story

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This year is messed up, and so too are its holiday celebrations. So instead of focusing on the now, let’s distract ourselves with the good. This Christmas, I’m asking Jezebel’s loyal readers and commenters to regale us with stories of their sweet Decembers past. What’s your best holiday story? What happened to make the event so wholesome and wonderful? Let’s relive the joy to make this year seem a little less harrowing, and let’s laugh at our memories—many of you have begged for a positive Pissing Contest theme to round out the year, and I’m obliging out of total apathy. You’re welcome.

Drop those stories in the comments below, and then check out last week’s winners: These are the shittiest gifts you’ve ever given.

bethwcnc, omg?:

A high school friend had a cat he was very fond of. This cat was his baby. First day back after Christmas break, I surprised him with a “fancy” (for a 14 year old) collar studded with fake gems and new name tag, and a fleecy cat pillow.

Of course, the poor cat had died over Christmas.

And somehow, to make it even worse, I’d spelled his last name wrong on the collar tag.

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BeaBun, yikes!:

The worst gift I ever gave was unintentionally done, but kind of hilarious.

I had been gifted a rather nice bottle of wine by a client. By this point in my life though, I had already had a scary slide into alcoholism, and had managed to claw myself back out of the hole. I no longer drink alcohol at all. It seemed a shame for the wine to go to waste though, sitting in my pantry. It wasn’t the nice wine’s fault that I would never drink it.

So, when I was invited to a rather fancy house party on the Eastern Shore as a plus one, I put a ribbon on it and brought it along as a hostess gift. I figured even if she herself did not drink, she could serve it at the party, and the wine would get to fulfill its destined purpose in life.

The hostess was the kind of woman whose casual “housewarming party” clothes were clearly both designer and tailored, not an eyelash out of place, so I was very startled when she took a look at the bottle and actually scowled at it. Confused, and really worried I had offended this woman somehow, a major problem as she was an important connection for the friend I was plus one-ing for, I asked her if something was wrong, but just like that, her expression snapped back to “warm and welcoming”, and she assured me that it was nothing, then thanked me for the bottle. The bottle was handed off to a friend of hers, who...also made a strange face when she saw the bottle, but hers was more “clearly fighting back laughter”.

The Rich People became more drunk, and because I’ve been a bartender (yes, yes, the Sober Bartender, I’m aware), my friend jokingly offered me up to make some more interesting things for them. I was happy to do it (I genuinely do like making drinks, and again, this woman was Important). At some point, I go to the kitchen to cut more lemons when the hostess’ friend wanders in. We chat, I make her a drink with what I have on hand in the kitchen. She then leans over, and says, “Where did you even get that wine?” Oh dear. I figure the truth is better than a lie, so tell her it was a gift from a client, but deflect with a “wine is too heavy for me”. (No one wants to hear your Sobriety Story at a Fancy Drinking Party)

She just starts laughing. Like, full-on, almost-spit her-drink-out laughing. And then she explains. The hostess had just gone through a terrible, knock-down, drag-out divorce with her now ex-husband. And that lovely bottle of wine I’d brought to her fancy new Front Door of Freedom?

It was her wedding wine.

Marvinogravelbaloonface, give her what she wants!:

What do you get the woman who has everything? My grandmother used to smoke a lot, so for Christmas one year I got her a carton of Kent 100s. My parents were not pleased.

Snide-O-Mite, lol:

I’m not proud, but this is anonymous so...

My parents favored my brother, and my objections fell on deaf ears.

It took a couple of hours, but I found the big box the new TV had come in. Back then, they were way bigger! Then I filled up the box with crumpled up pieces of newspaper along with my “gift.” I wanted it to rattle and have weight. Then I wrapped that fucker all my myself. I needed two rolls of wrapping paper. I scrawled To: Brother, From: Snide-O-Mite in crayon on the front because I was too lazy to find a gift tag.

My parents thought it was SO adorable!

Christmas morning arrives. Brother opens the box to find...rocks from outside and his favorite Smiths cassette unwound.

Everyone was horrified. My mom was screaming. She demanded to know why I did it. I told her it was because I was tired of hearing about how we didn’t have enough money for my lunch ticket and I didn’t go to Nicki Smith’s birthday party because my parents refused to buy a new gift and insisted I give her something of mine that was used, but Brother asked for the new Smiths album and he got it the day it came out.

Joke ended up on me. I had to see a counselor and explain that, no, my brother didn’t sexually abuse me.

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EvaLostHerKey...AND her way, I really respect you:

Mine was malevolent. And I do not repent.

Several Christmases ago we moved away from the norm of celebrating at my parents’ home in the country and my sister hosted Christmas at her house. As per usual, my husband and I bought gifts for all attendees and $50 gift cards for those hard to please teens.

During the gift exchange I couldn’t help but notice that our kids gifts were... random? A t-shirt with a bank logo, man-sized bedroom slippers, and a rubber pig-toy that squealed when squeezed. Our kids are well-mannered, so they said thank you and put them back in their brightly colored packaging and my heart broke as I watched everyone else open gifts that actually looked like gifts and not possibly re-gifted gag gifts. My sister then pointedly asked my kids if they liked their gifts. She said she bought the toy-pig because it reminded her of my son, who was a tad chubby then.

I then said I had made a mistake... and mislabeled a gift. I pulled out the gift bag containing her gift— a lovely cashmere scarf, book, and earrings, and put them back in my car. I retrieved a white elephant gift I’d ended up with from my office party and hadn’t taken out of the car yet. It was two wine-glasses that said “Bad Ass Bitch” and a cheap bottle of wine. I upended the gift bag her real gift came in and put the wine glasses and wine bottle in there and brought it back in the house and put it among all her other gifts.

She was not amused, but fuck her. I kept her gift for myself.

Spread cheer in the comments below.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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goddessoftransitoryrisesagain
goddessoftransitoryrisesagain

I’ve told this one pretty recently on another thread, but I still love it.

We have an artificial tree that I treasure. Because back when Husband and I were first getting serious but living apart (I managed the apartment building we lived in; he was a floor below me) I was telling him about how I hadn’t really decorated for Christmas in the last couple years living on my own, since it was hard to get up a lot of enthusiasm when you’re on your own.

A night or so later, I came home to a full-size tree set up in my apartment, the kind with built in lights. He’d bought it at the drugstore three blocks away—the last one, floor model, they had to take it down and stuff it in its box—hauled it home on foot, and set it up to be waiting for me when I got home. It was a delight and a wonder, and we decorated it with a box of hand sewn ornaments his mom had sent.

We still have that tree. The lights quit working a few years back so we use regular tree lights, but we’ll never give it up. I think I knew he was the one, watching those lights twinkle, saying Merry Christmas. Marry him.

(Husband also wants me to mention how he handmade the star we use for the top with metallic markers and poster board. KEEPER.)