For our Holiday Party, I am collecting your best/worst/funniest holiday memory.
The Social Committee will be using this information for a fun activity we have planned for the party.
Please try to keep it concise (a line or two at most) and email it to me privately.
If you could send it to me by EOD Friday, that would be great!
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OK, I'm assuming by "worst holiday memory," they are looking for worst/we-can-laugh-about-it-now stories about the time Santa left a lump of coal in your stocking, or you had one too many glasses of eggnog & woke up with a hangover -- that sort of thing.
Because, honestly -- do they REALLY want to hear people's WORST holiday memories?
I mean, let's face it, I love Christmas -- but most people's Christmases, even the best ones, rarely if ever measure up to the Norman Rockwell ideal. And I'm pretty damned sure nobody wants to hear about MY worst Christmas.
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to be expecting a baby in November -- to have your mother exclaim, when she learns the due date, "A baby for Christmas!!" -- to dream about bringing that baby home for the holidays to her adoring grandparents & great-grandparents -- only to have that dream totally, utterly shattered when the baby is stillborn in August?
Do they REALLY want to know why you can't bear to hear or sing "Away in a Manger" anymore? (especially when, one year, the choir changed the lyrics to include the line, "A baby for Christmas...")
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to start crying every year while you're watching the Santa Claus Parade, because it brings back memories of your pregnancy & your secret wish that you'd be able to watch the parade from the windows of the hospital (on the parade route) with your newborn daughter in your arms?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to go to the mall and be confronted with oodles of toys, impossibly precious holiday clothes at Baby Gap & Gymboree, and a massive lineup of adorably dressed babies & toddlers waiting to see Santa Claus, when you'd give anything to be doing the same thing with your daughter?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to lose your grandfather just a few weeks after losing your baby -- the grandfather you adored, secretly thought was Santa Claus, and spent every single Christmas of your life with?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to go to your Christmas party -- the one place where you think you're safe & looking forward to kicking back with your co-workers -- only to have the colleague who was pregnant at the same time as you were & due just a few weeks before arrive? WITH her baby girl in tow?? And then be told that not just one, not just two, but THREE other coworkers just announced their pregnancies? (See my post about the Worst. Christmas Party. Ever.) And then leave the party early & spend the next two hours sitting numbly in the train station, waiting for your husband (who is at his party -- this being pre-cellphone days), & reading the same page of your People magazine over & over again, because you keep replaying the night's events over & over again in your head and just can't focus?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to decorate the Christmas tree in silence & without smiles or laughter, that first Christmas?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like, searching for the perfect ornament for the tree to memorialize your stillborn daughter?
Do they REALLY want to know why your entire Christmas tree is now covered in teddy bear angels & Classic Pooh Christmas ornaments that you've accumulated over the past 13 years (hint: the baby's nursery was to have had a Classic Pooh theme)?
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to read the cards that your mother received from her friends (who obviously haven't heard the news), saying things like, "Congratulations! You're going to love being a grandma!" and "Being a grandmother is the best!" and "How's that grandbaby?"
Do they REALLY want to know what it's like to hear everyone around you mouthing platitudes like, "Christmas is for kids"?
Do they REALLY want to know about how awful it felt to watch your father's face crumble as he started to take the traditional "family around the dinner table" photo, set down the camera & retreated downstairs so that we couldn't see him cry?
I didn't think so.
(For the record, I sent the story about my parents giving me the stereo I had been bugging them about for years -- complete with turntable & cassette deck. It was 1981 (30 years ago, eeek), I was in third-year university and I honestly didn't expect they would ever buy me such an expensive gift (which seems so Little House on the Prairie-ish these days, when I hear about parents buying their kids iPods and iPhones and game systems and television sets and Ugg boots, & taking them to Disney World) -- you can see in the pictures that I'd been crying from shock! They hid it under a roll of carpet in the shower stall of an unfinished basement bathroom in their new house, and sent me on a treasure hunt to find it. I still have it, in my basement, along with all my vinyl albums.)