What are your family’s funny holiday stories?
You know you have them.
Yes, you do.
It might be the time that your Uncle Herbie drank too much and fell head first into the Christmas tree.
Or the year that you forgot to eat the cookies and drink the milk that the kids had left out for Santa, so you made up a story that he was on a diet and left a special note about it that only adults could read.
Or maybe your cousin took the turkey out of the oven, only to realize that she had left the giblets in and the turkey was still half frozen—leaving the family to head out for Chinese food.
People in the comedy world have those kinds of stories too. Enjoy!
The Year Santa was Late
“Most years when I was a child, my Mom worked a seasonal job gift wrapping at local department stores. The late hours wore on her, and one year, she overslept and forgot to put out my Christmas gifts.
She came downstairs to find her 8-year-old child crying his brains out. Thinking fast, my mother told me to go back to sleep because ‘Santa might not have finished making his rounds.’ Two hours later, I came back downstairs to a living room full of gifts and a note on top that read, ‘Sorry Kid, Traffic. Love, Santa’.”
–Roy Wood, Jr.; actor/comedian and Daily Show correspondent
“I remember that one holiday in particular where, at the table, my cousin said to my sister, ‘Boy, that stuffing is good. Isn’t it?’
My sister asked, ‘What? You think I’m eating too much?’
My cousin said, ‘No, I’m just saying something. Don’t jump down my throat.’
To which, my uncle said, ‘Hey, maybe you should watch your attitude.’
Then, my cousin said, ‘I didn’t want to come here in the first place.’
My aunt then said, ‘Well, you’ve always had that attitude since you were two years old. You thought you were better than everybody.’
And, my cousin then said, pointing to my sister, ‘Well, she’s the one with the attitude.’
Yeah, I’ll never forget that holiday. It was…who am I kidding? Every one of the family holidays.”
–Gilbert Gottfried; actor, comedian, and voice artist
“I grew up in Queens, New York, in a middle-class Jewish family. We always celebrated Chanukah.
So, why did my mom take me to Lord & Taylor in Manhasset to visit Santa Claus?
When I sat on Santa’s lap, and he asked me, ‘What would you like for Christmas, little girl?’
I looked at him, frowning slightly, and said, ‘I’m Jewish.’
Poor Santa. He was just working a part-time holiday gig, trying to make some dough.
I did learn something from that event, though. If someone wishes you a ‘Happy whatever,’ and it’s not for the holiday you celebrate, just say, ‘Thank you.’ They’re wishing you happiness. Don’t be a jerk.”
–Cathy Ladman; stand-up comedienne, TV writer, and actress
Christmas in Boston, 1963
“John F. Kennedy had been shot a month earlier in Dallas, Texas and the world was like an ice-ball. It wasn’t just Boston or the Catholics that loved JFK. The entire world loved him.
Everyone was sad, and now it was Christmas.
I had my eye on a toy “Supercar” displayed in the window of Ligget’s drug store in Roslindale Square.
That would make me happy. I was only 11, and we were very poor. My Mom, my two brothers, and I lived on a shoestring budget.I kept hinting to Mom that this great toy was down at the store, and I really wanted it. She said, ‘Billy, there’s no money for that. I’m sure Santa won’t forget about you though.’
I was thinking, ‘Yeah, right. Like Santa knows what I want.’
I kept telling my Mom that if she didn’t get soon it would be grabbed by someone else. Every day that went by I checked the window, and one day, I was right.
Somebody had bought MY TOY.
I was devastated.
Christmas Eve arrived, and I wondered what this ‘genius’ Santa Claus had planned for me.
We all woke up on the big day, and I was just ‘meh’ about it. I opened a few things and I saw a present, ‘To Billy from Santa!’
It was the Supercar toy!
I was so thrilled! I yelled, ‘He didn’t forget me! You were right, Mom!’
I eventually figured out that she put the item on lay-a-way and paid a little at a time until she could pick it up. I asked her why she didn’t tell me.
She said, ‘I wanted you to know that nothing comes easy in this world, and the surprise of something unexpected was, in the long run, far greater than the gift was.’
The world didn’t feel like an ice-ball after a while, and The Beatles had arrived to make us dance and sing and made it okay to laugh again. The appreciation of surprises kind of changed my world view.”
–Billy West; voice artist known for voicing Futurama, Ren & Stimpy, the Red M&M, and much more.
Yeah, I know that last one was touching instead of funny. But isn’t that what the season’s all about anyway?
About Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski
Michele Wojciechowski is the award-winning author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box (which makes a great holiday gift, hint, hint), writer of the award-winning humor column, Wojo’s World®, and a not-yet award-winning stand-up comic. And, yes, she did end this piece as though she were Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Check out her website at www.wojosworld.com.
Celebrity photos courtesy Cyberlaff, Inc.
Feature photo courtesy Erin Walker of Unsplash
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