While you visit with family and friends this holiday season, chances are good some old memories will be revisited and retold – yet again.
The best stories? The disasters, of course.
In the spirit of the upcoming season, we asked our readers to share their favorite holiday mishaps.
Dede Aronack-Fike won’t ever forget when she had to prepare dinner for a house full of people.
“My brother was home on leave. We must have had close to 30 people in the house,” she said.
Safe to say, Dede was a little stressed preparing a meal for so many. She was making latkes, a Jewish Hanukah delicacy, and was reaching for the flour, which she rarely uses, perched on the top shelf of a cabinet.
“Someone asked me something, and so I turned. The lid obviously wasn’t on tight enough, and an entire bucket of flour rained down on top of me. I was covered from head to toe,” said Dede. “My entire family came in to see what had happened, and then they were all rolling in laughter.”
The stunned but intrepid hostess finally stopped laughing and crying, cleaned her face and continued baking in a white cloud while family members attempted to sweep up the flour. Now, the joke at family gatherings is always about whether or not Dede is cooking. And of course, every year, she gets a holiday greeting card wishing her a “white” Christmas.
After Ellen Krantz and her partner bought a ranch in Fayetteville, they invited the whole family out for Thanksgiving.
“We were frying turkeys. We got everything prepared for dinner, went out to cook them up and realized we had no propane. In a small town of 300, you can bet everything is closed,” said Ellen.
Stuck on turkey day with 40-plus pounds of raw bird, Ellen’s only option was a long-shot roll of the dice. They called the only couple they knew in the area at the time and hit the jackpot. They had to drive 10 miles to borrow the fuel, but a fabulous dinner was served only five hours late. The couple now keeps five full tanks of propane on the ranch.
Cheri Grogin still gets a hearty laugh from a holiday mishap two decades ago when she had nearly 40 people over for Thanksgiving dinner.
“We were cleaning up. The only things left on the table were the tablecloth and a beautiful centerpiece in a beloved vase that belonged to my mother. One of my son’s friends had his hand on the table. And all of a sudden the table quietly slipped down. The legs just gave way,” explained Cheri.
One can almost imagine the collective gasp as every eye in the room widened in spontaneous preparation for the impending, irreversible disaster.
“We watched as the flowers slid off the table onto the floor. It didn’t break the vase. It didn’t move the flowers. It didn’t get any water on the floor,” Cheri said.
The family eventually fixed the table, and it sits to this day in the home of Cheri’s daughter, Shelly Schultz.
Mom-of-two Joanna, who preferred not to have her last name used, remembers the time she brought a boyfriend home for Thanksgiving dinner. She never thought twice about the jellied cranberries her family traditionally eats until her diplomatically challenged guest commented on how they had made no attempt to disguise the fact that the cranberries came from a can.
The tactless boy was right. Jiggling on the table was a flawless cylinder of cranberries, retaining the can’s shape and indentations with perfection.
Far from banishing the jellied version from her subsequent Thanksgiving tables, Joanna preserved the tradition and delightedly serves un-camouflaged cranberries straight from the can with pride.
Lisa Kornhauser’s holiday lunch was nearly ruined when a truck hit a transformer pole, knocking out power to the block.
“Twenty minutes before everyone was to arrive at my house, we heard this loud boom. Everything went out. There was no a/c. The food got cold, and forget about the coffee,” she said.
Lisa learned that when misfortune strikes, recovery can truly depend on the quality of your company.
“Everyone was a trouper. We all laughed about it and ate,” said Lisa.
While it may take some time before you can laugh about your holiday disaster, there’s consolation in knowing that your guests probably already are.
It’s also safe to say that, despite any mishap, the people worth having will return to your home in a heartbeat.