With one week left until Christmas, I'm counting down to the holiday with a giveaway! Much like the characters in Half-Moon Hollow, Christmas has always been a bit of a disaster for me and mine. We burn food. We ruin surprises. We break valuables. We define our history by Incidents, such as "The Year of the Flaming Stuffing" or "The Year of the Disappearing Nintendo."
One of the emotionally traumatizing was, 'The Year They Shot Santa.'
I was 6 or 7 and my family was living in Mississippi. A lot of our neighbors were very – let’s say, rural. And considering that we were originally from Kentucky, that's saying something. Now, Shannon was a school friend whose family lived down the street. Her dad, Charlie thought tricking small children into trying chitterlings was hilarious, so needless to say, his sense of humor was a little weird… and mean.
Apparently, he thought it would be an awesome prank to tell us that Christmas had been cancelled. Why? Because Santa Claus had been shot in a post office robbery. That's right. Charlie convinced me that Santa had been gunned down while waiting for stamps. I was, of course, quite upset by the news and promptly burst into hysterical tears. Did Charlie put an end to the joke and assure me that everything was OK and Christmas was still on schedule? Nope. He sent me home.
So all evening I was quiet and glum, through dinner and bathtime and bedtime. All the while, my stomach churning and I wanted to cry. I went to bed, only to wake up at 2 a.m., screaming at the top of my lungs, "SANTA'S DEAD! HE'S DEAD! THEY SHOT HIM!" My parents thought I was having a nightmare until I tearfully confessed that Mr. Charlie had broken the bad news earlier that day. Santa was dead.
My parents left the room to call Charlie. To this day, I don't know what was said. I do know that I didn't see Shannon all that much after that. Mom and Dad had to confess that Santa had not been shot in a post office robbery, it was because he wasn't real. They told me the whole story about parents buying, hiding and setting up presents on Christmas Eve. I felt betrayed for about five minutes before I realized I'd been let into a secret club of "people who knew." And that I would be able to collude with my parents to prolong the Santa myth for Manda, and later, my brother, Matt. And I did, for years, and I made sure that when they were old enough, I was the one who GENTLY told them about the Santa myth. I did not allow robberies to enter into it.
To qualify for a free download of I'M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS, please share your favorite holiday disaster stories in the comment section below. You must also share this post on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog and other social media. I will randomly select twelve winners and announce them on Dec. 24.