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Sometimes the best holidays are when everything goes wrong

by Emma Lee
(San Antonio, Texas)

Every December my family packs up the car and I, three kids, one husband, and two dogs, hit the road to visit relatives and celebrate Christmas and New Years in Virginia.

Since we live in Texas, this is the first and only time during the year that my sons get to see snow. Everyone loves hanging out with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and on Christmas morning we exchange gifts together.

While this tradition began nine years ago, one year stood out from the rest. The trip began when we packed up the kids in the car in Texas. It was a bright day and we were enjoying the warm weather that we normally get in San Antonio.

Three hours into the road trip my husband piped up, “I forgot my other pair of shoes!” I looked at my own feet and then back at the kids. We were all dressed in our usual Texas footwear and none of us had packed any appropriate shoes to wear in the snow!

Two days of driving we arrived in Virginia. The snow was beginning to fall as we arrived at my grandmother’s house. We had prepared for the cold by wrapping our scarves around our feet. Our Virginia relatives were confused and asked, “Is this some new Texas thing?” As we started explaining things, my husband and I started laughing, which was followed by laughing from the rest of the family. Soon we were enjoying cocoa and cookies together.

We borrowed extra socks and shoes from our relatives. It turns out we weren’t the only ones in the family to forget things. In the center of the living room, there were approximately zero Christmas trees. My brother-in-law and sister, who had the responsibility for bringing the tree, had forgotten it. However, my youngest son had decided to bring a small plant of his own, a cactus. No shoes, but we packed a cactus!

So we decorated the cactus with tinsel and a star and dwarfed it with all the presents from each Secret Santa.

As we looked on the tiny tree and mismatched shoes and socks and realized that the best things about the holiday aren’t the clothes we wear or the decorations we use. It’s the memories we create together. We created one memorable holiday by sharing what we had and laughter that we didn’t even have to pack.

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