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Forgettable Christmas Memories

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For me Christmas is simply about the 3 F’s… family, friends and football. My family doesn’t have many enduring Christmas traditions and that may have something to do with some memories of Christmas that I’d frankly like to forget. Here are my top 5:

#5. “Murray The Christmas Bush”. Sometime around 1983 my family was extremely broke and all we could afford for a tree was this lopsided excuse for a bush. My mom, who always tried to have a good time by making light of such things, named the bush Murray (don’t ask me why). I think the reason we had so little for a tree was that she used the money she saved to buy me an authentic Los Angeles Dodgers warm up jacket. It was actually a great Christmas but Murray, if my mom hadn’t named the damn tree, would be pretty forgettable.

#4. “Broken Guitar Strings”. In 1975 my parents gave me a guitar for Christmas. Unfortunately my stepfather, who had all the musical talent of Roseanne Barr, decided to tune it for me and busted two of the strings with his meaty truck-driver hands. The jerk, probably why my mom divorced him, never even bothered to take the guitar to a music shop to get new strings. Nothing like a broken gift to say “I love you”.

#3. “The Flu”. In 1995 my wife and I got the flu. What’s worse is I still had to be on the air that day. Ugh.

#2. “Alone At Christmas”. I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta as a kid and in 1985 I moved back even though my family was in California. That is the only Christmas I spent entirely alone. Well, not entirely alone, my mom’s former co-workers invited me to dinner. Par-tay. Later that night my best friend called me and said if he knew I was going to be alone he and his folks would have had me over to their house. I wish I could inject some comedy in here but it was truly tragic.

#1. “Pre-opened Gifts”. Not the saddest Christmas ever but in 1973 when I was 9 my mom and stepdad came home from his company Christmas party where she had a few too many adult libations. As soon as she got home she thought it would be a good idea (there are no good ideas when your drunk) to open all the gifts. When I woke up Christmas morning I saw all my pre-opened presents under the tree. I love my mom and she tried really hard at Christmastime to make me happy. Despite this transgression I’ve always loved her for that.

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