Seahawkward holiday tales

Seabury faculty members reminisce on awkward holiday stories

Sage McHenry, Copy

We all have had at least one awkward experience during the holidays. Maybe it was crashing into a stranger while ice skating. Maybe your dog knocked down the christmas tree. Maybe Uncle Randy sat down, broke his chair and spilled gravy all over your mom’s new rug. No matter the situation, these funny interactions are holiday staples for everyone. 

“Picture, if you will, we are at the Thanksgiving table. All my aunts, uncles, cousins, me, my parents, my husband, my kids, my sister and her boyfriend, who she has brought for the first time. None of us had met him before, so we are all sitting there getting to know him. Then he starts telling these absurd stories,” says faculty member Leslie McCaffrey. “He said that he was on a mountain and got caught in an avalanche. Apparently the person that he got caught in the avalanche with needed surgery, so he just performed the ‘surgery’ right there on the side of the mountain. We all sat there and just nodded, because it was so awkward that he was telling this obvious lie. We didn’t know what to do, especially since my sister was agreeing with him….Literally the whole time he kept telling these stories….My uncle finally said something like, ‘What’s going on? Why are you telling these stories?’ My aunt held up her napkin…in front of her face and whispered, ‘Don’t, there’s obviously something wrong with him. Don’t bring it up!’ And of course we all heard it….Eventually he left with my sister, but they aren’t dating anymore thank goodness,” says McCaffrey laughing.

Though many find them funny, not every awkward holiday tale is amusing to all parties involved. For some, these stories are quite traumatizing. “When I was in elementary school, my sister had a boyfriend in college. He decided that it would be funny to wrap up some mayonnaise and in another present wrap up a hot pocket–a cold hot pocket mind you. He wrote on the presents, ‘to William, from Santa,’ and put them under the tree,” says faculty member William Whipple. “I thought Santa had given me mayonnaise and a hot pocket for Christmas that year. It was a very sad Christmas,” says Whipple pitifully. 

Many folks’ holiday memories are tainted with awkward experiences. But why do these amusing occurrences often present themselves around the holidays? “I think it’s because we are all just there at the table. You’re just sitting there, and you don’t really know what to do. Eventually somebody is just so desperate to break the silence….It is better preplanned. Go into your holiday dinner knowing what you’re going to say. Don’t just wing it. Go in with an idea, because otherwise it just gets awkward,” says McCaffrey.

Though they are often followed by whinces and cringing, a thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be the same without an awkward situation or two. There is no question that these amusing tales make the holiday season bright.