It’s The Crazy That Makes Christmas So Fun

Every once in awhile I’ll get an email from someone who mentions that they wish they could get along with their extended family as well as I get along with mine. And inevitably when I read those emails I throw my head back and CACKLE because OH MY WORD, NO. I mean, by and large we behave and love each other and enjoy some good times, but don’t think for one second we don’t have our issues. Because people, we have some issues. Like everybody else we get through them as best we can, but I don’t blog about a lot of that stuff because so far I haven’t really gotten any requests from family members asking if I would please discuss all of our junk WITH THE INTERNET. Plus, I want to remember the fun times and the happy times and the times when we laughed until we hurt.

In other words, I don’t necessarily need a blog post that chronicles the time that David and I went to a Chinese buffet with my parents, and after D went back for seconds my mama surveyed his plate and said – without a hint of irony – “OH MY WORD LOOK AT ALL THAT FOOD YOU’RE GOING TO DIE.”

My husband, he was somewhat aggravated by the buffet-related judgment. As you might imagine.

But we worked through it, just like all families work through countless other tense and/or awkward and/or hurtful moments with the people who are nearest and dearest. There’s no question that there’s a whole lot of refining that takes place in families, especially around the holidays. Just because I don’t write about it doesn’t mean we’re unfamiliar with that sort of stuff. We just try our best to deal with it and move on without recording it on the internet for posterity’s (and Google’s) sake.

So, all that being said, I’ll now say this: we really and truly had a blast with D’s family last night. It was blissfully drama-free, completely relaxed – and it’s a night that’ll make me smile for a really long time.

(The jacket! It’s just DARRRRRRRRRLIN’!)

This morning we had a last minute change-o-plans when our friend Todd called to say that their little girl was running a fever (bless her), so we postponed that trip and decided to run by and say goodbye to my aunt C before we headed home. We’d been at her house about fifteen minutes when my cousin Paige and her little boy stopped by, and my aunt asked if she could take all of us to lunch. Since we were feeling all devil-may-care-ish in terms of our schedule, we said yes and enjoyed a great lunch where I felt like I saw approximately half of the people I have ever known. And really, it was only about ten people, but when you live in a bigger city, you forget what it’s like to be in a small town where you know people EVERY SINGLE PLACE you go – I don’t typically run into my childhood pediatrician and his sweet wife at the salad bar, after all.

After lunch we made a trip with Martha, Rose and our niece to the nursing home to see Sissie. At first she seemed to be having trouble hearing us, and Martha was insistent that a little hearing aid device that was stored in Sissie’s dresser might help. But then she realized that the battery in the hearing aid thing-y was dead, so she took matters into her own hands by putting her face approximately a quarter inch away from Sissie’s ear and saying, “Mother? Can you hear? Can you hear, Mother? Sugar, can you hear? Can you hear us, darlin’?” And after about the eighth time that Martha asked, Sissie whipped her head around and said, “I CAN HEAR, MARTHA! I CAN HEAR!”

I laughed so hard that I had to clap my hands.

We gave Sissie her Christmas present, which was a really cute lime green zip-up jacket and pants. I bought that particular outfit because a couple of months ago Martha was FIT TO BE TIED that the nursing home had lost the top to Sissie’s turquoise velour track suit. She talked about that lost turquoise top ALL THE TIME WITHOUT STOPPING EVER, to the point that if you drove to my hometown, got out of the car, walked up to a total stranger and said, “Turquoise velour track suit,” the stranger would say, “Didn’t Martha tell you? THE NURSING HOME LOST THE TOP.” Oh sweet mercy. As a general rule I try to laugh and go with the flow as far as Martha’s various and sundry obsessions are concerned, but that turquoise velour track suit nearly exhausted every bit of my patience. In fact, the last time that Martha was at our house and was talking about that turquoise velour track suit for the 74th time, I said, “Martha? I think Sissie is going to be just fine without that turquoise velour top for her track suit. Because do you know what? SHE’S ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD. A MATCHING TRACK SUIT IS SORT OF THE LEAST OF HER WORRIES AT THIS POINT.”

I’m happy to tell you that my attempt at perspective did not one iota of good.

Anyway, Martha was beyond tickled that we got Sissie an ensemble that was similar to the turquoise one (DID YOU KNOW THAT THE NURSING HOME LOST THE TOP?), and nothing would do but for her to describe it to Sissie in great detail: “MOTHER! FEEL THIS FABRIC! AND DO YOU SEE THE SPARKLIES? IT HAS A FEW LITTLE SPARKLIES! AND YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE PRETTIEST PERSON HERE! THE PRETTIEST PERSON! AND YOU NEED MORE COTTON OUTFITS, MOTHER! YOU NEED MORE COTTON!”

Sissie’s response?


And I think she may have rolled her eyes.

It made all of us so happy.

One last thing: when Martha got to the nursing home, I told her how cute she looked because, well, she looked really cute. So she did a little pivot turn so I could see her whole outfit (I think it goes without saying that she was wearing a jacket from Steinmart), and she said, “Do you like my new jeans?”


About that time D said, “Are you wearing DENIM?”

And she was! She was wearing denim! For the first time since I have known her, which is basically for my whole entire life, Martha was wearing denim. She bought a pair of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, and they were GREAT-looking. So cute on her. So sassy. And so perfect with her brown corduroy jacket.

It was big fun for all.

And then we drove home.

And we said, “I CAN HEAR, MARTHA!” approximately seventeen times.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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  1. You have no idea how much this post made me smile. And laugh. Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Love the title of this post and I agree…there’s just no need to dwell on or publish the underbelly of a family! Also? I may have to quote you on this one. So good and so true. Hope the rest of your Christmas is this merry!

  3. Thank you so much for the giggles this morning…it made getting up so early nearly tolerable :) Merry Christmas!

  4. Love the title of this post…oh my word with the truth of those words! Love Martha and Sissie…love everything you said about family. I have been reflecting on the gift of family and the desire to love everyone who crosses my path this Christmas…quirks and all. And, believe me…we have a bunch! Thanks for this great post. So grateful for this Christmas break so I have a little more time to stop by, read the blogs I love, and even…gasp…comment!

    Christmas blessings to you….and let the crazy continue!

  5. Oh how I love a good Martha story!


    I CAN HEAR:):)


  7. I am so glad that you don’t air out the dirty laundry and if you did, you would be minus one reader. Not that it really matters if I read or not, but because you are such a fun person I do read your blog. I love the fact you just love people, good or bad, you find the humor in life. You have yourself a great Christmas and enjoy the laughter you bring to so many.

  8. Oh my stars – this is so funny it made my cheeks hurt! I am a relatively new reader and I am so glad someone pointed me to this little part of the internet. Merry Christmas!

  9. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    Love this! You had me giggling and I couldn’t stop! ! I love your stories about Martha! ! ! Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  10. Loved this post! Loved it! I am sitting on the couch with Sam here smelling my hair, and he wants to know what is so funny!! I laughed my head off!
    Merry Christmas!

  11. I just got back from spending time with my parents who both need a hearing aid thing-y. I laughed and laughed when I read your “I CAN HEAR….”. We experience that about every 10.2 seconds with my parents.

    My own laundry is dirty enough without reading about yours; thank you for keeping yours in Mississippi or Alabama or wherever it may lay (lie? laith? lyeth? Makes me nervous to correspond with an English major….)

  12. Sharing The Crazy with family is the best part of Christmas. Except the Jesus part. And I wonder where that turquoise jacket went? :)

  13. Oh this story just delights me. :) Glad sisse got all of her velour needs taken care of!

  14. I think I love your Martha stories better than anything. She sounds like the cutest thing, just the cutest thing!

    Merry Christmas, Sophie!

  15. This was all kinds of delightful. Merry Christmas to the Boo family!

  16. Amy in PA says:

    This made my day. I got married earlier this year & am preparing to spend Christmas with my in-laws. Nice people but definetly with their own quirks. So reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who’s had to make some adjusting & ‘putting up with.’ Merry Christmas!! (BTW, husband is a BIG Michigan fan & the only way I can remember who they’re playing in the bowl game is because I’ve made the association that “they’re playing Boomama’s team!”

  17. Oh, I have another post to add to my ABSOLUTE favorites. And Martha does look SO cute. Do you have a little area on your sidebar that includes a link where a person can click on all stories Martha-related? Because I think there should be. She is just fabulous. Just like you, Sophie! Merry Christmas!

  18. Great story blessed my heart.
    Brought back my own funny stories of my Granny in her nursing home. She called it her apartment. Had no idea she was in a nursing home. She said the only thing she didn’t like was at night being alone in the huge building. I said Granny your not alone all the other folks are here. To which she replied, You mean they don’t all go home at night? HAH Bless her heart

  19. Oh my goodness a little crazy is good for lots of Christmas stories. This year everyone is receiving Christmas ornaments that say “Keep Calm and Carry On”
    Good advice for any year in any family. Merry Christmas Boo Mama, we’ll be watching your bulldogs this year.

  20. Your blog posts DELIGHT me. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. I love getting my daily dose of joy and laughter from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Merry Christmas and best of luck in the Gator Bowl-more cow bell!

  21. Your posts make me want to move down south and meet some old southern ladies, because I think the south must just have the best old ladies ever. I mean, here in Iowa, we rock the corn, and we do bacon like nobody’s business, but we are lacking in darrrrrrlin’ Steinmarts jackets and the old ladies who rock them. ;)

  22. Please, please write a book all about Martha & Sissie … then you can do a book tour and sign a zillion copies (and visit Steinmarts all over this great land!) … and then you can sell the book and when the movie premiers …

    Please, please write a book!

    Joyful Christmas!!

  23. I’m tellin’ you if this blog thing doesn’t work out, you need to consider “stand-up.” I’d be the first to buy a ticket!

    Happy holidays, my dear!

    . . . that was hilarious.

  24. How did you know I wanted a Martha story for Christmas? Thank you so much it fits perfectly!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  25. I do love the elderly! They are just delightful with all their quirks.
    Thanks for making us laugh! Merry Christmas.

  26. Katherine says:

    Merry Christmas, Sophie! I do SO enjoy reading your blog, girl. I am still laughing about your post the last time Martha came to visit and you had to find her keys in the wee hours! Thanks for sharing all the belly laughs.

  27. “This is the south. We don’t hide our crazy people up in the attic. No ma’am. We bring ’em right down to the livin’ room and show ’em off.”

    Julia Sugarbaker, (No truer words ever spoken, and may she rest in peace.)

    And, yes, there is ALWAYS the conversations (and laughter) you save for when you are alone with ANOTHER family member who will laugh along with you. So glad that you have put “Martie’s” mind at ease with the matchy-match outfit. Merry Christmas!!!

  28. I so enjoy your Martha stories. Merry Christmas !

  29. This post was a glass of sweet tea on a hot day for my soul! Thank you, and Merry Christmas!! “I can hear Martha!!” LOLOL!

  30. I love your stories about Martha. It so takes me back to wonderful Southern days spent with my Mama, Nanny, and the sisters.

    And I know what you mean about families. I dearly love my in-laws and all the out-laws. But oh boy, when we all dip into the Port (with the screw cap), and discuss politics? Hold onto your control top pantyhose. Good times.

    Merry Christmas, sweet Sophie!!!!

  31. I love Martha stories! No doubt that your families have issues just like the rest of us……(well, maybe not quite as strange as ours) but, I’m sure that you could make any (or all) of it hilarious with your sense of humor.

    It’s Christmas Eve and this is mine and hubby’s very first one all alone since we got married in 1980. I had thought that it would be so sad but, actually, it’s kind of nice. I had a knee replaced 8 days ago and he’s been my hero…….all over again:) Our kids and parents will be here tomorrow. Merry Christmas, Boomama!!!!

  32. This may be a top 10 favorite for me!

    Merry Christmas Boo!!!

  33. Sophie,
    Thanks sooooo much for the laughter this post has given me. After a stressful day I am going to bed with a smile on my face!

  34. What does it say about me that I am 39 years old wearing the same brand jeans as Martha?

  35. This made me laugh out loud and I’m so relieved that ALL families have their issues. We don’t own firearms for good reason around here! Thanks for the comic relief. Merry Christmas


    Merry Christmas, Sophie!

    love, J

  37. Oh.MY. Word. Thank you so much for making me laugh so hard and giggle continuously! I was laughing because I can relate and it just TICKLED me so much that you shared this story.

    Merry Christmas Sophie!

  38. I really needed a laugh tonight. Actually, my eyes were weepy from being on the verge of tears for the last few hours and that laugh just brought those tears right on out. Merry Christmas to you and your darlin family.

  39. Had to post again because I was ready to take a major nutty at the family table—was thinking WHY do we all do this and call it fun? Thought of your post and laughed out loud–I can hear Martha! Gave me just the pause I needed to put fork down and not injure anybody. Thank you Boo–Hope your holiday was blessed–I already know it must’ve been funny.

  40. I read this post after just uploading 70+ Christmas pictures on facebook. As I loaded those pics, I thought of how loud and crazy it was here with my family. I thought about how most of us were there which HUGE because as families go, we sometimes have ISSUES and some of our people just don’t come for Christmas. But this year, almost all of us were together.
    And for the most part, it went off without a hitch. In fact, with both my family and the in-laws, Christmas we peaceable although LOUD, VERY LOUD.
    My little sister (the one who just happens to have gone through quite a lot this past year. The one I recently blogged about (with permission, of course) her journey from substance abuse, to jail, to treatment, and now half-way house) called on Thursday when she was on the way to our house with my parents. She asked me how I was which seems like a normal question, but, it was the day of our get together, the day of cooking like mad and she asked me how I was. She said she had been praying for me all day. And you know what? For the first time since I can remember, I had gone all day getting prepared for a family holiday get together without getting stressed. God is just awesome like that!
    I say all of that to say, YES, we have issues, too. But it’s just so GOOD to see Him at work. In spite of them. In the midst of them.
    Sophie, sharing your life with us (YES, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.) is truly a blessing. I’m grateful. So grateful.
    Merry Christmas, Sophie!
    Much love!
    P.S. Martha’s skin is FABULOUS! And her mom’s? WOW! Please find their secret.

  41. “I laughed so hard I had to clap my hands”. Thank you, thank you so much!!

  42. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Ireland!

    I am with you on not displaying our dirty undies to the world and google. It however can then give the impression are lives are all pretty and perfect. Hard to get the balance right and keep it real, isn’t it?

    Lve a Martha andSissie story – thanks for shari g a wee bit of your world.

  43. My mother, Martha’s separated at birth twin, also has the obsessions. I told my brother that we should take an ad out in the home town paper saying ” Please, humor mother and her obsessions and if any one knows where her gold earrings were misplaced – PLEASE RETURN THEM STAT!!”

  44. Thank you for your honesty about the real world behind the blog. I had a comment on my blog recently where the writer was going on about how envious she was about my sweet and close family. It was about the same time I was thinking, “I know why animals eat their young…”

  45. I have started doing the Bobblehead nod with my husband’s family. They bring up the same complaints OVER and OVER and OVER and some of them from 30 years ago. I just nod. That is the only way I can not go stark raving mad.


    lord, have mercy. that is some funny stuff right there.


  47. I have read daily for YEARS and never posted until today. BEST POST EVER. You have an amazing knack for being truthful and sweet at the same time. Yes families argue but we love’m anyway.
    Loved. it.

  48. Soph,
    I am Canadian (eh) and I totally crack up at all your Southern expressions. Sometimes I need a dictionary . . .
    Keep’em coming sista. I will educate you in “Canadian ways”. If you ever have any Canadian questions ask Canadian Cathy!

  49. I’m not sure I have ever commented but I LOVE reading your posts. I just wanted you to know that I had the major giggles on Christmas morning when I unwrapped a jacket from….wait for it…. Steinmart! And it is just darlin! :)
    Happy New Year!