On the front end, it seemed ideal: A Christmas at home, with no heavy travel; the kids coming home, with free time on their hands; no cooking for me, a rare thing indeed.

I found some good bread (Giacomo’s!), turned the frozen Thanksgiving turkey carcass into gumbo, laid in a supply of firewood.

But events conspired, both here and elsewhere, to make this #TheChristmasThatWentWrong. Hashtag it!

First my sister tested positive for COVID, then my other sister and then my mother. They would not be attending the Christmas festivities, and the Christmas Eve feast at my mother’s place was off.

We adjusted! Preparations were made for a small Christmas Eve dinner at home with the fam. Later that day the internet went out, causing a small degree of havoc among the young people and also putting the kibosh on our plans for a Christmas Eve movie.

We were lucky: The nasty Christmas storm that descended upon most of the nation left our house largely untouched. My friend in New York commiserated. He had plans to go to Seattle for Christmas, but they all came down with the flu. Christmas in New York would be fine, he said, except for one small wrinkle: All his daughter’s Christmas gifts had been sent to Seattle. And because she still believed in the jolly old elf, he had to make some hard decisions.

Christmas Day went off without a hitch: a few hours with my cousin and her family in Winston-Salem, come time with the Christmas babies, leftovers dropped in bags on a few front porches.

We got home Christmas night to find our outdoor spigot spewing water, our driveway and walkway covered in a slick sheet of ice. As I fumbled for the master valve, my partner took a spill on the ice outside our front door, twisting her ankle and breaking her leg in two places. I have not seen her in so much pain since our middle child was born.

We waited 10 hours in the emergency room, starting on Christmas night and bleeding into the next morning, with nothing but 800 milligrams of ibuprofen between her and the pain of her broken bones grinding together.

She’ll go for surgery tomorrow, which is Wednesday.

Listen: We’re fine. Grand, even. Even our disaster-strewn Christmas was better than what some folks got this year, and we’ve found loads of ways in which all of this could have been worse.

But still. This Christmas was a gut-punch at the end of a tough year, and we’ll be dealing with its consequences until the birds start to sing again in spring.

But sing again they will!

So will we. And by next Christmas, all of this will be nothing but a story we tell, another reason to be grateful for all we have.

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