The Christmas “Miracle”

I noted that “humor” is a designated category at Science Based Medicine, and that I hadn’t made full use of it yet. I hope that the holiday season has put you in the mood for a whimsical look at Christmas – from my “skeptical family” to yours. Enjoy!


My sister Vicki lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, three children and an alarmingly large and slobbery Saint Bernard named Gilbert. Several Christmases ago she decided to teach her then 5-year-old son, Harrison, about Christmas tree decorating. She took him to a Christmas tree farm and helped him select a tree. They hauled it back to the house and my sister managed, with no help whatsoever from Gilbert, to set it up in a nice corner of the living room. The tip of the tree reached the ceiling and its full figured branches spread from icy window to window.

Vicki and Harrison spent hours and hours winding lights, tinsel, ornaments, paper angels and popcorn strings around the tree. Little Harrison couldn’t wait to see the final product, with glittering lights and a magical star to top off their fine work. They decorated into the early evening, and the living room grew dark as the sun set over the snow covered neighborhood. At last it was time to plug in the tree lights.

As Vicki plugged in the lights for the first time, Gilbert roused himself from his resting place in front of the fireplace and shook off his drowsiness. Harrison held his breath in eager anticipation of the twinkling display that he had helped to create. My sister turned off all the overhead lights.

As the plug entered the outlet, the tree lit up with thousands of tiny glittering lights.

Harrison marveled at his glorious creation. “Mom, it’s the most beautiful tree in the world!”

My sister sat down on the couch and hugged her son tightly in her lap as they relaxed and enjoyed the view. Suddenly, Harrison’s eyes fixed on one of the branches.

“Mom… look! There’s an icicle on the tree!!”

My sister squinted and followed the direction of Harrison’s pointing finger.

Sure enough, there was a glassy, 5 inch long, icicle-appearing object perched in a tree branch in the middle of the tree.

Harrison’s raised his voice with glee: “Mom! It’s a Christmas MIRACLE!!”

The little boy broke free of his mom’s grasp and ran up to the tree to inspect the icicle at close range. As he reached out his hand to clasp it, his look of amazement turned to horror. The icicle was in fact a long string of dog drool that had flicked off of Gilbert when he shook himself out of his sleep.

“Ewww!!!” Harrison screamed.

My sister slowly realized what had happened and started laughing uncontrollably. Gilbert wanted to get in on the fun and began barking and running in circles. He became tangled up in the extension cord and pulled the tree right out of the tree stand. At that moment, Vicki’s husband returned from shopping with the other 2 children. As he turned on the lights he found my sister trapped under an unraveling Christmas tree, a hysterical child frantically wiping his hands on paper towel, and a barking, drooling Gilbert in the midst.

“What happened here?!” he shouted, attempting to rescue Vicki from underneath the tree.

“It’s a Christmas miracle” was her muffled cry.

And this story will be in our family for a long time to come.


This post originally appeared here.

Posted in: Humor

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5 thoughts on “The Christmas “Miracle”

  1. bonedoc says:

    Weird Al Yankovich said: “Laughter is the very best medicine. Remember that when your appendix bursts next week.”

  2. ama says:

    Oh, you got me there. :-)

    Here is an other fun, which I dug out exactly 6 months ago:

    Eysenbach made “studies” about the quality of medical web-sites. But concerning his own one he still has corpses in the cellar. :-)

    After quite a number of years it is a REAL GOOD FEELING to get this guy fixed.

  3. James Fox says:

    My families Christmas miracle also involved a pet and a tree. Giovanni (a wonderful small grey cat) was exploring under the Christmas tree after all the gifts had been placed in just the right places. The silly cat decided to check out the light cord under the tree with his teeth. There was a horrendous electrical buzz, lights flickered and went out, and the cat could be heard thrashing under the tree while the distinctive smell of burnt kitty flesh rose up along with a small puff of smoke. Poor kitty ran from under the tree and hid under a couch in the family room where he pretty much stayed until the new year. Aside from a nasty electrical burn to his mouth, from which he fully recovered, poor kitty lost control of some specific muscles during his adventure under the tree, which resulted in about ten presents needing to be rewrapped.

    That was seven years ago and I’ve never seen Giovanni go under a Christmas tree or show anymore interest in strings of lights. It a miracle!!

  4. I will never forget the year my elderly, invalid grandmother came to visit us for Christmas. She had had a stroke many years previously– she had partial paralysis and there were very few words she could speak, but she enjoyed life to the fullest extent she could, with assistance from family (my aunt lived with and cared for her throughout her life).

    We were so excited to have her there with us! We sat her happily in a chair by the tree to look at the lights, then most of us went into the kitchen to make hot chocolate. Then, from the living room, we heard my grandmother saying, “GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD!” The tree, unbeknownst to us, was a bit topheavy, and it fell over on her.

    She was fine, but she indicated with stern gestures that she no longer wished to sit so close to the tree.

    As for my brother and me, little echolali-izing rugrats that we were, said, “GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD!” for the rest of the night.

  5. Val Jones says:

    Those are great “miracle” stories too, Perky and James – fried kitties and smushed grandmas add a certain unexpected dimension to the holidays. Thanks for sharing – I had a good laugh!

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