Yesterday I unpacked a tote from the attic and when I reached in for a beaded garland….

….something else fell out.

Something that made me giggle.

Something that made me gasp.

Something that reminded me of all the Christmases that had gone before.


I’m laughing now. All these years later it seems even more hilarious.

But at the time?

Umm. Not so much.

I just have one word for what happened.


With a story on top. 🙂

A long time ago in a land far away (otherwise known as California), I was a brand new wife celebrating Christmas with my brand new husband.

We were newlyweds and renting an old farmhouse that had seen better days. All we had to our name was wedding china, some blue and white vases and a few pieces of furniture that our family had given us.

The only thing I had to decorate our home with for Christmas was a box of shiny red ornaments and a little ribbon. We were living on love without anything left over for Christmas decorations.

We couldn’t afford a store-bought version of a tree, so we went to a neighbor’s farm and cut one down. It was kind of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, there were big branches missing and it kind of leaned and looked like at any moment–without the slightest bit of provocation–it would topple over.

But I didn’t care. To me it was beautiful.

I loved it.

It was my first Christmas tree and I made ribbon bows and tucked pine cones in it and hung those shiny red ornaments on every branch.

And then–for the finishing touch–the icing on my Charlie Brown tree, I baked dozens of gingerbread men. They weren’t very fancy.  They looked more like ginger blobs than ginger men, but I loved them anyway.  I decorated them with gusto and Christmas cheer and raisins.

I hung them all over the tree with ribbons.

And when the tree was full?

I hung them in the windows and doors and from the back of chairs and cupboards.

I hung them here, there and everywhere until every inch of that old farmhouse was covered with grinning, bright-eyed, bow-tie-wearing, gingerbread men.

An entire farmhouse decorated for the holidays from almost nothing.

It looked so beautiful.

I was so proud.

Gingerbread men?  Who knew?

About a week later my husband called me into the kitchen.

“Why did you make the gingerbread men with only one leg?” he asked in a puzzled voice.

We both turned to the smiling bedazzled gingerbread man hanging in the window.

I just shrugged.

It must have broken when I hung him up there,” I said with a smile.  “But at least he’s cute.”

We smiled at each other and our little one-legged gingerbread man in our little farmhouse festooned with homemade Christmas decorations.

Decorated with love.

I was so busy over the next couple of days with wrapping and drinking hot chocolate and window shopping and watching “Prancer” on television that I forgot all about the gingerbread man with the missing leg.


Until I saw another one on the tree…..

…..missing part of his head.

And another one–missing part of his arm.

And then—I heard a gingerbread man as it dropped to the ground…..

….completely chewed to pieces.


And jumped on a chair.

Wildly hopping around and hands waving and yelling for my husband to get every gingerbread man out of our farmhouse as quickly as he could and to take them as far away as possible.


Because those half-eaten gingerbread men? They were no accident.

It seems we had plenty of friends.

Of the furry four-legged whiskered variety that were enjoying Christmas at the farmhouse, too.

So when that gingerbread man ornament fell out of the tote? Of course I giggled to myself.

I can laugh now.


Now it’s hilarious.

Now it’s so silly.

Now my gingerbread ornaments are made out of fabric and the only one eating any gingerbread cookies around here…

….is Santa. 🙂

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  1. Image for Kim Kim

    That’s hilarious!! At the time I would’ve been equally as horrified and told my husband we needed to move immediately. In hindsight though, it’s a sweet (and funny) story and a lovely memory. Thanks for the Christmas smile! 💕

  2. Image for Holly M Holly M

    Similar story. Decorated my christmas tree one year with gingerbread cookies. So cute! Do NOT do this if you have a dog. Lesson learned. Haha.

  3. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    OMG that is so funny I had to read it to my husband. Of course he didnt laugh like I did, because you have to be a woman and also need to know who you are. What a wonderful Monday morning belly laugh. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Image for Mary Smart Mary Smart

    Oh! I bet you were shocked! I had kind of the same story one year when we bought our fresh Christmas tree and put it up and I began decorating it, I had a feeling I wasn't alone and there was a small squirrel in our tree! We finally caught him and put him outside. Luckily I found him before our cat did!

  5. Image for Sharon Sharon

    You never fail to make me laugh out loud! I love your blog and I love you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy those sweet girls. Much Light, Sharon

  6. Image for Kim Kim

    Makes me think of the "Christmas Vacation" movie when Clark cuts down the neighbor's tree and brings it into the house. The squirrel has a short lived and destructive reign of terror in the Griswold home.

  7. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Thanks for starting off my week with a laugh!! I can sort of see you standing on a chair flailing your arms and frantically calling for Mr Blue Eyes!! Have a good week! ;)

  8. Image for Renae Renae

    I love this story. For our first Christmas, we had been married for less than a month. We had absolutely nothing. Our tree was decorated with ornaments made out of foil. We couldn’t afford to heat the house and it was freezing in there. But we just couldn’t have been happier.

  9. Image for laura laura

    cute story! isn’t it funny telling our firsts with our spouses! i remember celebrating my first bday and there was no birthday cake. my husband could not wrap his head around my complete meltdown because he did not have a cake for me! Celebrating firsts make better stories! Happy Thanksgiving! my youngest is flying thru Dallas today on his way to Denver!

  10. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I now have a tote that reads. "There may be a dead mouse in here!!!" So next year when we get it out I won't have a surprise!!! True story Lol I was putting the summer ornamentations away and saw the mouse jump into the tote, so left the tote on it's side outside for a few days so the mouse could get out. Shook it and then put the lid on it with the note so next year when I put out my red, white and blue flowers I don't get a shock!!!

  11. Image for Heather Krout Heather Krout

    I LOVE this story!! Such a precious testimony to years gone by and the love wrapped inside memories of past Christmas’s - and this tree is just beautiful KariAnne! 🎄✨ xo, Heather

  12. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh, what a funny story! I’ll bet those little critters were having the best Christmas EVER! Thanks for the giggles this Monday morning. No one can spin a story quite like you. Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

  13. Image for Maris Sofra Maris Sofra

    That is the sweetest story. Goes to show, 1. You can make Christmas out of any little bits, and 2. How brave were you two to live in a house that so many visitors..well.. could visit! And 3. what great stories come out of those adventurous years of life! Have a brilliant Merry Christmas and enjoy those twins and hubby to the north degree.

  14. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Hahahaha oh my word, you are the Griswold's!!! First time I saw that movie in the theatre years ago I thought I would literally die laughing when the squirrel came flying out of that tree, And now to find you it happened to YOU, too. Lord have mercy I'd have a heart attack then and there, I tell ya! Loved the story! Thanks for the chuckles! So funny!!!

  15. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOL Oh, I'd be on the chair, too! Yelling to hubby, "Get the gun! Get the traps! Get them out of here!" And me, too! I HATE mice! Ugh! {yes, shudder) You're the best sotyteller. Thank you, KariAnne's father! 😍

  16. Image for Va in NC Va in NC

    Oh how I love starting my day with your blog....Love the mouse story, and brought back memories of those first years of married life for me and I'm sure others as well...I wrapped presents in newspapers, those too big were gifted in brown paper grocery bags with notes on the outside. I saved any pretty wrapping paper/ bows and carefully smoothed them out so I could use them later. Others thought it was a clever idea and some copied it. Thank you for the joy you share. Blessings to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Image for Rose DOWE Rose DOWE

    Too funny , we also had something similar our first real tree our first Christmas as a young married couple. There we were enjoying a nice evening when we heard some bussing. Omg brees and lots of them. We Ran out dragging tree with us. Now so glad it was not mice or squirrels. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving 🦃🍁

  18. Image for Marieza Marieza

    Oh my gosh, KariAnne!!! I did not expect that twist in the plot! Yikes! At least it's a sweet story now 😆 Thanks for the laugh! I hope you have an amazing week!

  19. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    You always tell the best stories, thanks for sharing with us. I love memories of the holidays shared with family.

  20. Image for Kris Kris

    I had a feeling your story would involve some sort of critters. I enjoyed everyone's tales of unanticipated creatures in their homes. When my son was little, he made me a picture formed with Life Savers which had been glued to paper. It ended up in a pile, forgotten, in my bedroom .... until we noticed an ant infestation. Ick. I've been much more careful about getting rid of tasty edibles for ininvited guests ever since.

  21. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Sigh- I did something similar, it was ants in my story. EVERYWHERE! Next I tried salt ornaments, and the humidity made them soggy. Memories. At least you still have a gingerbread man to remind you :)

  22. Image for Irene Irene

    We have a similar story, we had a visiting rat (we live on a farm) that enjoyed a gingerbread house, ate phone and fax wires, marzipan, and used tissues to make a nest! Finally we had to put out poison and he died in the rafters where we couldn’t reach him. Thankfully we were not hosting Christmas that year. Hopefully never again!

  23. Image for Linda Scott Linda Scott

    That was a super cute and funny (later in life) story!! Thanks for sharing bc I needed a giggle!! We must all have the one story where the beautifully decorated Christmas tree comes crashing to the floor when you are all out of the house celebrating how excited you are to have the tree up and decorated. Only to come home to a disaster and have to redo it all over again!! My family still laughs about that! Happy Thanksgiving!!


    KariAnne, you are the best story teller ever! What a memory those gingerbread cookies made! Thanks for sharing with us! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your precious family. We have so much to be thankful for. Bless you all!

  25. Image for sherri parks sherri parks

    OMG Karianne I laughed my tail off at that story!!!! I shared it with my husband, of course,(men) he didn't think it was as funny as me. I remember being in the same situation when we first got married. I went out in the yard and bundled sticks (small ones) together with fishing line, stuck a bow on them and hung them on the Charlie Brown tree, I thought they were BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  26. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    Oh my! Laughing out loud.. and will now think of your hilarious holiday tale when I see a gingerbread man! Bless you for sharing your heart sweet girl! Put a smile on my face.. as I slowed down a bit from getting ready for Thanksgiving! Hope you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving, Stephanie

  27. Image for Teresa LaVoy Teresa LaVoy

    This reminds me of your post from several years back when you were so excited to find wooden planks discarded on the side of the road, which you promptly retrieved and brilliantly crafted into a sign that you hung over a chest. Then a short while later you noticed a lot of powdery wood dust covering the top of the chest. I think you screamed then too for your husband to get the sign out of the house .... and resolved to not pick up any more wood from the side of the road. I still laugh every time I think of it......

  28. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, goodness! I hadn’t heard that one! That’s hilarious and scary at the same time! Thanks for sharing, friend, and hoping you have the BEST Thanksgiving!

  29. Image for Linda Johnston Linda Johnston

    Love stories from our pasts! We have a few mice stories ourselves. But our Christmas decorations from our grandchildren were eaten one year by the dog. Lesson? Hang them higher.

  30. Image for Judy Johnson Judy Johnson

    Thats so funny, I used to put gingerbread men on one of my trees too. We had a little Chihuahua puppy and he would sit under the tree and protect it as if it was his. If anyone came close to the tree he would bark and growl. He never ate any of them but he must of liked the smell and new they were edible. No one else was going to touch is cookies. So many fun memories. Merry Christmas!

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