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A Christmas to Remember

I want to prepare you. This month’s blog will not carry some wonderful financial lesson or move you to a better philosophical state of mind. If you’re thinking to yourself, “neither did the previous ones,” then welcome to more of the same. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a laugh. We all know Christmas can get a little exciting, and an unexpected adventure can appear out of what would be an everyday activity, like planning dinner. Add in a newlywed couple, and you got yourself the makings of a blog story.

So, sit back and enjoy my misery as it unfolds.

My beautiful wife and I decided to get married in late December, because who doesn’t want to get married around Christmas. The wedding was beautiful and the bride even more so. After our nuptials, we packed up the car and headed to North Carolina for our honeymoon. Then, on our first full day, which happened to be Christmas Eve, we got out to see the sights and sounds of the city in full holiday regalia. Then, being a thoughtful planner, my wife wanted to go by the store early that day to get what we needed to cook our first Christmas meal as a married couple because that’s what a rational person would want.

But, after a long day of sightseeing, I just wanted a nap.

Now you may think by “nap,” I meant something else. But coming fresh off wedding craziness and driving from Central Florida to North Carolina, I was burnt out and just wanted sleep. Being the pleasant person my wife is, she presented the issue twice and then didn’t push anymore. My mid-day nap was just as wonderful as I expected it to be, and once I rolled out of bed like a bear from hibernation, we were off to our Christmas Eve dinner (yes, it was that late) with the plan to shop for our Christmas dinner after. We finished our meal at a fabulous local Italian restaurant and what happened next was, in my opinion, a “no room at the inn” grocery situation.

Every store we went to, doors were shut in our faces.

I mean that in the most literal way, with each door closing only confirmed my new wife’s suspicion of my abilities to provide and plan. The grocery staff was safely inside of their locked sliding door kingdom, giving us various international signs of “we’re done,” “closed,” “go home,” and “get lost.” You know how they say, “when God closes a door, He opens a window”? Yeah, I was looking for those too. Growing more dejected at every closed door and feeling the heat radiate in the car from my new wife’s frustration (it was palpable). I was frantically driving around trying to find anything in a town I was not familiar with to prevent Honey Nut Cheerios from being our Christmas feast.

Then I saw it, a beacon of hope on a hill.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Allie began to question my sanity, and her pleasantness had worn off by that point. “What are you going to buy here that will help us tomorrow,” she asked (some editing may have been done here). She asked this question with good reason because we were at Longhorns Steakhouse, and I planned to ask if they would sell me some raw food. So I went to the door and wouldn’t you know it was locked. But God smiled upon us, and some cheerful people in a better situation than I found myself in were leaving their Christmas Eve dinner (and probably planned their Christmas dinner too). As the merry guests walked out, I snuck in through the door as it was open and immediately asked to see the manager. I waited for a minute, and then a saint walked up. I told him about how my lack of planning led to my unfortunate state and how I had already started to sabotage my two-day-old marriage as a new husband. Then a Christmas miracle. He sold me three chicken breasts, four sweet potatoes, and four small bags of assorted raw veggies for $16. I didn’t really understand why he picked that selection or understand the pricing structure, but I wasn’t going to ask. So I paid and left a sizable tip (for a poor newlywed). I walked out of the restaurant like a champion that night like I had won my marriage back.

So every Christmas Eve after, for fourteen years now, we’ve gone to a Longhorns at some point in the day to celebrate God’s kindness in difficult times and to pay tribute to that manager He used to show me mercy.

I hope your Christmas and New Year are blessed.

December 2021

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