Christmas is 'The Most Wonderful Time of The Year' and we love Christmas here at Hand on Heart, but we understand that it can be a stressful period too.
So much goes into Christmas – there's present buying, the logistics of seeing family and friends, cooking Christmas dinner (often for big numbers!) and the cost and potential stress that goes along with the festivities.
However, we think the beauty of Christmas is in the mess, the imperfections, the bits that you never see on those picture-perfect Instagram and Pinterest posts.
Sometimes the best Christmas Days are the imperfect ones – the realistic ones where everything has gone a bit wrong, and we'll re-tell the stories and laugh about them for years to come.
From burning the turkey to guests overdoing the mulled wine and the dog eating the presents, we love the idea of embracing imperfection this year. Here are some hilarious Christmas calamities we've enjoyed reading about.
This is a tale of warning for anyone who thinks they might overdo it at the work Christmas party, as featured on London Launch. Taking place at the famous Natural History Museum, a rather intoxicated city banker spontaneously leapt from his table and ascended the ribcage of 'Dippy' the Diplodocus (discovered in the late 1800s in the USA and the museum's prized centrepiece).
However, the 60-million-year-old dinosaur ribs couldn't handle the guest's weight, and the damage was rumoured to have cost £30,000 (and his job!) Poor Dippy the Dino now has an artificial rib and a stern sign asking guests not to touch the dinosaur. This story serves as a good reminder to step away from the mulled wine (and any ancient artefacts) at the work Christmas do.
Bestselling novelist Jacqueline Wilson might know how to write wonderful stories, but cooking might not have been her strong point when she served up what was supposed to be a delicious peach-based dessert. She said: "My funniest Christmas disaster was when I served everyone whole peaches bottled in brandy for pudding. The peaches proved impenetrable and rolled all over the tablecloth when we tried to eat them...." (Told to Penguin).
Never underestimate the importance of good gravy
The turkey is usually always centre stage when it comes to Christmas dinner. However, McFly frontman and children's author Tom Fletcher discovered the importance of gravy during his Christmas cooking disaster. He said: "I cooked Christmas dinner last year. Everything had gone well until the last moment when I ruined the gravy! Gravy is the most important thing as it goes over all the food on your plate; it made everything taste disgusting." (Told to Penguin).
When the Christmas singsong goes up in flames
Another celebrity who has experienced an imperfect Christmas is comedian Chris Addison. As featured in the Guardian, he wanted to give his Australian friend a perfect Christmas while she was spending it away from home. It all started well, and it even snowed! However, after dinner, they moved the candles from the table onto the piano and moved into the next room.
Chris tells how the otherwise perfect Christmas Day began to unfold after their innocent mistake: "About 10 minutes later, my wife noticed flames in the hall mirror. We rushed into the dining room to discover the candles had fallen on the cards lined along the top of the piano, which was now alight. Dumb panic ensued. Only my brother-in-law had the presence of mind to run for water. One of us (I won't say who) stood in the doorway, blowing at the piano as though it were a match.
"When the fire was out, all the keys had stuck together. If you could have pressed them, they'd have all played at once. My Australian friend still tells the story of that Christmas. She never talks about the snow, though."
Pets certainly prefer imperfection!
Sometimes it's our four-legged friends who are responsible for Christmas being imperfect rather than perfect, and of course, we can't help but love them for it.
Buzzfeed did a hilarious round-up of festive mishaps, and a few mischievous pooches were featured in it.
Creative destruction tactics
"Last year, we had just adopted our dog. He had a lot of destructive separation anxiety, so we kept him in a crate when we left the house. One day, we left him for two hours, and he managed to bounce his crate seven feet across the room to the tree, pull the bottom half of the tree in through the bars and eat all the ribbon, branches, lights, and ornaments. The entire tree was knocked over and sitting on top of the crate."
Too many treats
"We came home from Christmas Eve mass to discover that our dog had gotten into the box of stocking stuffers and eaten over a pound and a half of chocolate. We made him vomit, and then my husband and I took turns staying up with him all night to let him out every 5–30 minutes. I was seven months pregnant at the time."
"My childhood dog was about 14 and had gone blind earlier that year. I guess since he couldn't see, he got confused by the tree in the house. While we were all sitting around the room, he peed on the tree and blew all the lights. The tree even started smoking. He walked away completely unfazed."
Festive food faux pas
It's completely understandable that we all feel the stress and pressure when it comes to cooking the all-important Christmas dinner. The meal is typically the most important part of the day, and all other activities are planned around it! Whether you're cooking for small numbers or loads of guests, getting everything prepared, cooked and served at the right time is no mean feat. Luckily, it isn't unusual to forget a vital ingredient or burn the turkey, as these hilarious cooking disasters on Prima and Mummy Pages demonstrate.
"My mum was preparing Christmas dinner, and everything was going well. She was quite stressed, as you tend to be when organising Christmas. She went to give the recently peeled potatoes a wash and then, instead of reaching for the oil, reached for the washing up liquid and poured it all over them... We promised they'd be fine and cooked them anyway, but they did taste a bit odd."
"It was my first time Christmas cooking dinner, but the turkey had a funny taste and smell, and we couldn't eat it. I hadn't taken out the plastic bag with giblets inside…"
Beans on toast instead
"Christmas Day four years ago, twelve days after my third child was born, I went to start making the dinner – and bang! The cooker blew and broke. So, no dinner! Beans on toast for Christmas Day."
Hand on Heart team stories
Our Hand on Heart team haven't been immune to Christmas imperfections either!
Lucy, our sales co-ordinator, experienced a slightly different Christmas to the one she originally had planned with her family. Lucy said: "Our family was at the village church service on Christmas Eve when the whole village lost electricity – the power was off for four days, and our house was running off an emergency generator. Needless to say, the traditional Christmas Dinner and a lazy afternoon of films was delayed that year and we spent the day eating fish and chips and playing scrabble by candlelight."
If you've experienced your own imperfect Christmas, we hope these stories show that you're not alone! Let's all embrace the imperfections this year – Christmas doesn't have to look perfect to be perfect.