Today is a "Grab Bag" of topics. In my husband's family, an alternative to receiving lumps of coal for being naughty, was instead ....ashes and switches. The following story is one from my dark side and it should never have happened. But it did and became part of our family legend - one of those stories that's been retold for fifty years. As in, "Remember the Christmas...."
Now my husband had a much younger baby brother - when said brother was about 10-14 years old, he was insufferable. First of all, he was a "late" child, being the last born; he was spoiled, whiny, clingy, and demanding. Yes, it's all true. He was a royal pest. There were three brothers in my husband's family, no sisters - the baby as described, my husband, then the oldest who had married a lady my age about six months after my husband and I had married.
I'm not absolutely positive, but this was an early Christmas in my married life and I believe my sister-in-law and I had not yet had children of our own. We had both married at age nineteen, so we were not much passed childhood ourselves. We decided to play a Christmas trick on Little Brother. I suppose we wanted to teach him some sort of lesson. We really didn't intend any harm, just a sort of retaliation. In retrospect, and after raising sons, I'm sure he just drove us nuts because he really loved having these new females in the family and craved our attention.
We filled a very large box with switches and coffee cans of ashes, wrapped it, and placed it under the tree with a gift tag to Little Brother, from the two of us. Turned out to be the biggest present of the year. Little Brother was so very excited about the huge gift, and I think the two sisters-in-law knew we might have stepped over the boundary line. Of course when he opened the present ...it wasn't so funny to him ...and there were crocodile tears. Also a considerable amount of anger towards his very mean big "sisters". We did try to apologize which likely meant little at the time. Of course, we did have other gifts for him - they were just smaller.
The second chapter of the story is that the next Christmas, the same box, newly wrapped, appeared under the Christmas tree. From Little Brother to his two sisters-in-law. It was stuffed full of yards of toilet paper.... So Little Brother had the last word ...and redemption.