Funny, touching, and all round cracking Christmas stories have been pouring in for the Jury’s Inns Christmas competition to win a family weekend break at any one of our 32 hotel locations. Here are our favourite ones. We hope you enjoy reading about all the dropped turkeys, pesky dogs, and Christmas romances as much as we did!
Mr Cooper, Belfast
Last minute rush, cooker broke down, turkey eventually finished off in neighbours house. Dog arrived in and licked the turkey; luckily I arrived in time to get him out. Quickly has to wash it down before serving to the in-laws. Then to top it off it snowed very heavily and we were stuck together for several days. Had to be the most stressful Christmas ever!
Susan, Great Yarmouth
We had lots of friends and family over to share Christmas with us. We had a few bottles open and were having a great time. I popped into the kitchen to baste the turkey, feeling a little merry. As I took the baking tray out of the oven the turkey slipped out and slid across the tiled floor towards the dog who thought all his Christmases’ had come at once! I quickly grabbed it, gave it a wash down and put it back in the oven. Luckily nobody ever knew... until now.
“In 1985 I was in Korem, Ethiopia working for a major charity amidst one of the harshest famines in Africa. It was a grim, and the hours we worked were long and arduous. Christmas Day approached and I was fortunate enough to have the day off, so a friend and I headed out of the camp and took the company Landover across the desert. Baking hot sun poured down as I tuned into the BBC World Service. My heart soared as the sound of nine lessons and carols blared out of the speakers; it was Christmas Day and I felt homesick, yet strangely comforted, ready to return to Korem with a little more hope.”
“This is a story my Nan told me which I think is what Christmas should be all about. When my Grandma was a young girl her Father had died and as with most in the war period they didn't have a lot. On Christmas morning a parcel was left on their front door. When her mum, brothers and sisters opened it they were delighted to find it contained everything for Christmas dinner, a warm gift for each of the children and a pair of gloves for her mum. My nan's eyes as she told the story told me all I needed to know about how happy someone had made them all that day and she says to this day they never knew who it was but I definitely think it was someone with a wonderful Christmas kind heart.”
Two turkey hats
"It was our first date! We decided to meet in London, near Christmas, and I wanted to make a lasting impression! I bought two huge turkey hats and thought it would be a giggle for us to wear them around London. He loved the idea, but then he decided we should go one better!
We walked into Harrods, very earnestly, wearing the turkey hats, and asked very seriously if we were in the right place for the NPCT (National Prevention of Cruelty to Turkeys) meet-up. They took us completely seriously and even offered to get us a glass of water and find out if we should be there as there were some meetings going on upstairs!
When they came down and sadly said we must have the wrong building, I was almost crying.
Laughing our heads off we left to finish our date! We are now married with four kids! Perhaps the NPCT should have another meet up at Harrods again soon! "
Oh plug it!
"In the early 1980's, I had been dating my then boyfriend for a few years. I had dropped several hints about getting engaged, even mentioning my favourite precious stone, bit it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
On Christmas morning he arrived at my parents' house with several gifts for me. One was a very small one and my boyfriend told me to open that one last. My Mum gave me a knowing look, my heart was pounding. I opened my gifts, the penultimate one being a hairdryer.
My hands started to shake as I opened the last gift. I wondered if it was a diamond in white gold. NO!! It was a plug for the hairdryer!!
We still laugh about it today. We have been married for 30 years now, so I did eventually get my diamond ring!"
The Jury’s in on love!
I was staying in your Jurys hotel in Cork three years ago over Christmas and meet a guy there on a night out. We went out for a few years and then he left to work abroad; it broke my heart. We kept in contact, and now this year he ventured home, and arrive at my house without telling me he has returned home through his job, and wants to start again. He wants to return to the place we met many years ago.
Real reason for the season
Ruth, location unknown
“It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas – oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending...the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.
It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won", he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."
Mike loved kids – all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.
The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
May we all remember each other, the real reason for the season, and his true spirit this year and always. God bless."
Feel free to contribute your own special Christmas story, or get involved and support your favourite so far! Remember, the winner will receive a free family break at any one of our lovely city centre hotels!