Gloria Vanderbilt’s Pet Horse


Don’t let these faces fool you….

I spent my weekend putting the finishing touches on the Christmas decorations. As I was strategically placing the Santa’s around the house I couldn’t help but laugh.

Christmas time is filled with stories. They rest between the decorations, the ornaments and our families just waiting to be told each year. Some things never get old, especially when they make us laugh.

I was remembering the day when I told my son, who was 4 at the time, he better be on his best behavior because Santa was watching him. Mothers around the world wait all year for this moment. Well, when I came back in the room he had all the Santa’s facing the wall so that they couldn’t “see” what he was doing. Brilliant!

That memory really made me pause and realize how quickly these moments pass through our lives. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Santa was bringing me my Madame Alexander baby doll? I remember it like it was yesterday!  


We will believe everything you tell us.

My sister and I woke up at the crack of dawn that Christmas, just as Mr. & Mrs. Clause went to bed, to examine our loot. I quickly picked up one of the dolls and ran into my parents room to display my treasure. I was filled with excitement!

I’ll never forget my mother slightly raising her very tired head while stating “that is your sister’s doll yours has the light hair.” No questions were asked as to how she received such highly classified information before heading back downstairs to retrieve what was rightfully mine. My own children would never have been this easy on me! 

Who really knows what went on in our gullible little heads, but we seemed to be extremely accepting of the fact that Santa ditched the elves for special projects and periodically shopped at Sears. This according to the neck of my guitar anyway. 

I do remember asking about it and happily accepting whatever I was told. No interrogation, hot lights & saltines for my parents, just pure acceptance of whatever they were selling. This included the illusion that Santa himself made the executive decision to distribute matching gifts to my sister and I. This lack of effort tradition went on for YEARS.

Sadly during the Christmas of approximately 1977, Mrs. Clause was under the misguided notion that it would somehow remain acceptable to continue the duel gifts, separated by color method this particular year. Poor thing never saw the uprising of the female teenager in our home.

Unbeknownst to anyone present, my sister was at her breaking point with the lack of surprises as we opened our gifts. I had just opened a box containing a blue bathrobe, that I was thrilled to receive, as my sister was holding an unwrapped box that mirrored mine. The last thing I remember saying was “I bet that’s a robe.”  

Gloria riding her pet horse a/k/a G. Photo courtesy of Everything Anderson

Gloria riding her pet horse a/k/a G.
Photo courtesy of Everything Anderson

Years of pent-up disappointment surfaced as we all watched her explode, ranting something about colors, before running upstairs to slam the bedroom door.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like a teenage hissy fit. Mrs. Clause just looked at me and said “I don’t know who your sister thinks she is, but she’s NOT Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.”  What?

The confrontation was still going on, which really put a damper on my present opening. It probably wasn’t a good idea to inform my sibling that “I just opened blue slippers yours are probably pink” during the mayhem. Honestly though, little sisters around the globe live for these moments. We must embrace these opportunities when they fall upon us, we just do. 

My mother/Mrs. Clause had enough as she yelled up the stairs to my ungrateful sister. Again letting her know that she was not “Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse.” At that moment my sister came down the steps prancing and neighing like, you guess it, a HORSE.  I believe my sister thought “if being Gloria Vanderbilt’s pet horse meant getting individual gifts, so be it!” Laughter ensued, Christmas continued and my sister perfected her imitation of a well-bred horse by the day’s end. Meanwhile I was still wondering “Who the hell is Gloria Vanderbilt?”

Often times when we think about Christmas, the first thing that comes to mind is a great laugh. Christmas and laughing go hand in hand, whether it be Santa’s deep belly “Ho Ho Ho – Merry Christmas!” laugh, the giggle of excited children ripping apart the wrapping on their Christmas presents, or the doubled over gasping for air reaction to the well orchestrated imitation of an entitled horse from your ungrateful teenage sister. It’s all good!

If you celebrate Christmas I’m sure you can recall at least one thing that has happened which made you laugh so hard your belly hurt! Take time this season to share your funny stories, connect your hearts with those you care about and of course … Enjoy the Ride!

33 responses

  1. I don’t know who Gloria Vanderbilt is either…

    1. You might recognize her name written across the ass of some well fitted jeans, other than that, it’s irrelevant.

      1. Well, I am an ass man…

      2. Not at all. Some of us are boob men. I think…

  2. hilarious!! having two sisters myself, I remember a lot of outbursts! Having raised two girls I have experienced the other side also… this was a great post, thanks for sharing! DAF

  3. Tops, this was terrific. Although we never would have dared to object to any presents we received. I remember sucking it up and saying I loved the Tammy doll I got when I was 14 … I never liked Barbie and Tammy was a total wuus. Ah, the traumas of childhood….

    1. I hated Barbies too! Not that you should be surprised by that piece of information. I had a Dawn doll…I think she was the distance black step cousin of Barbie, I’m not sure.

      1. I am visiting my niece and her daughter who is in the “Barbie age”. I keep wanting to relive one of my first memories, of holding the feet of my sister’s Barbie while our dog chewed on her head. Sadly, I can no longer get away with such things!

      2. That really is a pity, because that my friend would be a YouTube sensation.

      3. Yes, I was clearly born too soon!

  4. Michelle Gillies | Reply

    Sisters! I had a house full of them and believe me there are stories. Of course they have plenty on me as well. This was great fun to read and I even knew who Gloria was. Her horse however, remains a mystery.

  5. LOL my horses only got apple treats, never a bathrobe and slippers 😉 I don’t remember if my sister and I got matching gifts, but it would have been another one of those things that just “didn’t get mentioned”. However, I LOVE the fun holiday stories.

  6. My favorite childhood memory is when our 6 month old kitty was convinced those paper mountains on the putz around the tree were indeed litter box material. My mother didn’t think it was so funny.

    1. Hahahaha! Oh no, I can certainly see how your mother didn’t find humor in that stunt.

  7. I was an only child so Christmas didn’t include a lot of yelling. The problem was that my family didn’t exactly celebrate Christmas, and I always wanted to so bad! I guess my parents finally gave in one year. I was 5 and Santa and Mrs Clause got me a whole bunch of gifts because I was very good! The next year they never showed up 😦 I was convinced that I’d been very very bad that year.

    1. That is so sad! Mr. & Mrs. Clause most likely had no idea how bad you felt…ugh, that couldn’t be easy on anyone.

      1. Nah it wasn’t so bad, pretty funny though

  8. Funny story and I will never see another photo or read a story of Gloria Vanderbilt without thinking of your mom’s expression. My sister and I enjoyed a series of sets of nightgowns and robes and matching Christmas outfits. I remember feeling liberated when we could dress differently!

    1. Liberated indeed! We still laugh about that expression and my mother still acts like it was the most normal thing to say.

  9. This is a wonderful piece from title to content. I wish you’d send it somewhere for publication. Your son flipping around the Santas is priceless…and the rivalry with your sister over sleepwear is very visual. Mrs. Claus’s crack about GV’s horse is another gem. You made me remember getting Dr. Dentons with feet and the slit in the back. Really enjoyed this.

    1. Thank you so much. If we take a minute, we all have a story or two about Christmas that makes us laugh.

  10. I love this post because it brings back so many memories. I have a baby brother and I hated the way he threw tinsel on our tree! I wanted each piece to hang perfectly straight and to look like icicles. He wanted total chaos. And so it goes…. no more tinsel though. 🙂

    1. Baby brother are notorious for total chaos. I cringe at the thought of tinsel in those chaotic little hands.

  11. I am literally dying over here! Somewhere deep within a photo album is a picture of me and my four sisters dressed in the same striped dress but you guessed it…different colors. Being the last of the “Great Eight” we were surprised she could afford the matching purses…Great Post!!!

    1. It’s a miracle your mom even got to the store with all those kids! Can you imagine?

  12. Oh my, you have opened a can of Christmas memories!

    Gloria Vanderbilt’s horse… hilarious!

  13. One of my mother’s favorite sayings was, so & so “has more nerve than a government mule” when someone was pushy or rude. Lots of Christmas memories since there are lots of years behind me, I’ll have to trot some out for my own blog perhaps.

  14. free penny press | Reply

    What a great post.. needed some reminding of the hilarity of Christmas’s past!!

  15. That was a freaking riot! I’m a little sister too and I would have done the same thing too. And that story about your son, I get it now … no wonder you laugh at my son, he must be like yours was 🙂

  16. “Nothing says Merry Christmas like a teenage hissy fit.” This is too funny. It sounds like a bad country song. Let’s bring back the Judds for it (sing it to the tune of Mamas Don’t Let your Babies grow up to be Cowboys). Being from NC, I am aware of the Vanderbilts as I have been many times to the Biltmore House, yet I have never heard that saying before. My mother is keen on similar, different colored or patterned shirts, robes, pajamans, etc. for my brother and me. If one opens first, it is a given to expect something similar. We at least live in different cities. Take care…..nothing says Merry Christmas like a teenage hissy fit.

  17. Deliberately Delicious | Reply

    I love your mother’s bleary Christmas morning response about the doll! I’ll be thinking about the year my eldest son, who was six at the time, consumed a latge number of Christmas chocolates and was so buzzed out on the caffeine and the excitement that he was still wide awake at 2 am. That was about the time his father threatened to cancel Christmas 🙂

    1. Hahahahaha….I’ve thought about canceling many times myself.

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