What are siblings for, if not to epically torture/embarrass/make you regret your entire existence? Or, in the case of one Canadian family this week, to pull off a prank so hilarious, it instantly goes viral?
According to Jo-Ann Murphy of Newfoundland, her two kids Jennifer and Ryan are your “typical siblings” — in other words, sometimes they love each other, and sometimes … well, not so much. But they’re both always up for a good laugh, which they certainly had on the afternoon of December 17.
It all started when 9-year-old Jennifer wanted to play in the snow. According to Jo-Ann, 13-year-old Ryan “wanted no part of it, so he stayed in his room and texted as teenagers do.” Truth be told though, Jo-Ann wanted no part of it, either, since the temperature had dipped quite a bit after the previous night’s snowfall. But after her daughter couldn’t find anyone else in the neighborhood to play in the snow with her, Jo-Ann suited up and headed outside.
There on the front lawn, mother and daughter began to build a snowman — or rather, they tried to build a snowman.
“We quickly realized that the snow was actually too hard to be able to mold into a ball,” Jo-Ann tells Babble. “Terrified that she would ask me to do something more strenuous, like sliding, I suggested we make a little note on the side of the snowbank with some left over crafting spray paint we had.” (Well played there, Mom.)
And so, a genius idea was born — “out of pure laziness” according to Jo-Ann.
“Jennifer is always up for my silly ideas,” the mom of two explains, and the pair were soon giggling while brainstorming all sorts of humorous messages to scrawl in the snowbank for Santa.
“Santa, stop here,” went one idea. “This is the good house, but the neighbors are naughty.”
Only problem with that one was, their neighbors might not find the humor in it as much as they would. So they switched tactics, and instead scrawled the following message:
SANTA STOP HERE. LEAVE PRESENTS. TAKE BROTHER!
Pretty hilarious, right? But soon, the Murphys weren’t the only ones laughing.
“As neighbors drove by, they slowed down and laughed,” says Jo-Ann. “There were also some neighbors out snow-blowing their driveways having a chuckle.”
When they were finished with the message, Jo-Ann snapped some quick photos and even shot a quick video on her phone that she sent to Ryan, who was still upstairs in his room, totally oblivious to what was going on outside.
Turns out, it gave him a chuckle, too.
“He was amused and thought it was funny,” says Jo-Ann, “in a ‘Mom/Jenny, you’re lame’ kinda way.”
Jo-Ann posted the photo to Facebook later that afternoon, and the next day, started fielding messages from friends all over town who were suddenly asking for her autograph.
“Apparently, someone drove by my house, thought it was hilarious and snapped a picture and sent it to our local radio station who proceeded to put it on their Facebook page,” Jo-Ann shares. “It was a cute little write up taking it at face value that it was a sister writing a letter to Santa Claus.”
In the days since, that funny little message in the snow has gone seriously viral, and according to Jo-Ann, it’s been pretty incredible to watch it take on a life of its own.
“It was absolutely thrilling and hilarious that our little joke was being seen across the province, then the country and then in other places around the world,” she tells Babble. “The kids and I were just having a blast and loving that we were making people laugh.”
Of course, the Internet being … well, the Internet, Jo-Ann says the harmless joke has also gotten its fair share of criticism, too. Plenty of Facebook users seem to have gotten carried away in the comments section, with some taking the joke too literally and wondering aloud why a 9-year-old would still believe in Santa. Others went so far as to call Jennifer a “spoiled brat.”
But the Murphys remain undeterred.
“At the end of the day, I feel really blessed that so many people enjoyed it, that our family created this amazing memory to cherish, and also to be able to use it as a teaching moment of the magnitude and reach of the Internet,” says Jo-Ann.
Sounds like a good call to me. Especially since, with a prank-loving family like this one, this might not be the only time they see one of their jokes go viral …