Is your dad a chill guy? Mine is. He’s funny, he’s about as maternal Mr. Mom as it gets, and he rarely gets mad. Except around the holidays.
Growing up, I always associated Christmas with the one time each year we would actually see my dad rage the hell out. Not in a way that should elicit an uncomfortable face from you right now, but in a hilarious, tomato-faced, wide-eyed, “Sonova...!”-exclaiming and, now, extremely nostalgic way.
Think about it: Every single thing you loved about Christmas as a kid was single-handedly responsible for Dad Anger everywhere: Mutant Christmas trees, impossible-to-wrap presents, inclement weather ... .
So I ask: Is Christmas really just out to destroy our fathers? It’s a theory I’ve been considering as I think back to all of holidays past and the awkward kid feelings we felt while trapped in the same room with Mad Christmas Dad. Here’s the evidence.
Finding a Christmas tree
Mom sticks you by a tree she likes while she meanders through the miles and miles of other trees that look exactly the same. Dad paces nearby with a saw in hand trying to keep his frozen mitts from shattering into a million pieces. Just like his brain.
Cutting down the Christmas tree
Your mom finally picks the tree—and spends 20 minutes trying to find where she left you, after she TOLD you not to move—but somebody gave your dad a “dull saw,” and that piece of crap tree isn’t going anywhere. Or the mutant tree mysteriously has, like, eight trunks. And it’s only the day after Thanksgiving. And he just ... can’t ... take it ... anymore.
Dad, who can’t handle cooking mac ’n’ cheese on the stove when mom’s out, is in charge of climbing onto the roof and attaching a delicate string of lights to the perimeter of the house? I always held my breath for my dad, fearing either he’d be injured in a freak run-in with a crow or, in a fit of suicidal rage, crush and eat that one bulb that had burned out and rendered the entire set useless.
The cat peed on the tree
Well, she did ONLY if your already epically pissed-off dad managed to get the mutant tree into the stand. Then, “that damn cat” totally didn’t get fed for three days.
“It’s all wet! All of it! It’s [bleepin’] wet!” Which spawns another disastrous problem: cold, cranky Mom. But that’s a topic for another column.
How do some parents just know how to perfectly wrap presents, anyway? When do they teach that? Or do they just automatically achieve an otherworldly level of ambidexterity upon childbirth, along with patience and eagle eyes? The fun part of having a dad who sucks at wrapping, though, is that he’ll never notice (or just won’t tell your mom) that you unwrapped them all when he went to sleep and then rewrapped them before the morning.
Cleaning up the Christmas tree
Pine needles. Everywhere. There’s a pattern here.
This has been an ode to my dad. He may not be the handiest one out there, but I guess that’s what sugar daddies are for? I think I’m confused.
Jessica Galliart is RedEye's Social Media Lady. firstname.lastname@example.org
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