1. Giving Santa All The Credit
My wife and I bust our collective asses providing for the children and making sure they have everything they need. When December 25 rolls around, I don’t want the fat guy in red stealing our thunder. We still talk about Santa and I play the game every time they say something like “How does Santa deliver all those toys around the world in ONE NIGHT?” or “How does Santa fit down our tiny chimney?”
Santa gives our kids toothbrushes and underwear, not the big-ass Lego set. Kids, this gift was made possible by a Danish factory and mommy’s hard work. Remember all those times she wasn’t here for dinner? These are blood LEGOS. Enjoy!
2. Elf on The Shelf
I don’t know what possesses people to put a creepy little doll around their house that effs everything up. I thought these things were supposed to keep your kids from being naughty? If you need a doll to get your kids to behave for one month leading up to Christmas, you have bigger problems on your hands. It’s not that these Elf on the Shelf packs are a special item either. You can go into any store and buy them. How do you explain to your kids that your elf is really a magical one and not an end-cap store special for a parent at the end of their holiday rope?
Moving a creepy doll around my house every day just to see the look on my kid’s faces as to why he moves? I can’t even remember to slip that dollar under the pillow like some nighttime ninja when the tooth fairy visits. My kids would have the laziest elf who never wanted to move around the house because he must like only that one spot. That’s an aggravation I don’t need.
3. Cutting Down Your Own Christmas Tree
My dad always meant well, trying to come up with Christmas traditions us kids would really remember. He succeeded in that this one was hard to forget. It always seemed that the best trees were miles from the Christmas tree farm’s main wrapping area and usually the snow was deep. I mostly remember being cold.
I know now why my dad went to a plastic tree and why, to make it more authentic, he would hang pine tree air fresheners. “Can’t tell the difference can you son?” he would say. No watering the tree, no sap, and certainly no squirrels in your living room.
4. Shopping at the Mall
No way in hell. From the parking to the massive amounts of people, shopping at the mall is everything I hate about the holiday season. The kids go loopy telling me they want every toy in the building, other parents’ screaming kids, and frantic parents trying to sneak toys into a bag when the urchins aren’t looking? No thank you.
Fighting people over an item that I can have delivered right to my door through Amazon by a guy in a delivery truck while I eat cookies in my pajamas sounds more fun.
5. Formal Christmas Photo
I won’t drag my family to a studio to snap a picture of us all in our matching sweaters. Besides, this is how it is going to go: The only people who will be looking at the camera will be me and my wife. Our three kids will all be looking in a different direction with my oldest son being closest to actually looking at the camera. My middle daughter will give us that creepy smile that isn’t a real smile, and the 3-year-old will look anywhere BUT the camera.
With digital photography being what it is today, I know I am going to have to Photoshop a head from another photo for each kid. I may even switch out the head from the school pictures just to ensure everyone is smiling.
6. Having My Kids Help Me With Christmas Lights
Maybe someday they will be up for it and I can make them climb on the roof like my dad let me do while he drank coffee supervised from the ground. Someday I might even assign them the death-defying task of attaching the wooden Santa to the chimney.
For now, I like being out there myself applying all my dad taught me about outdoor illumination. Just a man and his 10,000 individual bulbs to check. I mean, my kids can’t even get a knot out of their sneakers so why would I trust them with the lights? No, this dad enjoys figuring out which of our 50 extensions cords actually will handle the wattage for all our lights this year.
Of all the Christmas traditions, this is one better left to professionals who can actually carry a tune. I’m not freezing my keister off going from door to door to spread holiday cheer. I am that guy in church lip synching to try to blend in with the guys belting out “Hallelujah” behind me. It’s not pretty.
If I show up at your doorstep trying to sing Jingle Bells off-key, I give you permission to slam the door and send me home for some hot chocolate. Also, if you come to my house, don’t be offended that I am not opening the door. I can hear you perfectly fine without letting all that icy winter air starting up my furnace.
8. Getting A Picture With Santa
We all know how this goes. We build this up to be such a great thing and then we willingly have our kids sit on a strange man’s lap. Then we are surprised that they find this a scary situation.
I checked on Santa’s rates at the mall and he is charging $20 to $30 for you not to take pictures with your own camera. Sorry, but at $20 a head and three kids who want to tell this stranger what they want for Christmas when I already know, I’d rather blow that cash on ingredients to make Coquito and get myself liquored up on Christmas Eve instead.
So to these Christmas traditions, I say: Bah humbug!
A version of this first appeared on DadNCharge.