There is a rite of passage, one that is more clear to me with each passing year, for fathers languishing through Christmastime. I think there’s a degree (varying from person to person*) to which the holidays lose their luster as we get older, but for fathers, there are absolutely escalating bouts with abject misery associated, specifically, with decorating.
We’ve seen it depicted in media for years. The Simpsons. A Christmas Story. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. That even adept fathers can be catastrophically bad at decorating is no real shock. It’s practically a damn tradition, mental images of which are conjured in the same train of thought as presents, reindeer, and Santa Claus. And this is almost always played for laughs — like our misfortune exists to delight those lucky enough to observe it.
I’ve barely decorated beyond the tree and ornaments, and I already feel completely over this holiday. Lugging stuff out of storage, rifling through box after box, and (worst of all) trying to get the tree topper to plug in when the cord is just TWO INCHES too short**. And the glitter. THE F***ING GLITTER.
By the time it’s all finished, if you want to call a floor covered in fake fir needles and sparkly sand “finished,” I’ve lost any feeling of joy and wonder and am left contemplating what I ever liked about this godforsaken holiday to begin with.
* Yes, yes, I GET it…there are grown adults who REALLY love Christmas. But they also don’t STILL believe in Santa Claus (I HOPE), so yes, SOME of the luster wears off.
** “Maybe you need an extension cord.” – my wife, willingly pushing me over the edge.