The air is getting a bit cooler, Halloween is 30 days away, so of course it is time that we start to turn our thoughts to Christmas. It seems like year after year, companies start putting out Christmas items earlier and earlier. Walk into any Walgreens pharmacy and you will soon see that retailers are wanting us to start thinking about Christmas earlier each year. In five years they will just probably follow the good ole Southern tradition of leaving Christmas decorations out all year round.
So to start this Christmas season off right I would like to offer a piece of advice that I think all fathers should keep in mind to make sure that Christmas is one that both glorifies God and keeps them sane. Now there are better men that will offer better advice on subjects like family worship during Christmas, how to keep Christ the reason for the season, or detail a theology of Christmas. This is not that. Those, of course, are more important then the advice I have. However I have learned over the past year there are two things that all dads need to have with them, at all times, during the Christmas season. Having these two items will help alleviate much of the frustration a father can feel that special day of the year. These are simple items that all dads should have somewhere. These two items all dads need are: A good pair of wire cutters and a Phillips head screw driver. Let me explain.
If you have small children then you may already know where I am going to go with this. It never fails. It is Christmas day. The kids are hopped up on sugary snacks they only get this time of year. They start to open presents when it happens…”Daddy, Daddy I love it.” (it being some over priced piece of plastic, be it a toy monster truck, baby doll, or something else that you know will hold their attention for at least one afternoon). Can I play with it RIGHT NOW?”
“Of course you can”, you say. The holiday cheer is flowing in your veins. Wanting to see your children happy, you help them rip into the box only to find out that this baby doll has obviously been condemened to a life sentence without possibility of parole. How do you know this? This is the only explanation that any rational person would come up with. Why else would this harmless piece of plastic be tied down to this box with enough twisty-tie wires to ensure that not one lead-painted limb ever moves while in transit from some Chinese factory to the shelves of Toys R Us? What could this “Polly Pee-Pee Doll” have done to warrant the type of restraints that even anti-terrorist CIA operatives refuse to use on the most wanted terrorist? Why does this poor doll that cost 2 dollars to make warrant 8 dollars in packaging, vacuum sealed wrap, and restraints not seen outside insane asylums?
This is where the smart dad comes to the rescue. You have two options at this point.
Option 1: Try to carefully free Polly from the grips of her cardboard capture. Locate every single twisty-tie, carefully and calmly untie every limb so that she could happily find her home in your child’s awaiting arms. The only problem is that you need the dexterity of a brain surgeon, the hands of a small child, and the ice-cold nerves of someone who has dismantled bombs for a living. The reason being is that you will never find all the twisty ties, they are wrapped around each other at least 75 times (an industry standard, I think), your children will be screaming for the emancipation of their new found present, and as soon as you think you have it done, you will rip the doll out only to see that there are still some parts still attached to the box. This is where frustration boils over and you begin to rip this poor innocent doll out of her box while your family looks on in horror at the primeval rage that has just manifested in this once merry father. This is option number one and has for too long been my only option.
Option 2: Not this year. I am coming to Christmas day prepared with a pair of small wire cutters. I will forgo all untying and simply go to cutting Polly out of her cellophane cell. This option allows me to have Polly freed and living her new life in under 8 seconds. I may even have the kids time me to see what my personal best is. I will look like one of those calf ropers, happily standing over empty boxes with hands in the air. Joy and merriment will still rule the day.
The other tool that all dads need with them Christmas day? It is a good Phillips head screw driver. Why? Two reason: The first is that many toy manufacturers have felt that twisty-ties are not enough security to hold down their toys. Many have resorted to securing their toys down to a plastic base. Why? Again I have no idea. Maybe because they think Toy Story was a literal story about toys coming alive at night and feel the need to cement these toys down with screws. Again, 2 dollars worth of toys and 10 dollars worth of packaging.
The other reason is that inevitably there are toys that will need to be put together. Most of these toys come with their own screws. These are not American made, steel plated screws. No, No, No. These are special screws. I think they are a combination of aluminum, candle wax, and sand. The reason I think this is because I don’t know how many times I have had to put one of these toys together. I always looks at the directions, see that they call for a screw driver, and think to myself, “I can get this done twice as fast if I use my power screw driver.” This might be true if they didn’t use these special screws. What happens is you get the power screw driver, begin to put the first screw into place, only to find that with in two seconds you have completely stripped the head of the screw. Now you have to get the screw out somehow and go back to using just the manual screwdriver. I have learned my lesson. No messing with the cordless screwdriver. I will use the good old manual one and save the frustration for another day.
So there is two pieces of advice for keeping Christmas a merry one. Your welcome!