I love the tradition of putting up and decorating the Christmas tree in our house but I always seem to get in the way of my wife and kids. What can I do to get more involved?
Signed Frustrated Frank
Let me be honest with you pal. Don’t meddle where you don’t belong.
You need to understand the order of things to ensure peace and stability is maintained in your home.
I know you think as the Father of the house that you have every right to be in the thick of Christmas traditions like this. But you don’t.
The natural order is best understood by considering your place in the food chain. If your family (and my ancestors before me) is anything like mine, you sit only marginally above the family dog in the chain of command. The simple way to comprehend this it to look at whether those in the food chain are designed to function best inside or outside the home.
Take your cat. He/she sits higher than you, as they live predominantly inside and will show you contempt by constantly flashing you their anus and will ignore any attempt you make at domesticating them. Goldfish – higher than you also. Your Mother-In-Law will support this and argue that you have a lower I.Q. than the fish.
So consider yourself king of the externals if you will, master of all outside animals along with your dog, the possums and the geckoes.
The BBQ and garden tools are located outside for a reason.
Once you accept this natural order, you can start to let go and let the rest of your family manage the internal stuff. Unfortunately for you this includes missing out on activities like putting up and decorating your Christmas tree.
And this applies to any household type if you’re the oldest male. The only exception is for an all male household in which case you’ll either all quite merrily decorate the tree together or just get drunk and use the box the tree comes in for cricket stumps.
So leave the finer points of decoration to the experts. Let them debate whether to place an angel or a star on top of the tree (more about that topic in the coming days). What colour scheme of tinsel to use. Whether the baubles match the tinsel. The correct order and angle to hang the Christmas stockings and whether or not to spray-paint the pinecones to give them a little “tszuj.”
What’s more, by allowing your family to conduct this activity without you, they can engage in the natural bonding that can often occur when conducting such activities.
But this isn’t all a bad thing. The outside is a wonderful place to be as long as it’s not raining. You can make it your domain. One way to do this and to mark your territory as a signal to the other outside pets is with lights and shitloads of them. Leave your masters inside to fuss with delicate Christmas tree lighting.
You have the entire house and garden to illuminate. And further, whilst your family is busy bonding and making the perfect Christmas tree, there’s a magical place where you’ll feel right at home and you’ll find all of the things you need to create your outside lighting masterpiece. Bunnings.
It’s generally accepted you don’t even have to buy much at Bunnings to justify spending 4 or 5 solid hours there. It’s more about the wonderful experience of seeing a world of things you never thought existed. A little like walking on the moon, but where you get to wear thongs, a singlet and walk out with a sausage at the end.
And you have permission to do this because your superiors know it’s where you belong and it’s good for you. It’s your equivalent of going to the dog park.
You’ll get all the Christmas lighting you need and you can never have enough no-more-gaps in your tool shed if you really feel you need to justify buying something extra.
So off you go. Leave the finer points of decoration for the experts and take yourself off to hunt for outside tools and Yuletide luminescence.
Your frustration will soon disappear and your tail will be wagging Frank.