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It's Christmas in Texas

Updated on December 13, 2020

Ah it’s mid-October and it’s the holiday season. I know this, because they’re putting out the Christmas decorations at Walmart. We haven’t even snacked on our Halloween candy yet, and already they’re wetting our lips with holiday cheer.

I want to get a Christmas tree. Now I don’t mean the pitiful four-foot-tall shrub that some city dwellers call a tree. I want the kind of tree my family had as a child, which towers a monstrous eight feet tall!

As a child putting up the tree started with my father and myself. He would drag the realistically fake tree down from the attic, attempt to assemble it and get frustrated, then call me to finish the job. I would gleefully comply. Then we’d pull out three massive boxes full of ornaments, lights, and other random Christmassy (I’m pretty sure “Christmassy” is a real word) things. Then we would decorate like mad, turning a freakish monstrosity that looked like a giant furry skeleton into something resembling a real decorative pine tree imbued with Christmas spirit.

As the years went on my father didn’t seem to care about taking out the tree. I should note that it didn’t take long for him to stop wanting to take on this arduous task; it was probably right after he figured out that I’d happily do all the work. So I’d take the giant tree box down from the attic by myself. I wasn’t yet strong enough to safely carry the tree down the stairs so I’d just kinda let it fall on me. Then I would drag everything into the living room, move the furniture, set everything up, and decorate it all. Since I was now in charge of the project I had much more creative control. We had a large surplus of Christmas lights so I made sure to use ALL OF THEM, wrapping them around and around in a glorious multicolored blinking and flashing fire hazard. If we had the curtains open I’m sure our house would be a beacon in the night, like a single-story landlocked lighthouse.

One of the activities we would do involved driving to a rich neighborhood several miles away to look at houses completely covered in Christmas lights. No one in our neighborhood ever did this, because we didn’t have a powerful enough homeowner’s association to force us into risking our lives for matching houses. This other neighborhood was usually packed with cars every night during the holiday season as many people from far and away came to view their perfect facade. Every house on every street was completely covered in perfect white lights...except one. I imagine this person must’ve barricaded his door so the holiday police couldn’t get in. This was fun for a short while until my mother started complaining that there was no way to get out of the neighborhood. I’m sure that’s how many of the residents ended up living here.

Of course the climax of the holiday season for our family rested not on Christmas morning, but the night of Christmas Eve. I guess we were greedy and wanted our toys early. However, it was a house rule that we had to attend the evening church service before we could go home and open our presents. The service itself only lasted an hour, however for me it felt like six days.

Some years I managed to circumvent the house rules much to the dismay of my parents and somehow myself as well. There are times where I would wake up at five o’clock in the morning on Christmas Eve, not being able to control my wanton desire for new toys, and thoroughly ravage the thin paper wrappings of my gift boxes. Of course I had to see the disapproving gazes of my parents as they forced me to sit quietly while they opened the presents for each other as slowly as possible.

One year I happened to be grounded from my TV and video game privileges right around the holiday season. And of course I received two shiny new Nintendo games for Christmas: “The Legend of Zelda” and “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link”. I thought that maybe my parents had planned this as the coup de gras of parental holiday punishment, but I knew better...especially since I had discovered the cartridges during a quick investigation six weeks before I was ever grounded. Both cartridges glistened with a golden plastic sheen, taunting me, laughing at me. It was the longest four days of my life.

Of course now I live in my own place with no kids, so I decide when I put the tree up and when I open my presents. Now all I need is a large bank account to fund my toy obsession. So if you need a greedy surrogate 30-year-old child my rates are reasonable.


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