How to ruin Christ­mas

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - CHUCK BROWN

Well, it’s just about that time of year again. You can feel it in the air and you can see it in peo­ple’s faces. It’s time to ruin Christ­mas.

Ru­in­ing Christ­mas is a won­der­ful tra­di­tion dat­ing back to, well, dat­ing back to Christ­mas. I mean, there were all kinds of char­ac­ters try­ing to ruin that first Christ­mas. Not only were there all those jerk innkeep­ers who said there were no va­can­cies, there was also the one innkeeper who was sup­posed to be such a great guy be­cause he let Joseph and Mary stay in his barn.

Nice. Wow. How gen­er­ous. What a hero. I’ve tried to ruin a few Christ­mases in my day but I also went out of my way to not ruin Christ­mas oc­ca­sion­ally.

One year, around this time, I ca­su­ally wan­dered into my dad’s lit­tle work­shop in our base­ment and right there, in plain view, was a road hockey net that looked just like the one I iden­ti­fied in the Sears “Christ­mas Wish Book.”

Did I freak out and try to drag it out of the house and into the street so I could start rip­ping ten­nis ball snap­pers top shelf ? Did I go run­ning to my par­ents to tell them that I found my not-so-hid­den present and it has my faith in Santa shook? No. No, I did not.

I looked around, made sure no one saw me, qui­etly back­tracked, shut the door and got the heck away from this lit­tle crime scene.

I wasn’t al­ways such an an­gel. An­other year I re­mem­ber very well wak­ing up in the mid­dle of the night and tip­toe­ing out to the liv­ing room to sneak a peek and see if Santa came. Well ... he did! Did he ever.

Even in the dark­ness, it looked like I must have been a re­ally good boy that year. Not like, “Meh, yeah, sure you can go ahead and give birth in my barn” nice. But nice.

I could see a stock­ing over­flow­ing with stuff and lots of wrapped presents that I just knew con­tained toys that re­quired “some assem­bly” and those presents were al­ways the best.

Twirly ta­ble hockey ta­bles re­quired “some assem­bly.” Race car sets re­quired “some assem­bly.” The “Planet of the Apes” tree fort play­set I wanted re­quired all kinds of assem­bly and I was just bet­ting it was un­der that tree and I was ready to watch my dad as­sem­ble it.

We had a thing in my fam­ily, though. I couldn’t just open presents. I had to wake up my older sis­ter and then we had to wake up the par­ents.

Ugh. All these peo­ple were older than me, way older, and they didn’t get nearly as ex­cited as me about Christ­mas be­cause they didn’t have “Planet of the Apes” play­sets call­ing their names.

I tried my sis­ter. She told me to go back to bed. I told her she’s not re­lated to me. I tried my par­ents. They told me to go back to bed, too.

Those mon­sters.

I went back to bed like a good Christ­mas boy. And I cried and I cried and I cried and I fell back asleep.

After what felt like hours, maybe days, I woke up and tried the whole rou­tine again. It was 4 a.m. No luck.

So, I cried some more and then worked hard to cry louder and louder un­til the whole fam­ily woke up and then I was jolly again.

What a jerk. But not as big a jerk as my wife when she was a kid.

She once ru­ined Christ­mas by con­vinc­ing her younger sis­ter to get up with her and open ev­ery­thing un­der the tree with­out even try­ing to wake their par­ents. They went at it and tore the wrap­ping off a Com­modore VIC-20 com­puter, a Snoopy Sno-Cone Ma­chine and all kinds of other things their par­ents, who re­ally had no money at the time, bought and wrapped all be­cause they wanted to see the joy on their girls’ faces.

Christ­mas ru­ined.

But, we tell these sto­ries year after year and we laugh and we laugh. And then we warn our kids not to do any­thing to ruin Christ­mas.

Chuck Brown can be reached at [email protected]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.