We kind of have this sporadic family tradition of going and cutting down our own Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm.
Last year we were only a couple weeks from Christmas and not in the mood to do anything other than ask some poor schmuck at Home Depot to strap an overpriced dying tree to the roof of my car for a $0 tip because I suck at carrying cash around.
This year…the wife wanted to drive an hour each way to a farm that also had tractor rides, donuts, crafts, cider, and a dude in overalls with three teeth who spoke a language the cast of Deliverance would even have a hard time understanding.
*A quick side note: Fact - The wife loves to do things in the name of “making family memories” that I can clearly identify as “situations that will suck, create unnecessary whining amongst the little bastards, and eventually fuel me to blow my top in an effort to reign-in a situation completely and totally out of control.”
So we pile our happy little family into the car. It’s snowing like crazy outside as we head to this lovely sprawling tree farm located just a smidge to the north, northwest of bum-fuck.
Ten minutes into the ride the kids are screaming over the backseat middle armrest.
Three minutes later the daughter’s “bored.”
Nine minutes, 12 seconds later the boy’s stomach “hurts a little I think, but I’m not really sure…maybe if I fart it’ll help.”
Twenty seconds and one fart later the girl is crying because “Grayson farted on me and it stinks!”
Two minutes later the girl is half out of her seatbelt, pulling her snow-pants and boots off while whining because “life is too hard!!”
Five minutes later the car is pulled over to the side of the road as I’m being a Billy-Bad-Ass and laying the law down while I use my peripherals to make sure 18-wheeler trucks barreling down the Interstate aren’t about to turn us into a News at 5 with Jack Sherwoodstrassenford reporter-guy sob story.
It kinda continues this way till we get there. Ahhhh the memories.
Upon arrival we gear-up into our snow-garb. I grab a saw to begin a really shitty attempt at being a man in front of the family.
The kids throw snowballs at everything except the scary guy in overalls who speaks scary-farm-guy-tongue.
I cut down an overpriced tree with huge gaps in it that the wife really wanted because “it has a special yellow $30 tag on it,” and I spend 10 minutes strapping it to my car knowing we have a horrific hour-long interstate ride left to go home.
We then head into the “farmhouse” to get our free donut and apple cider.
This is when the Fake Santa comes into play.
We round the corner and there in all his glory is Santa! The kids start getting shy and whisper back-and-forth what they’re going to tell Fake Santa they want.
It’s the mecca of all family Christmas tree chopping down memory making events! Fake Santa’s in the house!!!
But as we approach, the wife and I begin to notice something’s a bit off with this particular Fake Santa.
He appears to be a demented, stroked-out, half-dead, redneck Fake Santa who’s “Elf” is literally texting her ass-off while throwing candy canes at anything under 4.5 feet tall and wishing them a Merry Christmas.
As my son half-sits on Fake Santa’s knee with a frightened look on his face and pondering his inner-toy desires, the old-man chomps his loose dentures while mumbling and looking off into space.
“I would like a Razor Scooter for Christmas please Santa,” was what the boy tries telling Fake Santa. But every time he started, Fake Santa says “What?!”
Like an old married couple sitting over a Grand Slam breakfast at IHOP struggling to hear what the other is saying, Fake Santa and the boy talk over each other, getting louder and louder by the second till Grayson stands and just says, “oh I’ll just write you a letter!!”
The texting Elf chucks a candy-cane at the boy’s chest and announces, “Merry Christmas. Next!”
Now there’s no way in hell the girl’s going anywhere near Fake Santa. But in an effort to entice her, Fake Santa manages to mumble, “you wanna come ring my bells little girl?” as he jingles his reindeer bells mere inches from his crotch.
“Happy Holidays Santa,” I announce as I whisk my family away from this horrific scene.
“Daddy? Was that Santa real?” the boy immediately asks as we walk away.
“No buddy. That was a Fake Santa. Sometimes businesses will hire fake Santas just to give a festive feeling to shoppers. And that one was a really bad fake Santa,” I said.
“Yeah. The other one at Marshall Fields downtown was much livelier than this one.”
“That’s right Grayson. This fake Santa’s probably going to die before we even get to the car. But he gave it a good shot didn’t he?”
“Why were his teeth falling out of his face?”
“Hey! Who wants more hot chocolate?!” I ask trying to change the subject.
Later on the car ride home, the wife gave me a whispered tongue lashing for revealing the imminent death of Fake Santa to the children. And in the back seat our little angels were sleeping.
A Christmas memory had been made.