Dad’s have been emasculated in many ways over these past years. The time when one of the family around the table would ask a question and the family would wait for Dad to add his wisdom have long since past. Google has a lot to answer for. It’s turned every ten year old into a walking font of knowledge about everything, leaving Dad’s to mull over the impact of most of their generation being replaced in the workplace by a computer chip and the accelerating inverse correlation in life between knowledge and age.
Dad’s though, are not yet consigned to the scrap heap of domestic living. They still know stuff. Stuff like putting up Christmas trees. Years of accumulated knowledge, handed down through the generations from father to son, finds its moment at Christmas when it’s time to put the tree up……… and they haven’t yet made a bloody computer chip that can do that. It starts of course at the Garden Centre when Dad goes into hunter / gatherer mode and selects an improbably large and impractical 9 ft Norwegian Blue specimen at a cost of a small mortgage. Once home, cue the Christmas music, have a brew and stand back and survey the problem. Get back in the car and dash back to the Garden Centre to buy a bigger stand. Have another brew. Then the very precise science of selective sawing, lifting, balancing and securing begins. With a fair wind and a bit of luck, (and several more brews), the task can be completed as quickly as , well, certainly three hours. Traditionally, it’s always been a family event in our house but with everyone away until just before Christmas this year, and Mrs Flashbang off with the Book Club coven last night, I tackled it myself this year. When I sat down and surveyed my work I had one of those rather pleasing self-satisfied Dad moments…… bloody did it.
Incidentally, when I put the angel on top of the tree I was reminded of the time one of the children, when they were little, asked me ‘why do we put an angel on top of the tree.’ This was my answer,
One year, when four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as quickly as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Christmas pressure. Then, Mrs Claus told Santa her mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. He went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, heaven only knows where. When he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a glass of cider and a shot of rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom. Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.