by Bradley C.
After much demand from everyone, with my fans running to me in piles, begging for some explanation of the Crislip Christmas Family Traditions, (usually abbreviated to CCFT), I decided to go for it. Putting up the christmas tree every year always has the risk of tearing the Crislip family apart.
My dad, who is probably the calmest, goofiest person that I know, flips a switch whenever we go and get the Christmas tree. Years of missed JV basketball shots from me, and my brothers 5th grade retirement from skateboarding, which I think my dad thought my brother somehow had a talent in because he almost completed an ollie after 5 years of effort, finally build up around this time.
My mom, desperate for some christmas cheer, makes my brother and I come with her and my dad to go pick out a christmas tree, even though we would way rather eat pizza, drink soda, listen to our walkmen, and watch Happy Days as us teenagers like to do. We hop into the car, my dad is beaming in happiness at the thought of getting frustrated at the christmas tree, and we go on our way.
Apparently we like to choose the weirdest possible christmas tree vendor we can find, usually one who is balding incredibly at the top of his head, but likes to grow the short amount of hair he has in the back as much as he can, as a way to distract everyone from his shiny head. These guys obviously have no idea what they’re doing, and seem genuinely surprised when we ask for a christmas tree, and look around in shock when they see they’re surrounded by trees.
My mom, wanting to have “fun” or something terrible like that, have Jeff and I look around for trees, as my dad paces around, wondering why there hasn’t been anything to get mad at my brother and I about. We find the most slippery, biggest, unshaped for the top of the car as we could find, as the vendor looks even more surprised when he finds out that we want to give him money for one of these trees. The looks on their faces was one of pure panic when we informed them that we’d give them a few extra bucks to put our christmas tree on top of our car, as they we desperately try to explain to them what rope is.
My mom, terrified of this guy because of the tattoo of a loving heard on his arm, holds me and my brother back as he reaches into his pocket, even though she’s a small 5’2 minnesotan woman, and Jeff and I are both full grown, athletic freaks, both around 5’8. The guy, still unsure about what rope is, takes off his shoe lace, and gives an admirable effort to try and tie the christmas tree on our car. We go on our way, as the 5 minute drive to our house turns into decades, since I think the vendor doused the tree in butter before he tied it up, as the christmas tree could not move without violently falling off the car. My brother and I use our athletic prowess to hold the tree up, as my dad looks sternly at me, as flashbacks of my missed putts in my 4th grade summer golf tournaments fill up his mind.
We get home, where my grandma and my uncle david are waiting anxiously, both starving, since they’re winter diet of strictly only candy canes wasn’t working out for them. We put up the tree, as my dad asks “DO WE EVEN NEED TO HAVE CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR??” over and over again. Next comes the ornaments, which all seem to shatter at all of our touches, making our christmas tree and its surrounding areas more of a dangerous zone of broken glass than anything else.
My Uncle David sits on the couch, pretending he’s doing any type of work. The pride and joy of my Uncle David’s life, is his big screen tv, so he constantly berates me about how I’ll never be anything unless I upgrade “to at least a 50 inch flatscreen.” We finish up the decorations, as my grandma challenges me to a game of ping pong. This sounds like a good time, but this is the olympics for my grandma, as she mercilessly beats me 21-0, using her still prime athletic gifts to put me to shame, which is probably our most consistent family tradition.