Giving Teenage Angst The Boot With Christmas T-Shirts

By Holly Hollis

For the last few Christmases, my dear family unit has been experiencing a bit of a downward spiral. I am not someone who points fingers or lays blame at everyone else's feet, but saying kids are totally at fault. My wife has fallen in with their general mindset, only because she's an awesome mother and has tons of empathy for them. Well, if they want to start sneering and shooting annoyed glances at one another every time the word "Christmas" is uttered, then that's as good as a declaration of war for me. My weapons of choice shall be humiliation and Christmas t-shirts.

My family has always been really into the Holidays. We're the sort of folks who always leave cookies and milk out on Christmas Eve and always hang our stockings up on the hearth. We even choke down a few pieces of fruitcake each year, even though everyone in this family despises it. Something happened around two years ago. I don't know if it was puberty, rebellion, or just plain teenage angst. Whatever it was, it has destroyed the Spirit of Christmas...and I mean to get it back with some Christmas t-shirts cruelty.

I started my plan by putting up one of those push-pin cork boards by the front door. I told my wife is was for familial announcements because I was tired of texting all the time. She bought my ruse (and it's honestly what we use it mostly for nowadays, so I wasn't really lying.) I then approached my dear boy after breakfast and asked him to help me string the outside lights before lunch. Just like clockwork, he started whining about how cold it was and how he didn't have time. Well, my only answer was to throw a shirt in his face. It was one of the worst Christmas t-shirts you could imagine: Santa Clause and his reindeer depicted completely in rhinestones. The look on his face was priceless.

See, there's a new policy in our house! Now there's going to be a penalty for bad attitudes toward the Christmas goings-on in our home. When anyone wants to be grumpy or short-tempered when it comes to Christmas, they're going to have to wear one of the God-awful Christmas t-shirts I've bought for just such an occasion. They will have their picture taken, and then their picture will be posted on the cork board until after the New Year. My son most definitely did not like this turn of events. In fact, he refused to participate...surprise, surprise. Well, I made him participate by either picking one of two activities. He could either take the picture, or lose his car privileges. Guess which he picked? Also, guess who helped with the lights?

Talk about a huge attitude adjustment! Everyone ended up with their picture on the Board of Christmas Shame that year wearing the most ridiculous Christmas t-shirts you can imagine. Yes, even I had to go up on the board a few times. Holiday stress can put anyone in a foul mood sometimes, but I'm a good sport and no one can say that I don't play by my own rules. The best thing of all is that it became a fun game for all of us after the first few pictures were put up. We had lots of great laughs and the Christmas spirit was restored in our home.

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