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Well it’s that time of year again, the silly season, aka Christmas. It seems to start earlier and earlier each year and the debates about when’s too early to put the Christmas stock in the shops or whether an appropriate greeting is “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday” seem to be top of the news by mid-October nowadays.

The kids are oblivious; all they can see is push bikes, trampolines and swing sets. Mum can see endless lines at checkouts, hours in the kitchen and smoking credit cards. Dad … well, he doesn’t see much. Christmas kinda isn’t his day. He looks forward to his work Christmas party – the opportunity to slip into the boss’s grog stash in the office, roll up some newspaper, bang it between his bum cheeks while its burning and sing a ditty while dancing on the boardroom table and being forgiven for the whole fiasco. 

He also sees the push bikes and trampolines but he sees them in a very different light – he sees them in a thousand pieces at ten o’clock at night on Christmas Eve when he finds out it’s time to construct the magic. We’ve all been there. Kids off to bed to eagerly await Santa’s arrival and mum pokes her head around the corner while you’re having a quiet ale with the neighbour and says, “There’s a couple of things in the shed I need put together”. 

Those words on Christmas Eve are right up there with being told the RSL is out of rum on Anzac Day and will drop a man’s lip faster than the words, “not this year, I’ve got a headache”. The difficulty level of assembly varies with the trampoline being the easiest, the bike second and the backyard swing set comes in at number one for sending dads to the padded cells on Christmas Eve.

My advice to dads is this – I know it’s fun to have a few beers with the neighbour while you’re trying to put them together but don’t! Secondly, read the bloody instructions. I know they’re written in Chinglish and they’re hard to understand but you’re going to end up using them anyway when you build it the second time after having half the bits left over the first time. Thirdly, and most importantly, never be tempted to put the swing set together in the lounge room so you can enjoy the air conditioning throughout the project – the bloody thing won’t fit out the door when you’re done!

Merry Bloody Christmas!

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