For years, I’ve watched friends and acquaintances take family trips during the holiday season to exciting locations like Disney World, Hawaii, Colorado and Cracker Barrel.
Until now, my family has been content to snuggle up together at home, enjoying traditional celebrations that involve exchanging gifts, candlelight church services and severe indigestion.
But not this year. For some reason, my three teenage daughters recently announced that instead of receiving gifts, they want to offer my wife and me the great pleasure of taking them on a trip to New York City.
At first, this didn’t sound like such an unreasonable option. After all, I’ve never experienced the excitement of New York’s giant rats or the thrilling risk of being pushed in front of a subway train. This plan would also relieve me of the unending task of shopping for my daughters’ numerous and exorbitantly-priced Christmas gifts, almost exclusively manufactured by the Apple corporation.
Little did I know, however, that a trip to New York City for a family of five during the holidays costs roughly the same as a decade of traditional family Christmases at home–maybe subtracting the price of ingredients for Velveeta dip.
I also didn’t realize that one doesn’t simply “go” to New York City and wander around dodging taxicabs and cowboys singing in their underwear. Apparently, you are required to book expensive tickets to Broadway shows so you can brag to your friends that you’ve seen a musical that will probably be featured on Disney+ in the near future – if it’s not already there.
And then there are the dinner reservations that must be made days in advance in order to secure a table at one of the really cool restaurants (“cool” meaning “the price of this meal will require the sale of at least one kidney”). Otherwise, my daughters tell me, you’ll have to resort to battling rodents the size of schnauzers for New York street food like pizza slices and those hot dogs the competitive eaters wolf down on July 4th at a rate of around 7 per minute. (Personally, I’d be ok fighting the rats.)
Seriously, though, the expenses involved with just planning for the trip never seem to end. For example, we spent several hours at our local shopping mall purchasing enough fleece gear to prepare for an extended rotation at an Arctic research station.
Of course, my daughters insisted that we buy “fashionable” designer clothing – in case we run into a New York modeling agency interested in a wide-eyed family of Texans who have that “We usually shop at Target, but now we’re all fancy cause we’re in a big ol’ city”-look. Besides, I hear that dad bods are “in” right now.
After all of the itinerary planning, shopping, ticket buying and looking at photoshopped images of New York online, I told the girls that it feels like we’ve already taken the trip. Unfortunately for my bank account, they still want to go.
The holidays will definitely be different this year. I’ve second, third and tenth-guessed the decision to take this trip, but at least we’ll all be together making memories. And if things get too weird in the Big Apple, maybe I can make a run to the closest Cracker Barrel.
Copyright 2022 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].