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
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
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 homemaybe 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
futureif 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
clothingin 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