Paradise, California - What parent has not had to face a strain on their purse strings and struggled to make toys their kids want so much appear under the tree a real Christmas miracle this year? Checking his wallet, Frederick Dominguez, father of three, knew there was no way he would make this year's Santa's list for all his children and still be able to afford a tree.
"I had just finished up the last of the Christmas shopping at the mall the day before when my last credit card was declined at the Christmas tree lot," explained Dominguez to a group of reporters' days after the rescue of himself and family. "The kids were so disappointed and I was so embarrassed."
Determined not to disappoint the kids by his financial shortcomings, however, he decided the family would have a Christmas tree even if he had cutting one down from the local national forest and so began an unscheduled family outing last week that turned into a rescue operation that captured the nation's attention and prayers for three days.
"You just go into survival mode," said Dominguez, reflecting on his thoughts of him huddling under a large tree in the snow lost in the snow-covered forest. "Every parent would do that. You would [do] anything, sacrifice yourself, because these are your kids."
That is when Dominguez knew he had to make the toughest decisions in his life and called for a family tribal counsel meeting.
"It was a tough decision but as the head of the family," said Dominguez. "But I was willing to assume the role of Jeff Probst to enforce the tribal counsel decision to vote off whomever family member, banishing them into the wilderness."
Although Dominguez told his children the same white lie, all parents are guilty of telling their children about not having favorites or loving one of the children more than anyone of the others, he secretly harbored a bias among the three.
"I just hoped they voted off the littlest one because one of the bigger kids could put up a hell of a struggle, if I had to carried them out from under the tree into the snow," said Dominguez. "I mean the struggle would warm me up initially, but all the energy I'd expend, it just wouldn't be worth it."
Dominguez justifies his decision, saying that it is no different from any hard decisions a parent makes every time during this time of year. He argues that being mentally prepared to carry off one of your children to a snow bank is no different.
"Lets face it," said Dominguez. "What parent doesn't have to make the difficult decision at this time of year to buy the cheaper knock off, rather than the brand name toy to make the Christmas budget stretch. We all do it. Beside, I had two to spare."
Dominguez says he learned his lesson and next year the family will go green, using an aluminum Christmas tree.