I do not want to issue a Christmas list this year. I was taught as a child that the gifts we give and receive are a reflection of what the Wise Men brought to Jesus, as well as Jesus’ gift of life to this world. I’m not bent on Christianity, but it’s what has been instilled in me. I don’t bother to consider whether the theory is right or wrong, it’s how I was raised. I was taught by my parents that gift-giving is an act of the heart. If we give something to someone and deliver it in love and kindness, then the gift will always be received in love and kindness in return. And right there in the simplest of terms is the meaning of Christmas for me. I love to go searching for something that will call out a friend’s name from the shelf or retail cart in the mall. I love to mill around the small shops on Main Street looking for just the right piece of bohemian jewelry for my mom or a warm pair of wool socks for my dad, because I know he can’t have too many. I know Aunt Pat appreciates secretive trinkets and unique books, so I can’t wait to go out this year in search of the ultimate treasure for her.
For starters, it should be assumed that when a person gives you a gift, that person actually thought of you when they saw the item on the retail shelf or on the webpage, as in, “Oh, my! Sissy would just love that mug!” The act of this old-fashioned concept of actually thinking of people while buying them a gift can be abstract for the narcissistic shopper, the antisocial grouch, and the task-at-hand achiever who cannot see the person beyond the list that was demanded of them.
Does it matter if I actually love the mug when I receive it?
No. It does not matter, because I will know that the person who gave it to me took the time to think of me and that I came to mind when he or she saw the mug. Even if I don’t love the mug, I will love the idea behind the mug; the idea that someone took the time and effort to make me feel special. It will be considered an act of thoughtfulness, and through this thoughtfulness, I will love that mug. I will drink from it every day.
This concept is in gross contrast to the god-forsaken Christmas list through which I am asked every year what it is that makes me feel special. After all, that’s what the Christmas list is all about. There are no surprised there. You write down your items, and then you get them. You also get to insert fake surprise expressions when you open each one with, “Oh! Look! You went out and got me exactly what I asked you to get me! How delightful! I am really feeling the Christmas Spirit right now with this new stuff.”
Right about now is the time when the narcissists and antisocialists start to hiss from between their clenched teeth, “God, she’s such a bitch.”
Really? Is it because you can’t recall the last time you opened your heart and tried to make someone’s life better through an act of kindness? Because, damn if that isn’t reason enough for me to be a acting like a bitch on the Internet, I don’t know what is.
People who insist upon giving me gifts for the Holidays should know me well enough to know what I like and what I do not like. If people don’ t know me well enough to know my interests or hobbies, then please, no gift giving. It’s not necessary. It’s not required. I don’t judge anyone for not giving me a Holiday gift. And it’s weird receiving a present from someone who doesn’t know whether or not I like coffee, or that I would not be caught dead wearing something made of white lace, that I absolutely hate to cook, and can’t stand wearing long-sleeved shirts. And let’s not forget about those people who insist upon re-gifting to me. My favorites are the re-gifted sweater sets – news alert – I’m a gym coach. I don’t wear sweaters enough for anyone to get me a new one. Ever.
So, what’s the solution for those poor souls who feel the need to get me things at Christmas, but haven’t taken the time to get to know me or consider my likes and dislikes? It’s a tough one, but the honest truth is that it would take a lobotomized moron to not pick up on my interests in life.
I wear my life on my sleeve. In absolute terms, in case you can’t see the Barnes & Noble hanging off my elbow, take two seconds to scan the over-crowded book shelves above my desk, the magazines in the bin under the end table, and the multitude of DIY and artsy projects that have made the possible resale of my home impossible. I never have enough epoxy or glue or nails or drywall mounts or sandpaper or duct tape or threading wire or beads or buttons or cutting blades or latex gloves or plastic mixing cups or paint remover or paint brushes or painting tape or drop cloths or sponges or edgers or trays or books on how to do all of this stuff correctly so that it actually looks good when the projects are complete. If only I had a DIY book. Sigh.
If a visual scan of the surface of my life isn’t enough, then I suggest taking five minutes to talk with me. In those five minutes you will have the opportunity to learn that I am really into the psychological aspects of coaching young athletes and the affects it has on their adult lifestyles, the fundamentals of world geology, and birds of prey. Just today, I almost lost my pups in the park over the distraction of an osprey. In fact, I enjoy all sorts of birds. I just really like to hone in on those turkey buzzards when I can.
If you decide to take up the opportunity of a five-minute chat with me, and politics is broached, it will be the start and finish of the conversation. I have nothing to say on the subject. I am strongly opinioned on the Green House Effect, and therefore, do not engage in conversations regarding this matter, either. Those chats never end well for me.
In a five-minute conversation with me, you might also note that I am taken by the concept of still life art, but would never spend the money on a piece, as it seems to me extravagant to spend money on art. This is not say I would not welcome a grand classic still life art piece to hang on any one of the walls in my house. While talking art with me, you will also learn that I hate boats of all kinds. Sailboats, motorboats, pirate ships, cruise liners, paddleboats, and so forth. I hate paintings of boats more than I hate the boats themselves.
If you have spent any time in my home or with me or around me, you will be well aware that I am the proud owner of more than one dozen pairs of top-of-the-line running shoes, THREE full-sized dresser drawers containing nothing but Lycra and spandex, and so many sweat jackets and hoodies that I have run out of room to store the items. In my house, you’ll also notice that I have a closet full of exercise gear, yoga gear, weight training gear, stability gear, Thera-Band gear, and some other gear from Christmases past that I’ve never taken out of the box. As it turns out, I actually work in a fully equipped gymnasium where I have access to almost anything categorized under exercise. Simply put, I have no need for this gear in my home. Or Lycra. Or spandex. Or Brooks. Or that hoodie that you think would look great on me.
Now, in closing, what if you did get me that hoodie? Not because you felt obligated, but because you really did think it would look good on me. Well then, I’ll know that when I unwrap it. I’ll know it by the type person you are in my life. I’ll know that you saw something in the hoodie and it called upon you to get it for me. I’ll know it because I’ll see it in your eyes that you didn’t just re-gift something to me that your sister-in-law gave to you the week prior. Oh, and if you do that to me, I’ll know that as well. As in, you have never caught me on my worst apparel day wearing gold. So when I open the gold earrings in the box without a tag or a sticker or a seal, and a little bit of coating missing from the bottom where the original tape ran across the seam of the box, I’ll know that you did not see those earrings in the store front window and think that they would look great on me.
Merry Christmas, folks.