I had something completely different planned for today, but two phone calls this week caused me to shift gears. Both calls were from family members who asked the question I almost* hate to hear more than any other:
What do you want for Christmas?
My answer is always the same: “I’d really like a Ferrari 458 (red please). However, I realize that gift is beyond your means. Since I have everything else I need or want in life, nothing would mean more to me than for you to not buy me anything. Instead, save the money for a trip to come see us.
It’s the truth. My family is spread out all over the friggin’ U. S. of A. and I really want my daughters to grow up knowing all of them. I would like nothing more than for my family to come out and see me. That’s it. Game over. If only it were that simple.
It never, ever, ever works. You see, What do you want for Christmas? is a trick question. I get nauseous just thinking about it. How do I explain it? Oh wait, I think I feel a flowchart coming on:
Every once in a while, I think back to when I was a young lad. The holiday memories I cherish most don’t revolve around the gifts I received**. The best memories are those of the family gatherings. I loved seeing all of the relatives that I hardly ever got to spend time with otherwise. Those family memories are awesome (except for some of the ones that involved my crazy-ass grandmother and even those are mildly amusing in retrospect. ***bonus flowchart below!)
I’ve given up the battle. I’ve been trying the “no gift tactic” for years and it just doesn’t work. Christmas morning has devolved into a silly gift card exchange. The thought that always goes through my head is this: If I just saved the $50 on the Gap gift card I bought you and you saved the $50 on the Amazon gift card you bought me, we’d both be in the same place, but with a lot less hassle.
I can dream, can’t I?
*Number 1 is, “Can I borrow some money?”
**I make an exception for the Transformers. I still remember opening these. My daughter and I play with them now, 30 years later. I love my Transformers.
***My grandmother wasn’t a kind person. I have many, many stories, but the most outrageous ones were when she would destroy the holiday with her mean ways (click to enlarge):
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