Monday, November 28, 2005

Presents

I get HUGE when I'm pregnant and my back hurts and I waddle. Christopher starts making fun of my outfits, specifically my Birkenstalks and black stretch pants which become my uniform, and I lose my sense of humor (that usually falls by the seventh month). When I was pregnant with Phoebe, expecting a baby the week before Christmas (she was born two days after Christmas), I decided to get all my Christmas shopping done by Halloween. That was the best Christmas ever. I wasn't distracted by all the shiny lights and mark-downs, ("Hey, what about THIS? No, THAT! No! THIS is BETTER!"). I've tried to keep the tradition ever since and I highly recommend it. But I guess it's too late for that now, slackers, because even Thanksgiving has come and gone.

The oddest present I ever got was a severed dreadlock from a boyfriend. He cut off a really long black dreadlock that resembled a fat caterpillar and put it in a zip-lock bag with a long letter. I'd like to say that at the time it was romantic, but even then it was a little bit creepy. I found it years later, among a trunk full of earnest journal entries. It scared me half to death at first, but then it brought back really funny memories. Christopher said it was disgusting and told me to throw it away. I like to think it was because he was jealous, but I'm sure it was more of a question of hygiene.

I haven't made my mind up about the whole giving a practical gift versus a frivolous one. It's hard enough to distinguish between wants and needs anyway and the holidays intensifies that dilemma for me. Sure, I'd love a food chopper, but will my heart leap when I open it Christmas 'morn? Maybe. (I melted my old one when I left it on a hot stove, so do I really deserve a new one? How will I learn?) Do I really need Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III? How often will I watch them? If I break it down per viewing will I earn it back after a year?

I also don't have a firm policy on neighborhood gifts. Do I give them to all the neighbors? How far down the street is appropriate? Do I give them to people who will give US treats? What about my First Nation neighbors? They haven't returned any of the items they've borrowed. . . so should we just call it even? I hate that awkward, "Oh, thanks for the treat! Merry Christmas! I've got YOUR treat. . .right. . .here. . . justaminute. . .lemme go. . .find . . .it. . ." It may be better to give than to receive, but sometimes it's just easier to not give and hope not to receive.

I do have strong feelings about some holiday gift-giving that might be of use to you:

1. No homemade coupons (20 minute back-rub, mow the lawn, etc). It's just a certificate that says "I forgot, and hopefully you will."
2. No Bratz dolls (Barbie's slutty cousin with low self-esteem).
3. No shopping on Black Friday (is that $20 you saved worth a piece of you that just died inside?)

Hope that helps! Merry Christmas everyone!

12 comments:

Lorien said...

I'm proud to say that as of yet, I have done ABSOLUTELY NO Christmas shopping, and really I feel great about it. My friend took me to a yoga workshop Saturday and I've just been being ever since and everything is beautiful. I think I'll block out one day next week, take Guy and do all the shopping in one whack. Then, what doesn't get done doesn't get done. It's a new strategy that just might work. I'll keep you posted...

As for the neighborhood gift dillema, I totally hear you. I'll let you know if I have any revelations regarding this conundrum.

Bek said...

Whaaaaaa? Neighborhood gifts? You mean you guys have neigbors that don't try and get you kicked out or complain about your car, your kids, your trees or your appauling lack of homeowners board involvment? The only gift my neighbors are getting is that I will bite my lip and keep my mouth shut the next time they come over to complain.

Lisa, I think that you should only give Ralph next door a gift. They are the only ones that would REALLY appreciate it and remember it. Right?

wendysue said...

Lisa, maybe you could make a list for the neighbors of all the things they've "borrowed", then put Merry Christmas at the bottom. Wow! Look at how generous you are!

My practical christmas list this year:
--formula
--a box of toothpicks (how is it that I forget this EVERYTIME I go to the store??)
--a drywall expert to come and finish my upstairs...

Oh, and make sure to call me Christmas morning to let me know if you get that Barbie Dream House!!!

lisa v. clark said...

Wendy, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't call you to see what you got! Tradition, man!

~j. said...

I just wanted to mention my favorite of all the homemade coupons that I've heard of: My brother's and my (late) friend Jeremy made a coupon booklet for his mom when he was in first grade, and years later, when he was a teenager, his friends found it.

"Here is a coupon for me to be quiet."

nie nie said...

lisa,
I am so sad we never got to talk. Lets try calling eachother again OK...Thanks for the shopping tips.
I hope my husband will get me something for Christmas this year, last year I did all my own shopping and he wrapped them...woopee.

Julie said...

I once got a live mouse from a friend of mine. He thought I'd be scared, but I was thrilled. It wasn't one of those gross looking white mice with the red eyes--this one was tan with brown eyes. He was really cute.

This friend and I used to exchange weird gifts every year. One year he gave me a Cabbage Patch doll--a head of cabbage with carrots for legs and those little plastic googly eyes glued on for the face. (I had to throw that one out because it started to stink.) Another year he gave me a little box. When I opened it, there was a baby carrot, a dime, and a wooden ring glued inside. Get it? A one-carrot dime and ring. Fun memories...thanks for sparking the trip down memory lane.

AzĂșcar said...

Does the no Bratz rule include the Baby Bratz that come with both the pacifier and thong underwear?

Hold on, I think I need to find a receipt for something...

Lyle said...

Lisa,

The first person to figure out the proper protocol for present swapping with neighbors will becoem an overnight success and have book signing tours booked through the next decade. I too struggle with such dilemas. (un)Fortunately, I do not have any neighbor's this year (but I would not recommend moving the entire family as a permanent solution to the problem).

ps. I am glad that you're not too busy to Blog, unlike some other Clarks I know ;-)

compulsive writer said...

Fun post--and I'm relieved to know I'm not the only person who melts appliances (among other things) on the stove.
But it was a sad reminder that I have no shopping done either and I really don't know what I'm going to get, when I'm going to get it, or what I'm going to pay for it with. We recently listened to two people who grew up in a different era tell about their Christmases (thanks Lo--it was a great ward party!) and I caught myself being envious of those lean years when all kids got was a homemade toy, some socks and underwear and an orange. Those were the days...

Re: Baby Bratz--I really could cross one kid off my list if those Baby Bratz weren't so darned sleazy. The motorcycle set is so cool--but how many toddlers wear thongs while riding motorcycles? What kind of message does that send to a 10-year-old?

Lorien said...

Alrighty, I caved to cyber-peer pressure and I'm playing tag. You're it.

Emily said...

We have neighbors whom we don't spend very much time with or know all that well who every year give us an exorbitant Christmas gift, and by that I mean they spend $30 or so. And every year we give them a Christmas decoration or candle or wrapping paper tied with a bow or some like thing that I got at the Target end-of-season 75% off sale last year and for which I spent about $3. The best neighbor-giving protocol is this: if they got you something, and you didn't give them anything, or not anything as good, you smile and say merry christmas, and do NOT try to reciprocate or get them a last-minute gift. Same with Christmas cards. I get kinda bugged when I send someone a card and then they send me back one, just because. If I'm not on your original list, I'm cool with that. Don't try to fake like I was on it.

Do I win the prize??