Another Christmas is in the books. Yet another year when Santa let me down (which I should really expect by now given that he is male). No Swedish hockey player under the tree. No indictment for the Trumps/Romanovs. No deed to a winery in my stocking. Not even a pet hedgehog.
In fairness, aside from the usual suspects identified above, I didn’t compile much of a list this year. I was very close to my family buying me gift cards to Bass Pro Shops and Chipotle. I buy all the things I need, and what I really want (i.e. plane tickets) I wouldn’t trust my family to figure out on my behalf, lest I end up flying Air Djibouti with 12 stopovers to Finland.
My family did manage to come through in spirit—the spirit of gift-giving, that is, not in the “Crossing Over with John Edward” medium sense. I got my favorite LL Bean men’s flannel pajamas, in the exact same pattern as last year’s pair. Concert tickets I asked for, even though I can’t coerce anyone to go listen to sea shanties with me. The entire series of “House, M.D.”—all 176 episodes so I have winter hibernation drinking entertainment. Slippers. A calendar. Standard Christmas fare.
And a clothes steamer from Miss Daisy. Because apparently she either thinks I look like a disheveled homeless person all the time or I am too lazy to iron. (Not true.) I don’t quite understand this gift. It seems like it takes just as long to steam your clothes as it would to iron them. It also seems like a great risk that it would spit all over a silk blouse and I’d just end up starting over. I suppose it might be useful to give myself a facial, but with my luck it would spit on my face and I’d get second degree burns worse than that time I had a blistery reaction to a chemical peel and pretended at work that I was swarmed by bees. If I find out it also steams rice then it would get more use. I would have preferred a gelato machine.
Still, it was not the worst gift I ever received. That honor goes to my ex-husband, Dick, who on our second Christmas together presented me with a custom pair of steel drums. Roughly six months earlier, we were vacationing on Nantucket and saw a Jamaican guy on a street corner playing Bob Marley on a steel drum for tips. I would have tipped him, but Bob Marley? How cliché. Crank out some Eminem or Robert Goulet and I would have been impressed. I digress. I commented at the time that I wanted to learn to play steel drums so I could quit my job and play Jimmy Buffett tunes on a street corner. (That’s not cliché, because I would do so while mixing boat drinks on a generator powered blender.) Apparently, he only listened to the first part of my statement (because: male), and disregarded the completely unrealistic second part. Never mind that being in New England, it is not a hotbed of steel drum schools. Dick thought I could teach myself by watching YouTube videos. This may be feasible now, but 12 years ago the only videos on there were cat videos. Pre-Roomba cat videos. So this gift was a colossal waste of money.
When we divorced I left the drums, still in the box, on a shelf in the basement with the mice that had taken up residence. I figured Dick might need a second job to pay his alimony. Tink tink tink, tink tink tink, tink tink tink tink tink….