Monday, December 10, 2012

You can take that one horse wooden sleigh and dash the hell out of here.

I know you know I hate the holidays.

HATE. The holidays. And so it is time for my annual "I hate the gift part of Christmas" post that I usually write after I get my credit card statement. Welcome, friend. This won't cost you a penny, get comfy.

I am trying to pull together some new traditions, and make it special for my kids - but one of the ways I make their lives special ALL YEAR LONG is sending them to private school. Unfortunately when I proposed that we wrap the teachers up and leave them under the tree Sam thought that sounded "creepy" and "inappropriate". I told him that our couch was COMFORTABLE AS FUCK and I would be an excellent hostess but STILL NO.

Whatever. I think it would be "inappropriate" to wrap up the tuition bill but frankly I'm running out of gift ideas, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The reason I am out of ideas is because every adult I know is BLEEDING ME DRY of gift suggestions for my kids. I have to actually hold back on ideas so that I have something left to buy them. Last year I didn't do that, and I screwed myself - the kids got a collection of random, vaguely pathetic non-gifts from us that I cannot even remember at this point. It was not my finest hour. I believe I ended up fluffing out our gift selection by wrapping snack food I bought at Ross Dress For Less on Christmas Eve. Max actually really enjoyed the beer pretzles, come to think of it.....

ANYWAY. This year I ordered a few cool things, and had a game plan for the rest.....but then the requests started rolling in.

I was ahead of the game, you know. We created a wishlist 4 years ago on Amazon. So smart, right? I am all about "shop local" but I thought the wishlist concept was great - it would give everyone ideas of what to buy the kids and I could go on my merry way (due to copious amount of Xanax and a nasty little eggnog habit). I discovered last week that Amazon does not necessarily keep track of what has been PURCHASED off the wish lists, especially if the gifts were not purchased from Amazon. (sigh) And of course as soon as Christmas is over I forget all about wishlists and it never crosses my mind to update them. So, inevitably, we started receiving duplicate gifts - some of which we added to the list 3 or 4 years ago. Last week the first duplicates arrived. I panicked and raced online to update the wishlists, reflecting all of the shit we have already received over the years, and adding a few current items. The problem is that the kids don't really *need* much, and we don't have TV so they don't see commercials advertising toys. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S OUT THERE. We mostly missed out on the Hexbugs craze and the weird rolling ZhuZhu hamster addiction and we escaped that bizarre thing that looked like a gremlin entirely (and thank god for that, really).

But they don't live in my basement. They know that there is cool stuff out there - even if they don't know EXACTLY what their options are.

Max has been begging for a video game console. An XBox or a Wii or something - I don't know, I stopped listening as soon as I heard "video game" to be honest, and by the time he had finished describing all of the violent-titled games he wanted to get in honor of Jesus' birth, my eyes had glazed over. He's not getting one, needless to say. How about a nice unicycle or something, huh? That should cause plenty of blood and gore while he's learning to ride it.

But there IS a gift request I am currently sweating. This year, Lucy wants a microscope. She asked Santa for it - it is the only thing she really REALLY wants and she swans around the house saying things like "I would love to examine this under a microscope....if I ever get one" (sigh sigh sigh swan swan swan). So I added it to her wishlist and then realized that I couldn't leave it to chance - I had to buy it in case no one else did. But then I was afraid someone might have already ordered it. And now I am stuck. Do I start calling relatives to ask if they purchased the fucking microscope? Because that's not going to be awkward. Or do I just buy the damn thing and return it if she gets a duplicate and then just pretend that the gift from her aunt is actually from Santa like she asked, and then stick a label with her aunt's name written on it onto some other package under the tree. You see what I am saying? SANTA HAS TO BRING THIS MICROSCOPE.

And if Santa or anyone else sends a gaming console I am going to smash it with a hammer and send it back with a lovely thank you note.

I hate this fucking holiday. And it's not the microscope. Or the console. Or the kids, for that matter. I am getting emails every day from people asking what to buy ALL of  us. I get phone calls from the mall parking lot and the aisles of Target. I can feel them standing there with a pen in their hand ready to jot down notes as i recite sizes and colors and try to be vague so no one at my end knows what I am talking about. It stresses me the fuck out. I feel like I am A. asking for people to buy us things that we don't need and B. like I am having to deal with everyone else's holiday shopping and not just my own. I have enough trouble thinking of good/useful/fun/timely gifts to give our loved ones, never mind actually buying them and wrapping them and then getting them where they need to be on time - trying to remember who else is buying what or shopping where is overwhelming me. I can't do it anymore. The Amazon list has failed me. My brain is a stuttering mess of gift ideas that I may or may not have shared with others. I have two boxes of presents in the attic that I purchased over the last year and I can't even remember what's up there anymore.

And then, let's not forget the reason for (hating) the season: My father, who is the cause of most of my holiday angst (and medication) and who's relationship causes me no small amount of stress the rest of the year, also wants in on the gifting action. He sent me an email last week telling me what HIS kid is into, and asking for ideas for my kids gifts.

Jesus H. Christ on a cracker I am pretty sure this is not what the angels had in mind when they sent those wise men.

I am over it. Over the whole thing. I am stuck in holiday hell. I wish I could just call a moratorium to gift giving, or at least the part of gift giving that involves wish lists and keeping track. I want to give meaningful gifts - whether they be something they need or a token of my affection - to the people I love, to let them know I am thinking of them. And if those gifts arrive in April, SO BE IT.

And if you are looking for inspiration, stay tuned. I am putting together a gift guide for fellow haters. HUZZAH!

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