Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Guilt Derailed

I have a (nasty?) habit of rolling my eyes. I do it alot. I've been called out by just about everyone. Apparently my poker face does not include my eyes, which give me away every time. So if my eyes roll at any slight annoyance, they must have been avalanching while opening the gifts my parents mailed to me.

I waited until Christmas night to open my gifts, as is tradition in my family. Even though the box arrived on the 19th, I waited a week to open it. But I am good like that. A wrapped present could sit within sight for a year and not bother me. I don't shake, weigh, or sniff wrapped packages trying to guess contents. I am a curious person by nature, but getting gifts has never been my strong suit. By and large, I hate getting gifts. I am awkward and completely out of my element when receiving or opening a present from . . . well, anyone.

For this, I totally blame my parents. Over the last 20 years of my adult life, they have proceeded to buy me the most ridiculous presents given to a person. To their defense, I am a difficult person to buy for - every boyfriend has told me this. One Christmas, Ex#4 handed me his credit card and said, "Here, I give up." But I kinda like being hard to buy for. I like that it actually takes some thought in order to pick out a present or gift for me. I'd rather not be the recipient of a present someone bought at the last minute. But in a perfect world, I would rather not receive a present at all. Any gift that I have to unwrap, I probably won't enjoy (98% of the time).

Gifts that people give you will reflect the giver's image of you. And as much as I love my parents, I sometimes wonder if they have any idea who I am, merely based on the presents they have given me:

Three years ago was my "Sam's Christmas". In a last ditch effort, my parents gave me the gift of bulk: a 36-box count of small cereal boxes, a 50-pack assortment of Frito-Lay snacks, and a super-sonic rug scrubber (which was perfect for my all-hardwood floor apartment).

Two years ago, I got a cassette tape of Barry Manilow's greatest hits. 1) I don't like Barry Manilow, 2) I haven't owned a cassette player since 1992, and 3) Barry Manilow?? I also received a sweatshirt with the name of my hometown embroidered on the front.

Eyes rolling.

Last year I got a duffle bag, the size of which is perfect for those random six month ski trips or smuggling five small Asian children into slavery. Otherwise, it's too big for a weekend trip and just a tad too small for, say, covering the backhoe for winter.

This year has been no exception. Among the gifts was a Teddy Bear, to which Mom attached a note that read, "Hi, I am your new friend. I will be here for you to talk to when you are sad or feel lonely." (Apparently she equates Chicago with Siberia and thinks I am 6 years old and living in an igloo.) Mom, if I start talking to this bear, I have bigger problems than just being lonely.

Another gem in the gift box was a small wooden replica of my parents' church. She said I could just put it in a drawer and pull it out when I want to look at it (sweetie, that's called porno, not church). I guess one day I will be laying in bed and think to myself, "You know, I would really like to look at the ole' neighborhood church right now, thank God Mom gave me that plaque. Why, I happen to have it right here in this drawer. Let me sit it on this shelf and just look at it for a few minutes."

Eyes rolling.

I have begged repeatedly for them to stop. I suggested spending the money on their grandchildren or each other. I already own everything I want or need. I don't like clutter and I seldom save anything that doesn't fit in my scrapbooks. I have very few posessions and I like it that way. I have offered the option of just giving me the cash instead, but my mother insists that I open a present on Christmas night. I have argued that I can open an envelope as easily as opening a wrapped box, but to no avail. And I don't really suffer in silence as this has become somewhat of a running joke in my family. So I grin and bear it. And bitch about it to anyone who will listen.


  1. There's NOTHING wrong with talking to a teddy bear. NOTHING AT ALL.

    At the risk of sounding far too schmaltzy, the gifts you receive from your parents now will probably be the kind of stuff you look back on fondly after they've passed on.

  2. Not to worry. I'm not in it for the gifts. I adore my folks and now its just a running gag. I truthfully would prefer they get me nothing, so it adds to the fun in a way.

  3. Fun stuff. Last year I got several shirts, that I finally pulled the tags off two weeks ago and sent to the laudry. And my young'un gave me a shirt and tie that his gramma picked out. This year I asked for $50's and $100's. lol. which is what I got. at 42 they have finally learned. By the way I bought my house in 92. My parents bought me enough lights for the whole house, top to bottom all the way around. I pulled them out finally this year, and they are still in their boxes in my kitchen floor. My house is twenty nine feet to the top. I will pack them away Sat. Oh, that same year they bought me a six ft tree. The bottom limbs were 4 foot. My living room is only 14ft wide. They kindly took it back. I could go on and on but...
    Now I love to get presents if they are something I need. By the way I had bought every one's gifts by Thanks Giving, unique items they could use and like. Except for on 12/22, mom told me to expect a lot more of the family than usual. They all got UTenn. throws from Dillards. Most everything wrapped in the store.
    Happy New year.

  4. >>>>>
    Dop - I hope you see this entry.

    Its 12:30am and I pull up your blog. I see your lead caption and you have me wondering what this entry is going to really be about. I start reading...and well, I just about pee in my pants, I am laughing sooooooo hard. I had to gag myself for fear of waking my room mate up. The picture you created. I could clearly see the eyes going to the back of the head.

    More please. Great entry. One you'll probably chuckle at when you look back at it. Hey, you could always convince your family to do what mine does for Christmas - we each pick a family member, brother in laws included as a kriskringle. That way it limits mom to 1 gift associated to one child in the family. (It took working my mom over a bit on it but I think she got tired of shopping for 7 adult, very individual kids, 4 brother-in-laws, and 8 grandkids; especially when half the adult presents would get returned for various reasons. Sound familar?)

    Happy New Year! and a safe one.

  5. OMG! I totally know what you mean! I just tell everyone that I want gift cards. This way, I buy what I want. I got two really crappy presents this year. I decided I was just too hard to shop for.

  6. Well I'm 45 years old and I still am getting "socks, underwear and new pajamas" and yes I roll my eyes but I would not change a thing!
    I intend to do the same for my two sons! LOL Some things never change!

  7. Ok. I caught myself rolling my eyes too. My parents sent me a yellow smiley face flower pot. They said I had bought it years ago? What was I thinking. They never throw anything away. I still don't remember buying it.