The Christmas List

By Hannah Wallace November 9, 2010

So, yes, my last post is filled with jack-o-lanterns and I don't even know who's coming over for Thanksgiving yet, but darn it, there are firs in the garden centers and eggnog in the dairy case, we're finishing up our December issues and my immediate family has already exchanged our traditional Christmas lists. We're just going to have to face facts: There's a meteor-sized ball of holiday cheer headed right for us.

I usually suck at compiling a Christmas list. It’s like when you go to the video store (man, it’s like Before Netflix should be an official era) and all of a sudden can’t remember any of the things you want to see.


But this year, with work assignments, Dad’s book, Magee’s business plans, hockey admin stuff, ABC club committee stuff, and whatever else I get myself into, I at least figured out I need some form of mobile organization…apparatus. Accessory? I need a thing to put my computer in and carry around all the papers I get that currently occupy a corner of my dresser where the cat usually stands to eat my earrings.


Oh, and soap. I asked Santa for pretty soap.


It’s a funny transition Christmas lists take, from when you’re a kid asking for a pony, a robot and 45 lbs of chocolate, to young adult, when you ask for necessities (I think I actually put laundry detergent on my list once). In my 20s and gainfully employed, I found I just went and bought the reasonably priced things I wanted, so there wasn’t much left to ask for when Christmas rolled around. I made an Amazon list—again, like Netflix, a way to keep track of the things you discover you might want sometime—and it’s good, but there’s something a little…I dunno…about specifying the exact things you want (on the site where you can buy them). I mean, it’s helpful, but once I figured out a CD or two I had my eye on, everything else was too specific, y’know? I sent out the link to my wishlist with caveats, “These things are not the exact things I want, but representations of the types of things I want.” Like The Consumer’s Guide to Plato’s Cave or something.


I’m realizing now that it’s fun to leave it up to the gift-givers. The cynical explanation might be that, if I don’t specify, I might get something even better than what I’m thinking of. But I also know that it’s fun to go out and hunt for things, to get an idea of the possibilities and search for the gift that best represents me as a gift-giver. It’s fun to buy gifts for people that mean a little something to me, too. And, if you're in the right mindset (and not, say, obligated to buy presents for jerks for whatever reason) it's fun to savor the gift-buying experience instead of just clicking the "BUY" button next to the Golden Girls box set and being done with it.


And, knowing that, I enjoy putting those general gift categories on my list—“shirts for work, necklaces (no gold), pretty-smelling bath things”—as a way of letting my family express themselves through their Christmas shopping, to have some fun with their purchases.

I suppose, if I really wanted to get absurd and convoluted, I could say that my being vague on my Christmas list is my gift to the gift givers. So there ya go—no need to thank me. Now what’d you get me?

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