Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Holidays

My how things have changed!

My holiday gift wish list consists of four things - rims for my summer tires so I don’t have to pay gobs of money to get them switched twice a year.

It used to be a hard and fast rule of mine that holiday gifts had to be personal. Practical items, such as (and maybe even particularly) kitchen appliances, were strictly forbidden. The idea that I would request, let alone be excited about the prospect of receiving, a set of rims for my summer tires was unheard of. Unfathomable! Grounds for instant divorce! (At least a few nights in the proverbial doghouse.)

Yet this year, the only thing I really want is a set of rims. They don’t even have to be new. In fact, I’d prefer a used set, which is greener and less wasteful.

Practical is the new personal in my life, apparently. Whereas ten years ago, I would have beamed lethal lasers from my eyes if such a present turned up under the tree, I now find myself insisting on the useful rather than the indulgent. What has happened to me?

Age has certainly mellowed me as far as trinkets and baubles go. The notion that anyone would waste money on expensive jewelry has always made me cringe, but a gargoyle or a deck of tarot cards or some such would make my eyes light up like… a kid on Christmas morning. Now that I’ve retired as a Tarot reader and the gargoyles just need constant dusting, these things no longer invoke delight. Keep your decorative bits and pieces. Save your bubble bath and fancy candles. Stay your Visa card and hold your pocket book. Things are not necessary.

No one has actually asked me what I want this year. And that is not a bad thing. I don’t really care if I get anything at all. I’ll have my grandkids – I think – and I’ll have my friends and two of my kids around. I’ll have my fake fire place and my fake tree and some good books and some good movies. I’ll have my ever-present knitting bag and oodles of yarn to play with. I’ll have a feast (somewhere). I’ll have a week off work. I’ll have my dogs and my cat. I’ll have chocolate and chips and cookies and pop and other sundry junk food to munch on. What more, really, do I need?

I remember holiday wish lists a mile long, filled with things that I never got anyway. I could never figure out why people asked you what you wanted and then didn’t oblige. One year – I was probably 4 or 5 – I asked for go-go boots. All I wanted was a pair of shiny, white, vinyl go-go boots so I could dance to Snoopy vs. the Red Barron properly – like the girls on TV. I didn’t get them. Perhaps it was because they didn’t make go-go boots for preschoolers, but I have my suspicions that it was more likely because my parents would not consent to such a request from their then youngest child. The disappointment still haunts me and I still long for a pair of go-go boots, particularly whenever I hear the Royal Guardsmen sing about that funny-looking dog with a big, black nose. Not that I would be caught dead wearing them.

It’s truly easier not to want than to be disappointed by not getting.

Needs, however, are a different matter. (Especially when you want them.) I can’t really decide if rims for my tires are a want or a need. While they are practical and useful and will save me money, I don’t know that they qualify as a definitive need. Then again, does anything? Besides food, water, clothing and shelter. (And even those are, to some esoteric degree, debatable.)

I doubt that I will find rims wrapped and under the tree this year. I think it is more likely that a new sofa is in the offing within the next two weeks. I don’t need a new sofa either, even though the current one should have been put out of its (my) misery two or three years ago. I’d be just as happy to sit on cushions on the floor, but the Lord of the Manor has vetoed the concept of no furniture, having deemed it would be perceived as a matter of poverty rather than choice and, not wanting to be pitied, let alone having to actually sit on the floor, he’s planning a trip to the Brick. So be it. (It just better be pet-friendly!)

As the days pass and my own holiday shopping continues to go unattended to, elevating my anxiety levels and making my Visa twitch uncontrollably in my wallet, as it does most years, I find myself wanting one more thing…

To skip the whole damned affair!

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