I have been sitting in men’s laps whispering my desires in their ears for a few decades now, and it hasn’t really resulted in a bounty of considerately chosen gifts.
I know there is the Naughty and Nice List but I have truly been nice, most of the time, well at least a majority . . . except maybe that night in the dinghy . . . and the lacey low cut . . . okay, so yeah, I will just be buying my own gifts this year.
Coming up with a concise list of what we want for Christmas becomes increasingly difficult as we get older. It’s easy to become cynical when topping the wish list is: “The souls of all who have displeased me” or “To sit in front of a dead tree eating chocolate out of socks.” The song used to be “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” Now, the new version is “Two consecutive days where my water consumption outweighs the caffeine and alcohol quotient, my IRA hasn’t tanked, and I can find parking in front of the IGA.” Not quite as catchy a tune.
I know we all are busy in the holiday season and don’t have time to shop for everyone, and gee sure post-it-notes are kind of an acceptable gift wrapping, but there is something heartwarming about seeking out the perfect present for someone you really care about, wrapping it, and placing it under the tree. (Note to those also on the Naughty List, wrapping paper can actually be quite toxic, and if you are planning on being the present under the tree, beware of prolonged contact with naked skin.)
The key to the gift is whether it says, “Oh you know me so well!” or “Have you really not listened to a thing I’ve said over the past 10 years?” or god forbid you don’t get the sarcasm underlying her response, “A wheelbarrow, just what I always wanted.” Something I feel more strongly about now is the deep desire for experiences over things. Don’t get me wrong, things are very nice, like diamond rings and a pony, but what we really remember at the end of the day is the amazing experiences we have had in our lives. A special trip, concert, lesson, event, cultural experience, even a small act of kindness. Everyone says it is the thought that counts, which is true, unless like the lesson we learned from Love Actually, the thoughtful Joni Mitchell CD is not as good as the gold necklace given to the mistress.
There is a nostalgia for the traditional Christmas stories. We are living in charged times and now are concerned about Santa’s cholesterol, the ethical treatment of the reindeer, and equal pay for the female elves. The Grinch isn’t the anomaly, he is the norm. And Cindy Lou Who is wearing a pink pussyhat. What would Frank Capra think about a sequel It’s a Wonderful Life . . . seen through my Snapchat filter?
To get in the holiday spirit, I have decided to give Santa another chance on my Christmas wish list as long as he can expand his definition of “nice.” I bumped into Mrs. Claus in Pilates, and she gave me some good advice on what to ask for, “Keep it simple, meaningful, and not made in China.”
So, Santa baby, darling, how about a single white rose. Not, red, not yellow, just white.
And for everyone out there reading, know this season I am sending my personal energy that your holiday wish comes true.