I really like the tradition, message and good cheer of Christmas. I even like going to church. We all could use a little peace and good will.
However, I am not a big fan of giving gifts. In fact it is one of my least favorite things to do right after wallpapering and that most Sisyphean of tasks, emptying the dishwasher. I am aware of the Magi, but they gave Jesus really cool, old-school gifts. You can’t even get myrrh from Amazon.
Now I’m not talking about little kids. They should get everything on their lists. If you believe an obese bearded guy in flamboyant deshabille can fly a bunch of reindeers in a toy-packed sled to your house or apartment, then you should get everything your sweet little heart desires. I wish I believed in Santa.
I’m talking about adults.
I don’t get it. I buy you something you could buy for yourself if you really wanted it, and you buy me something I could buy if I really wanted it. Seems pointless and circular. How about “Merry Christmas” and we’re done until next year?
There are exceptions. If you have been a jerk for the previous 364 days of the year, then maybe you can make amends with a lavish gift, but I doubt it. Of course, giving gifts to those who wouldn’t otherwise get any gifts is the right thing to do. It is kind of the point of Christmas.
I don’t do Christmas gifts. My wife Marsha is in charge of that department. The only gift I have to buy is hers and after 51 Christmases, I have managed to disappoint her so many times that a gift card from Oak Brook now suffices. Next year, though, Jared’s for sure.
With the foregoing in mind I now share with you some ideas about gifts for the holiday season:
For your sexual harasser friends, a pair of pants. Wearing pants in mixed company is a hot trend for 2018.
For your dope smoker friend, a lava lamp. To be honest I don’t smoke, but I think lava lamps are awesome. They are like aquariums, but the fish don’t die.
A membership to Morton Arboretum. The greatest natural space near us offers the chance to get back to our origins.
For the women, Madame Bovary, Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. These great novels have not been read by some women, especially younger ones. By the way, the fellas might enjoy them as well.
A magazine subscription to The Atlantic, New Yorker or New York Review of Books. It tells the recipient that they are intellectually curious and challenges them to be smarter. Even if no one reads them, they look good on a coffee table.
George Dickel bourbon. When you just need to get away from it all. Sometimes paired in a gift basket with the Clash’s “London Calling” and “I Fought the Law.” When paired, a reminder that rock and roll is the musical expression of anarchy. Perfect for the way we live now.
A year’s supply of pistachios, cashews or gum balls from Costco. Somehow they only seem to last a month, but they are especially savory when served with guilt.
Peace only to men and women of good cheer and good will.