All I Think I Wanted for Christmas


When I was a kid, I found that the only good aspect of Christmas having happened rather than Christmas going to happen was the presentation, comparison, and discussion about loot with my comrades. This took place as soon as possible after Christmas morning, which, in the kid interpretation meant about 7:13 a.m.

By 7:14 am, I was chomping at the bit to go show Eddie my toys. My parents would usually draw me back to our house with the offer of breakfast foods topped with maple syrup. However, at 10ish all bets were off and I’d be storming across the street with my booty.

Perhaps the best part was that when you have a best friend, your loot becomes his and vice versa. I wasn’t jealous of his toys, because they became my toys by extension. It falls under the Latin legal precedent, de buticus est mea buticus. And so as I ran the thirty yards between our houses with my baseball glove and a platoon of military toys, I knew that they would only be enhanced by what he had.

At some point in our teens, our thirst for toys waned and we looked for things of use, and like most kids in our neighborhood, things to use outside. Running across the street for a booty conference didn’t happen on Christmas morning, but rather later that week. And when we showed off our gifts, it was clothing, bows and arrows, pen-flashlights, pocket warmers, jeans, stereos and tape players, eventually CD players, and enough Drakkar to win the Battle of the Somme. Nevertheless, the question of the week was “So, what’d you get?”

While some people will be quick to point out that this question makes me strikingly materialistic. I argue that A. it’s a common and pleasant question to ask this time of year, B. that no negative judgement follows or is linked to the answer in the least, and C. that these are the same people who will ask your favorite bank and then spend thirty minutes telling you why they’re not. We call these people assholes. Smart people don’t call them at all.

When my sister asked this week what I had gotten for Christmas, I answered with three things: a diary (i.e. a day planner), wireless earphones, and some model airplanes.   

In my middle age, I think there’s a definite message to how you answer the question “What’d you get?” Perhaps because we get these gifts on the cusp of a new year, I think the ones we choose to include when we answer the question says a lot about our hopes, expectations, and goals for the next year.

Perhaps in response to my feelings that I’m not reading enough, I plan to use the diary to mark down my daily writing output and my reading intake. Read: I’m getting damn old and I need to make better use of my reading and writing time.

My wireless earphones are going to go on jogs and walks with me. I am an avid walker and once-a-week-jogger. And I can tell you, the experience of jogging is far more pleasant without accidentally ripping earphones out of my face holes and then looking around for a bud while cursing in two languages. I hope these earphones do a lot of walking and jogging this spring and summer.

I put together models when I was younger and fell well out of the habit in my twenties and thirties. But they have made a resurgence in my life in the last two years when I found that doing them helps ease the anxiety I get in the evenings. By busying my hands and whatever lobes of my brain work to put together parts, I stave off the day’s work and stresses.

So I guess I hope to be more productive, to spend more time moving, and to be less anxious. Not bad goals. As for the remainder of my household Burke is currently in the armchair getting weather updates from a Fitbit that’s smarter than us. It not only tells us the weather, but when to stand, her oxygen saturation levels and heartrate, and, last night, we thoroughly enjoyed its thesis on the themes of battle between man and nature than run through Moby Dick.

I’m sure if I think about past gifts and those I told my friends about, I can find similar incentives and hopes. My bow and arrow probably meant I wanted to become more independent. Or I wanted to kill stuff. And though God only knows at thirteen what I hoped all that Drakkar would help me accomplish, I’m damn well sure it didn’t work.  

So, my dear friends, what’d you get for Christmas and what does it say about your upcoming year?   

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