My boyfriend, Mr. Shiny, is not a gifty person. He accepts gifts, but isn't particularly touched by the gesture. This makes shopping for him a little tricky, but it also means I can show him a link at Amazon and say "Hey, do you want this thing?" and it won't detract from the gift. He wants the thing or he doesn't, and seeing it first doesn't matter very much.
I am not like that. I'm not massively gifty, but I like opening presents and I like it when people give me things. Even if it's a lame present, I appreciate the gesture.
For Christmas this year, I wanted a tree. I always had trees growing up and my apartment is big enough, darnit, I should have a tree. My best friend, Mrs. Bean, also wanted a tree, and we both wanted to give her daughter, Sprout, the whole tree experience. So we went out with my parents and Mr. Shiny to stalk the wily christmas tree in its native environs. After spotting our prey, we pounced and cut it down in the beginning of its life. Then we mercilessly dragged the body out past the shocked expressions of its surviving family. I propped the corpse up in my living room and festooned it with shiny baubles and blinky lights, and I call it "festive".
Mr. Shiny was a bit bemused by all of this, but he was game. He hung lights and bah-humbug'd with the best of us.
A few weeks later I located an ornament he found acceptable and he hung it on the tree; it's a gesture I'm finding surprisingly meaningful.
Now, the other thing is that I don't get very many christmas presents. This year, most of them came at different times or were unwrapped or were something like "vacation", so I didn't have anything to put under the tree. I really appreciate all those gifts, but I was still pretty sad about the naked tree-base. I collected a bunch of items from around the house, mostly things I had just bought at the store, and had Mrs. Bean wrap them for me. Then I had presents! Awesome! She also gave me another wrapped thing to add to the pile.
I told Mr. Shiny that I would like a something from him for Christmas, even if it was just a dumb little thing. I didn't say anything more about it, but I was hoping for some kind of a thing. I think I also half-expected him to come in and tell me to turn around, he had to wrap it -- but that is a gifty expectation, and he's not a gifty fellow, remember?
He came over on Christmas Eve, and we had a nice dinner but nothing special, and chilled out for a while. He asked me a bit about what the holiday meant to me and what my family had done over the years.
Then he hypnotized me.
In the trance, he brought out all these wonderful memories of Christmas and presents and family. Things I haven't thought of in years! Like the melty mints Mom put in my stocking every year for at least five years. Or when I asked for a car and got Hot Wheels. Or the beautiful jewelry or toys or sweaters... and how Mom and Dad had the routine of stepping away from the group for a few minutes and catching up with us later, when we liked something and they wanted to get it for us. He reminded me of all the excitement and the sneaking around to find the presents ahead of time and the embarassing pictures Dad would take.
Then all these wonderful Christmas memories, he melted into a puddle of wonderful goo, and I was melting with it, all red and green and sparkly.
Then he told me I'd feel that way the next morning, on Christmas.
Now, this might well be the first Christmas morning in my life that had a blowjob before the cinnamon rolls... but all day, I felt happy. Very playful. A little distracted by shiny and craving sugar. I annoyed the cats, I annoyed Mr. Shiny, I played a video game, I ate way too many cinnamon rolls. I opened presents and was pleased -- I like apple butter! and I really needed those rechargable batteries! I threw wrapping paper at the cats and missed; I put wrapping paper on their heads and they looked at me and went back to sleep.
Mr. Shiny went home a while ago and I had a brief moment of "oh well" disappointment that I didn't get to unwrap anything from him today.* Then I remembered what he'd done for me yesterday. I realised that no, he did not give me a random trinket; instead, he skipped back through my life and fetched out some of the most lovely moments. He wrapped them up with his words and gave them back to me.
Those moments are mine, and they always were; but now they're his, too, and ours, anchored to this day, this Christmas, with the man I love so very, very much.
And my snoring cats.
* Besides him. That doesn't count. Come on, people, we're talking
Christmas here. Be wholesome.