The Incorrigible Night Owl

December 19, 2004

A brief descent into schmaltz

So I've been crawling around under the Christmas tree, snooping.

I'm generally a surprise kinda' girl. But if one was to imagine a surprise scale, with 1 being a vague, fleeting surprise and 10 being the kind of thing that puts you in the hospital, I'd say my preference falls somewhere in the neighborhood of a 5. In other words, I don't go looking for my presents prior to them being wrapped, because that would totally ruin the surprise. However, I am not above shaking, poking, and feeling any packages which happen to have my name on them. This method allows for some element of surprise to remain ("It's a book...but which book, out of all the ones on my wish list, might it be?") and yet satisfies my natural curiosity.

So far I have been able to ascertain that I have two CDs, a book and something DVD-like coming to me from my parents. I could probably narrow the options down by taking a look at my Amazon Wish List, which I sent to my mother and from which probably all these items were purchased. But that would fall into the "too much info" category for me so I am having fun speculating and leaving it at that.

Not just nosy for myself, but nosy on behalf of my children, I have been examining their gifts, as well. John-Zachary's are no surprise, as the main one was my suggestion and the other (also from my Amazon list) my mom told me she was getting. Madalyn's are a bit more of a surprise. I have identified a probable My Little Pony and what appears to be a CD for her, as well (though it could be a computer game).

When I was a kid, I could not possibly fathom how adults had any fun at Christmas. The phrase, "It's better to give than to receive" meant absolutely nothing to me. I saw my parents exchange just three or four gifts, some of which they may have bought for themselves, and I felt so sorry for them. How depressing! How boring! How could they stand it?

Now that I'm a grownup, myself (more or less), and I have my own children, it suddenly all makes sense. The real thing I am looking forward to this Christmas, as every Christmas now, is seeing people's reactions to the gifts I have selected for them. And it's not just the kids; it's Robert and my parents, as well. Sure, I'm excited about the stuff I'm getting (I mean, hello? New car CD player with XM radio? Right freaking on!) But mostly I am envisioning the people I love opening the gifts I've handpicked for them, writhing in ecstasy, wailing, speaking in tongues, falling down in abject worship at my feet -- you know, the usual. Is that too much to ask?

Seriously, though, I can't wait to watch the family opening the gifts I bought them. I take great pride in selecting the perfect present. Rare is the occasion when I settle for a "one size fits all"-type gift. I'm even positive my dad will love his gift this year (it's always a crapshoot whether he will or not). It's amazing what a couple of decades and some kids will do to one's perception of Christmas. I've discovered the True Meaning, the Real Joy, the Christmas Spirit, blah blah blah maudlin-cakes.

And that, folks, is as close to schmaltzy as I get. Now bring on the loot.