You know those people who hate Christmas? The ones who cheer for Scrooge at the start of A Christmas Carol and boo-hiss at the end? Who cringe as stores strike up the Christmas carols a week prior to Thanksgiving and have all their lights hung and decorations up the day after?
I am so not one of those people. I fall into the other category, the obnoxious, eagerly anticipating, merry Christmas-makers category. The people who start humming "Deck the Halls" and "What are you doing New Year's?" somewhere around Labor Day category. The ones who over-buy holiday wrapping paper when you find something really cute (dogs in Santa hats, sort of art deco, I can't wait to start wrapping) to use for next year category. The planning where to put the Christmas tree when you move into a new house category (ours is going where the red plaid chair currently resides, and the chair will rotate to the other side of the television).
I LOVE CHRISTMAS.
And last night, The Hubba, in all his infinite hubbaness, brought home Sarah McLachlan's new CD, Wintersong
, but don't let the title fool you, it's a Christmas covers album. I've played it twice at the store today.
So on this subject of Christmas I started thinking about different kinds of gifters. In honor of Debbie Stoller's
"Field Guide to Knitters", I offer you my Five Deadly Gifters. For instance:
It's Christmas?! Gifters: Typically you find these people rushing around an Eckerds/Walgreens/Pilot/empty-shelved Target (if they're lucky) on Dec 24th about 5:30pm buying gifts for friends and loved ones (hint: if you see them, you might just be them). Once again, the holiday that happens at the SAME TIME EVERY SINGLE YEAR has snuck up on them and so they venture home with bottles of "Vanilla de Great Grandma" for the wife, the twelfth Britney CD (the one that bombed) for the thirty-two year old daughter and a John Wayne DVD for a teenage son who only wants items with the words X-BOX or SONY stamped across the front. Recipients: Be kind to your late-gifting friends; we've all been there. It's Christmas?! Gifters, I wish you well in the upcoming holiday season. A word of advice: it's the 25th of December this year.
Or how about:
R-E-S-P-E-C-T Gifters: They're just looking for some appreciation. They went to busy stores! They woke up at un-Godly hours to get these things! They hunted for exactly the right gift! They want you to know that! They want respect and they're not afraid to play the worry card if they must. Here's a hint: while you're opening the package if you hear either "It's not much" OR "If you don't like it..." you've got a R-E-S-P-E-C-T Gifter on your hands. If you're not up for a day reassuring over and over and over andoverandoverandover here's my suggestion: use a phrase that runs along the lines of, this is EXACTLY what you wanted most in your life, a gift has never been so perfectly selected, this is the end-all be-all of all gifts ever given in the history of the world, or (for the truly determined R-E-S-P-E-C-T-er) it's best if you just die now to avoid the years to come of gifts that will never measure up to this particular gift.
Or why not:
The Bulldog Gifter: Oh, you know who I mean, the person you once mentioned to, when you were eight, your thing for My Little Pony and ten years later you got a "To the Graduate" card covered in pink horses with sparkles slapped across their butts. Clinch of Present-Death is another name for these gifters, as once they've got an idea, much like those little dogs once famed for hanging from the throat of a bull, they will never EVER let it go. DO NOT mention a trendy item in front of these people, unless you're prepared to like it when you're eighty. Vague, impossible to pin down items are best such as pants ("Oh, any color, size, and style will do!"), books ("something with words!") or music ("I love sound!"). Don't treat them harshly. Remember, these are people you typically see only once a year. And keep an eye on the turkey; Bulldog gifters have been known to yak up the occasional bone.
Catch and Release Gifters: These folks set foot in a store once a year, about a week prior to the 25th, and their brains simply melt in the face of so many items in one place. The Hubba, poor man, falls into this category and God help our VISA when he's done. All sense of a product's worth goes out the window and I later find receipts for one pair cotton pajamas, one pair fuzzy slippers for $86.98. The week of the 26th is a time of returns for the family members of these folks, and lots of conversations, gently conducted of "Well, yes, I do think a CD stand is an excellent idea, but I just don't think we should have to sell an organ to afford it." My suggestion: ask for gift certificates.
And, my particular favorite:
The Stitch Itch Gifters: Anything you can sweat, cry, burn yourself, bleed and stress over is high on their shopping list! The thinking of these folks? "Why buy a pair of gloves for $9.99 at The Wal-Mart, when you can make a pair, with a lot more time, and wonky little holes instead? Who cares it's a midriff baring sweater, Uncle Eddie and that beer-gut can carry it off! Too dull- let me bedazzle it! Oh, a few peanut-butter buckeyes never hurt a diabetic- eat up!" Filled with a sense of "from the heart" these knitters/crocheters/bakers/basket-makers will lose all sense of reason, self, and time between Thanksgiving and December 24th. They are also the first people in line for that box o' merlot around noon Christmas morning. Accept presents with a polite smile, and a thank-you and the mental comfort there's still plenty of room in the back of your closet and this knitting/crocheting/bedazzling phase can't last for ever. If it's your crafter's first crafting Christmas, God help you.
Who are a few of your favorite gifters? Remember, I'm not just neighborly, I'm nosely. Especially around the time of family holidays ("putting the funk back in dysfunction!"). And, please don't feel pigeon-holed; a person can fall into more than one category. I'm in at least three.
Just a few thoughts and helpful hints from your local, Christmas-crazed Neighborknitter! Remember it's not just the season of giving, but also the season of forgiveness. Or is that Easter? Either way, be kind to your gifting family and friends- remember, all that fighting through horrible crowds, swearing, burning up the VISA card, more swearing, knitting, fighting for parking spaces, uncontrollable sobbing, assembling, crocheting, baking, really truly awful straight-to-the-top of Santa's naughty list swearing- these are all acts of holiday love.