Presents and Presence

So…what didja get for Christmas??

That was my favorite question to ask my cousin Katie on Christmas morning.  I would call her and we would expound upon our gifts for a while before going off to enjoy them. It is one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Now, I know gift-giving is not the most important part of the holiday but c’mon, let’s be real…it’s probably the most fun.

I love getting gifts!  And, I love giving them, even more.  My favorite is when you find the perfect thing for the perfect somebody and can surprise them on Christmas morning.  We have a running joke/competition in our family: make mom cry on Christmas.  Which of us (me, Bernie, or Mark) can dissolve her into tears?  This year Bern won with a paint set…then…a tie!!  Mark got her with a bottle of her cousin’s favorite scotch, evoking many memories.  Me, I got her a coffee maker so I wasn’t expecting to win, but she was very pleased with it. 

Right before Thanksgiving I was at Kevin’s house.  For the new reader, Kevin is my brother-from-another-mother, and I have literally known him my entire life.  We were discussing Christmas.  Kev is kind of hit or miss about the whole thing.  He loves Christmastime, but he loathes gift=giving.  He never knows what to get someone.  Conversely, he hates accepting gifts, because he either ends up not liking or not needing them, then he feels like an asshole and hangs on to the whatever forever, feeling guilty about throwing it away.  I can see his point of view, but I am of the opposite, and swore to him that I would teach him the meaning of gift-giving this holiday season.  He scoffed.

I went on a mission the next morning to find a gift for him, something he both would need and want.  Something I knew about Kev all these years is that he hasn’t had a proper wallet in some time.  He finds them bulky.  He keeps his cards and cash wrapped in a rubber band in his pocket.

I decided to hunt for a money clip.  Something small and sleek that he could use instead.  Then, I found it…a black and silver clip with an imprint of a wolf howling at the moon.  The wolf is totally his spirit animal, so there it was.  I purchased it and waited for it to arrive. 

Two weeks went by before I realized it was lost somewhere in California.  I got an email that Amazon would replace or refund it.  I looked everywhere for another matching one…no luck.  Panic.  And then…it came.  No tracking info listing its arrival, there it was in the mailbox one morning.  Christmas miracle.

We usually do a little dinner after Christmas and exchange gifts but his mother wasn’t feeling well earlier this month so we weren’t sure if we would.  So, I gave him his present early.  And he loved it.  He immediately transferred some of his stuff from the rubber band and put it in his pocket.  I did it, I got him something he would want and need.

But then that punk gave me a fake winning lotto ticket as a gift and I almost killed him.

A few days passed.  Kev called and said he picked up a little something for me.  He didn’t sound super sure of himself, like he wasn’t sure it was an acceptable Christmas present.  Of course, he could have given me anything (except that joke lotto ticket) and I would have been thrilled.  His mother was feeling better, so dinner was on, and he would bring it then.

So last night found me opening a brown paper bag (his idea of wrapping) and discovering…a Bob Ross Chia Pet. 

When I was a kid my friend Christina and I watched Bob Ross a lot. We thought he was great, with his “happy little trees.”  I always liked him.  Plus, I’m a gardener.  And, I saw this in the store and totally wanted to buy it because in my mind this is the most logical Chia Pet since the sheep.  So, really, he knocked it outta the park.

And so, Kevin learned of the joy of gift-giving and receiving.

For Christmas, I got a Bob Ross Chia Pet.  I also got some other cool stuff, like waders for fishing from my momma, the below sweatshirt from my father, and perfume that smells like our trip to the Bahamas from my sister.  Hubs didn’t do special this year, just resourceful…pots and pans and Spotify.  It was a lovely Christmas.  We had dinner with my aunts and Gram, and this past Saturday we did Kiddo Christmas.  Everyone loved their gifts.  I gave L and E their own fishing poles, and E scored an awesome handmade tablet cover from her father.  K got ALL the jewelry to fill her new jewelry box, and M walked away with Doom: Eternal for the PS4.

But that Chia Pet? The kinda silly but definitively thoughtful gift I got from my best friend of 37 years?

That one holds the special place in my heart this year.  Good job, bud.  Good job.

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