Wednesday, December 23, 2015


By my count, I bought something for thirteen different people this year. I always say I'm going to cut back, but who am I kidding? I love shopping.

Also, I'm not entirely sure I'm done shopping just yet.  If you're someone who might be on my list, stop reading right now unless you want your present opening surprised.

1. The Husband: DIY camera kit, The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour, a vacuum food jar, and a sweater - He told me that he wanted all of these things except for the camera kit, which I know he'll love. So there you have it.  I would not be pumped to receive these gifts, but I'm not interested in camping and what to do when the fuckheads from the NRA infiltrate the civilian police force and suddenly the world is anarchic (one word: suicide), but I think Dr. BB will like them.

2. My mom: She got a sweatshirt from the bookstore where I teach

(Tangent #1 - I know I'm particular about things, but I wanted to get my mom a full zip sweatshirt with the name of the school and the mascot logo and I wanted this sweatshirt to be purple, which is one of the school colors and this was not possible. No such sweatshirt existed at the bookstore. I ended up buying a grey one, which is FINE, but not really what I envisioned - NOT A SCHOOL COLOR - and when I talked about this with Dr. BB, he could not have rolled his eyes any further inside his skull so I'm venting about it here because no one reads this anyway, so now I'm done with this nonsense and won't think about it anymore.)

and a six-month subscription to Simply Audiobooks because she has a giant commute (over an hour each way) and she listens to endless audiobooks, but she likes them on CD, not downloaded or whatever, so this is like Netflix with physical CDs.

3. My sister: She is so annoying. I actually probably should stop buying for her because when I asked her what she wanted, she said she was moving soon

(Tangent #2: NOT moving, but they're going to tear down the existing house they live in and build a new one, so they still have to pack up all their stuff.)

so all she really wanted was totes. Seriously. This did not put me in the holiday season. So I bought her packing cubes and space saver bags along with a couple of other silly things and sent it to her in a fucking bin I bought at Target.

4. Brother-in-law #1 (my sister's husband): We got him a Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool which is exactly what I knew I would get him as soon as I wrote about it.

5. Brother-in-law #2 (my husband's sister's husband): We got him some workout pants because that's what he asked for. Honestly, my husband took care of this, so I'm not entirely sure this is exactly what we went with, but it's close enough.

6. Sister-in-law (my husband's brother's wife - incidentally my favorite of my in-laws): Unicorn farts lip balm,

(Tangent #3: Every woman who I actually like got the Unicorn farts lip balm from me this year because I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I won't repeat it again, but I bought like five tubes of the stuff and I didn't save any for me!)

Philosophy Snowflakes Set, and some socks. All of this came off her Amazon wish list (with the exception of the lip balm). If I can get to Ulta before we leave on Christmas Eve, I may also get her some more lip stuff because she loves it.

7.  Best Friend #1: Potholders, a chalkboard frame (not this one, but I bought it locally and can't find the name of the lady who made mine, but it was similar to this), a fun hat and touchscreen gloves, a blue serving bowl,  and an Amazon gift card - I just kept picking up stuff and adding it to the pile and thinking it would be delightful if I knew everyone as well as I knew her.

8. Best Friend #2: I love it when people have Amazon wishlists. I just buy it all. She got an egg and muffin toaster (I'm mystified by "toasting" an egg), some headphones, a coffee grinder, and totally not on the list necklace. I'm pretty sure she liked these gifts, but the best part is that she can return them to Amazon if she doesn't.  (And I'll never know!!)

9. Son of Best Friend #1: It seems wrong when I send her a bunch of stuff and don't send him anything. He got some twistable colored pencils and Jason Ford's The Superhero Comic Kit. I'll be honest that I didn't read the dimensions of this book very carefully and it turns out that it's much bigger than I had anticipated. I had to go buy ANOTHER BIN at Target to send it.

10. My aunt: I got her a set of ornaments featuring our alma maters and a catnip toy (I'd say that this pillow is in Zelda's Top Five favorite toys, so if your cat is like my cat, he or she will like it, but you know that cats never like the toys you THINK they'll like, so I can't make a blanket promise that your cat will like it) for her kitty. She requested these items when I visited in June, so maybe I'm just a little slow in getting things out.
11. Niece #1 (2 years old) - Look, she's a baby. I got her a pretend baking set (her parents' request) and a book.  She won't even know what's going on, so I was not particularly excited about buying this present. It didn't stop me from spending a couple of hours worrying about whether I should take the "not for children 3 and under" warning seriously until the kid's dad told me it was fine.

(Tangent #4: I posted about this "not for children 3 and under" warning on Facebook, asking for advice, and someone wrote "The major concern would be small parts ... and if the child is still putting small things in his or her mouth." LIKE I'M AN IDIOT. I don't have kids, BUT I'M NOT A MORON. I KNOW why the warning exists, but I'm trying to figure out if most/some/no parents actually take it seriously. Argh. I'm still upset about this.  Deep breath. Holiday shopping is fraught.)

12. Niece #2 (6 years old) - Now, I kind of went over the budget for this kid, but here's the deal. This is my niece who has cerebral palsy and she's going through a rough time right now. Her current treatment is not working well and she's regressing in terms of her mobility. She's currently doing something called "serial casting" and, I'm not going to lie, it's sucky for her. When we talk to her, she's pissed off at the world - and I don't blame her. She's six years old and she can't do ANYTHING for herself. She can't go to the bathroom, put herself to bed, get herself a snack, or anything. She certainly can't play games with her twin brother, she can't go sledding (oh, the sadness over this), and she can't even crawl like her baby sister can.  There's nothing wrong with her cognitively and she's well aware of her psychical limitations and I JUST WANT TO SPOIL HER THIS CHRISTMAS SO THAT IS WHAT I'M DOING.

The only thing she requested was Perler beads, so she got some of those, along with a Minions creativity tub, a Barbar book, and some personalized crayons. Damn it, if all she can do is crafts, she's going to get all the crafts she can do. 

13. Student helper - I had a student who helped me with my freshman seminar this semester and I gave her a scarf and a box of chocolates.

And then I collapsed and told myself that I'll stop buying so much next year. (I really won't.)

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