Inevitably, I receive at least one Christmas gift that makes me wonder, “What the hell made her buy me that?” and it is usually from my Mom. I am her only child and can only surmise that it is because she buys me so many gifts and gets caught up in a Christmas buying frenzy. This year it was Hello Kitty sleep pants. I try not to say, “What the hell?” out loud anymore, but could not stifle my laughter. Accustomed to my insensitivity, my Mom immediately offered, “They are SO cute!” But, I am not a cutesy kind of gal, despite the winking kitty and the kitty with reading glasses that make me giggle every time I look at them. However I create characters who are, so I will wear them when I need to channel a girly girl. When she reads this she will say out loud, “I gave you gift receipts”, but I would never dream of returning them. They and everything else quickly faded into the background when I opened the Godiva chocolate bar she gave me. “Rapture” and “ecstasy” are how I would describe my experience with Godiva.
My Daughter gave me a jar of brandied blackberry jam. I have not had booze with breakfast before, but this stuff has made me a believer. Well, at least in brandied jam. My Dad gifts me with monkeys because the monkey is my Chinese astrological sign. This year I received a monkey steel bank where the monkey climbs a palm tree to deposit a coin in the top of the tree. My home office is called “the monkey room” because it houses the majority of them. They scare the shit out of my husband who knows that monkeys are not always fun. Hearing how meaningful these monkey gifts are to me, my friend David made me monkey cookies for Christmas. The cookies were extra special because he had to form them with mix and match cutters, not having a monkey cookie-cutter, and he put spices in them so they were not the usual sugar cookies. David is not the usual friend; he is a bit spicier. In case you have not figured it out, my family goes to great lengths to buy thoughtful gifts (I think my Mom does it on purpose). In the season of consumption it may be our way of separating ourselves from the herd and appreciating each person’s uniqueness. I really am quite blessed with an unusual group of family and friends who make this absurd world not only more bearable, but lovely and laughable.