I hope those celebrating Thanksgiving had a warm and lovely holiday with friends and/or family, bracketed by safe travel and no speeding tickets. My Tofurky was a predictable success, and I was the only vegetarian at the table! My thanks to all who are open-minded and openhearted enough to give it a try, even if you ultimately give it a thumbs-down.
I suppose this, the day after Thanksgiving, launches us into the official start of the gift-buying season and, for many, the high holidays. How fortunate we are to set forth with full bellies to buy thoughtful gifts for people we hold dear. I mean that sincerely. As one who has never been a recreational shopper, I depend on level blood sugar like a pair of crutches. That’s not to say that I went holiday shopping on Black Friday, but I am mulling things over.
Most of my unnecessary shopping excursions – anything beyond groceries and household supplies – are undertaken with both consternation and a list. I approach them like a Special Forces soldier: get in and get out. Take only what you need, leave nothing but a sales record and for goodness sake not your debit card. However, as I like to say, life is serendipitous, and sometimes it’s best to let it ride. How better to find gifts people didn’t even realize they needed?
Along that vein, I want to share with you some unique gift-giving ideas upon which I have stumbled, but I haven’t stumbled upon very many as I am woefully reticent to wander through stores, especially now that the flag has ceremoniously dropped. There is true delight in finding that perfect something for a loved one, but once the clock starts ticking, the stress begins ratcheting up. I live in a rural area where the nearest shopping meccas are over an hour away, and the nearest shopping mall, at only 20 minutes away, is gearing up to provide what it can to shoppers. Past experience living in Northern New England taught me that it’s best to poke around in the corners to find work created by local artists and artisans, which make the best gifts, alongside homemade items and donations to a favorite charity.
Still, I’ve started perusing the commercial world, and I unexpectedly chanced upon the most bizarre game I think I have ever seen.
I learned about it the winter before last when I saw a strange looking cap strewn on a hassock in my friend’s living room. I had let myself into her house one cold evening to care for her Chihuahua while the family was away, and in the dim lamp light this captured my attention because I could neither identify nor understand it. I didn’t see it again until a few weeks ago when it appeared on a kiosk shelf at the aforementioned diminutive mall. The idea is for two people to tie Velcro-studded caps onto their heads and throw stuffed-fabric doodies at each other’s skulls, aiming to make as many as possible stick.
I’m not sure which outcome determines the winner, but the game comes with instructions, which would be helpful at a frat party, though the only person I know who owns it is my friend’s now six-year-old son. This could be a gift for all ages or a great means to finally end that obligatory gift exchange. Give it some thought.
Perusing the internet for ideas, I noticed something that the peregrinations of my mind suggested I should probably own, though I don’t truly desire it (this is what makes holiday shopping treacherous).
Shower radios have been around for decades, but they have morphed and become fairly spiffy of late. I am usually too rushed in the morning to fidget with anything that doesn’t have a direct impact on getting me to work earlier, so I never bothered with one, but this electronic gizmo can be amped up almost anywhere to regale you with your own playlists. I would more than likely use it for podcasts since my iPhone at full volume from the ledge of the shower does not overcome the patter of falling water, but I digress.
This gift idea reminded me of the time a few years ago when I spontaneously burst into rapturous melody in the shower. A song to which I knew only a few lines was rattling relentlessly through my head and its only way out was through my mouth. I knew I didn’t sound great, but I was unprepared for my husband to thunder up the stairs, explode through the bathroom door, and fling open the shower curtain. We stood there looking at each other, both of us equally surprised. Evidently, he expected to find me crumpled on the floor of the tub, possibly in an eddy of blood, because, he said, and this is a direct quote, “I thought you were yelling in pain.”
If I were a material girl, I might have angled for one of these at that time, but I favor this memory far more than a gadget that would have drowned out my voice, thereby thwarting this remembrance, which he probably wishes I would forget already. Holidays are, in at least some part, about building memories that will last a lifetime. Most of the memories are softhearted, some are funny, but hopefully they are all positive in nature. Let it snow, let us dive in, remember and create capsules of merriment in turbulent times, and extend kindness to the good people crowding around us.