Monday, November 29, 2010

My Christmas List: A Confession

My sister-in-law made this huge, leaping confession about Christmas in which I was painted as a self-sacrificing ideal of gift refusal, and I can no longer allow the misconception to continue. Thus, because it is forced upon me, here is my confession: I have expensive taste.

There it is.

I know I can't have what I want, so you may as well put your money to good use.

When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I have a price point in mind that I assume you are trying to stay within. As there is nothing in said price point that I can't buy for myself (whether I would actually buy it or not doesn't factor in, because we all know I am far too cheap to actually spend $30 on a shirt, but that's another story altogether).

See, I could go out and buy you a $30 sweater that you probably won't like because we have completely different taste. You can go out and buy me a $30 sweater that I may or may not like for the same reason. Neither one of us will admit that we might not wear the sweater. We may have excellent intentions of actually wearing the sweater. We may give it a token wear or two. But, all in all, the $60 has been wasted and on top of that, we have guilt. So why not put the money towards a well and we can have warm fuzzies?

The kink in this theory is that my sister in law actually has given me gifts that I've worn out. I don't know that she can say the same about me.

With all due respect to my parents, we didn't have a whole lot of money growing up and Christmas came with a budget. Christmas was, for the most part, responsible. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never in my wildest dreams get video game systems. (And not just because of the money factor. My mom is very anti-digital entertainment.) But video game systems was what I wanted. What child of the 80s didn't want an Atari? (Hubs bought me one after we were married and still makes fun of me for wanting to play it.) I also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'd never get a Cabbage Patch Doll and they surprised me. But I believed in Santa for years longer that a child should because Santa gave me gifts that my parents would NEVER EVER buy. (One of the many reasons we don't do Santa here. I like my credit.) I think Santa brought me the single player pac-man game. Go figure. My parents are more selfless than I am.

The first 13 years of my married life, we had no money. In order to survive, we asked people to not buy us gifts so that we wouldn't have to feel obligated to give back. We couldn't give and receiving is too hard without returning the favor. We bought gifts for people HOPING BEYOND HOPE that Grandma would come through with enough cash to cover what we'd purchased. People would lavish stuff on us and we went home feeling like crap because we weren't more generous, vowing that Next Year would be better. And it almost never was. At least if we asked people to give to charity, we could do the same. Give according to what we have and not have to feel like Scrooge when our homemade candy was stacked up against a pile of gifts.

And yes, I do like to give money to starving children in India and water to thirsty orphans in Africa. They wear on my heart and mind in ways I can't even begin to explain. Why, WHY am I given so much when these children have NOTHING, and how DARE I admit that I want something so frivolous as a new coffee maker when I have one that works adequately and there are children picking coffee beans for a subsistence income?


So, I could give you my list. It goes a little something like this:

I would like a watch. I really like the $700 ones at Helzberg Diamonds. $30 ones never last more than a month on my arm. I think I have a chemical on me that kills them. Dead.
I would like a Keurig and the cute single serve coffees that come with it.
Unless, of course I want a coffee roaster and green coffee beans.
And until I can decide if I want individual serving expensive coffee or want to roast my own, I'd rather not have both machines cluttering up my kitchen counter.
I want a $600 glass quilt display.
I don't have enough quilts to justify this request.
Which means I probably would like some more quilts.
I want a $700 language learning system so I can learn a romantic language that has no bearing on daily life and hopefully visit the country in which the language is still spoken.
There is a painting on a cruise ship floating somewhere near Cozumel that I want in an insane manner. At last docking it was $1800 and could very well now be sold.
I liked nearly everything I saw in Eddie Bauer last week. Except for the things I didn't like. There was a denim jacket that was awesome. There was also one that was decidedly not. Describe that one on your Christmas list.

So, Tam, there you have it. The reason I ask that you give money for clean water in Africa. It is so much easier than admitting that you can't afford the things I want.

At least you can admit you like gifts and seem content to receive $30 sweaters.

I appreciate that you humor me.


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Mrs. D said...

Ha! Good to know...I'll stick with the donation :). But as much as you can try to cover it up, you will always be a much more giving person than me. So there.