December 27, 2009

Merry Loot-mas

Christmas is for me a religious holiday. I love both Midnight Mass and the traditional Protestant Christmas Eve service, love lighting the Advent candle, opening Advent calendars (preferably with chocolate, because...duh). I adore live nativities, especially the ones with actual fat-legged bottle-fed Jesuses gritching on their exhausted parents. The BEST ONE I ever saw was done outside in a small Alabama town and it had actual ornery little donkeys and too-stupid-to-live sheep milling about with panicky teenager shepherds with giant farm-animal sized pooper-scoopers disguised as crooks. Dig it.

I am not much into the secular Christmas that has grown up around one of my religion’s high holy days, but I get that it is important to other people and whatnot, so more power to ‘em, even though I cannot FATHOM how any human can look at most reigning Mall Santas and think, “I have an idea! I will go plop my precious child down on that hairy stranger, who is probably a felon happy to have a job that allows him to be disguised!” I am sure some Mall Santas are harmless Grampas with real beards who look forward to doing the job every year, and that’s really sweet and such, but....I am willing to bet the ratio of felons to harmless Grampas would be discouraging.

ALSO, I do not like 98% of secular Christmas music, and a few of the traditional, secular carols I hate with a surprising vigor, considering my bland response to most songs. Most songs make me go, “....Oh. A song. Meh.” A rare few---Joy to the World, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Mary’s Song----the lyrics resonate with me so powerfully that I come to like the song by association. But secular Christmas music with its ring ting jingling-ness makes my teeth grit. Hate Rudolf. Hate him. Unabashedly. Hate ALL twelve of the twelve days of Christmas and who ON EARTH would WANT their boyfriend to give them that many barnyard and water fowl. It’s perverted. I think the song about Frosty would be much improved if midway through there was a verse about someone taking a blow torch to this head, thumpetty thump thump, thumpetty thump thump, look at Frosty convulse in agony, thumpetty thump etc.


There is one thing I REALLY love about secular Christmas. The presents. I dearly love presents. I love to SHOP for presents for people (although I find I enjoy it most when I do it in October before the LOOT-MAS MADNESS cranks up.) I love to WRAP presents. I love to watch people unwrap things and see what they got. I love to GET presents. I like to open wrapped things and not know what is in them and then know. I. LIKE. IT. And yes Christmas should be less commercial blahblahblah, so fine, get the elf animatronics out of the mall, but for the love of all that is holy, THERE MUST BE PRESENTS.

This year, I got AWESOME presents.

From my mom and dad, I got this gorgeous bag that had long been filling my black heart with wild vintage leather-based lusts. I got rice bowls to go with my everyday china. I got pricey bath stuff I would NEVER buy myself. It smells like FIGS and RED TEA.

My brother and his family got Scott a shirt he had seen online, DEARLY WANTED, and declined to buy for himself because if ever bought himself anything it would be so antithetical to his character that it might create an anti-matter Scott and if they ever met and shook hands the world would implode and you would all die. He really WANTED this shirt, but not at the cost of total planetary destruction, so he resisted it, then was all hang doggy for a couple of days saying. “I should have ordered it...” and then he forgot about it. THEN? He got it for Christmas --- they had NO idea of all this at home drama over it, they just saw it said, “Oh! Scott would like that!” It looks like this:


This was the first year my kids bought me presents with NO INPUT from their dad or my mom or common sense. The kids’ school set up a Christmas store --- any kid could bring money and shop for their family all secret-like. My cool son got me a coffee mug because he knows I am an addict. He gave his dad a keychain flashlight. Really THOUGHTFUL and things we both need/like. BUT! Maisy is only seven and WOW! I got a HIDEOUS faux- silver ring that keeps catching in my hair and yoinking pieces out and that is turning my finger green....I LOVE IT. But it was not the BEST thing. Oh no. She got Scott a fake birdhouse that is BRISTLING with plastic greenery and topped with a plastic, mentally ill looking googly eyed cardinal.

Scott got me two months of sessions with a personal trainer, this ENORMOUS HULKING SHREDDED ex army meat-and-fruit-eating muscle fanatic who says he is going to RIP ME UP. I gave Scott a very odd present: PERMISSION to get a tattoo. He in return gave me permission to NOT get a tattoo ever. Thanks, Babe!

And now that I have revealed the depths of my rampant package-driven greed, you must tell me....What was the best thing you gave or got this year?

Posted by joshilyn at December 27, 2009 4:15 PM



Posted by: Rachel at December 27, 2009 5:29 PM

Two years ago, the twins bought me a ring--it is so big and glittery and fake and it resembles a big emerald in a class ring. I love it but I don't wear it as often as maybe I should.
This year, Elliot bought me chocolates and Ilsa bought me a green candle holder and Abel bought me pretty Moroccan pottery. Best of all is still coming but I'm not supposed to know about it. But it's something that is so cool that it will make me cool by extension.
PS I feel pretty much the same as you about Christmas and lootmas and all, although I do like Ella Fitzgerald.

Posted by: edj at December 27, 2009 5:37 PM

The absolute best gifts that I gave this year were to my son and daughter. Son got a Nintendo DSsomething that he had been wanting for about 3 years now and had given up hope of ever getting. Daughter got a t-shirt with Pi on the front. She is such a geek and love puns. The Pi symbol was not a solid Pi. It was made up of the the actual numerical value of Pi taken out to about the 10,000th place. Both incredibly awesome. My most favorite gift this year was Wii Active, a game designed with Bob Green, famous trainer of Oprah. I've already complete 2 days of the 30 day challenge in it and have gotten 4 shiny trophies. Gift Win!

Posted by: Debra at December 27, 2009 6:17 PM

I got two gifts of awesomeness: a yarn bowl with my name carved in the side (ordered from Maid of Clay on etsy) and an elephant tea pot.

Posted by: Vicki at December 27, 2009 6:24 PM

A picture of all four grand babies together! The best.

Posted by: Jody at December 27, 2009 6:28 PM

Let me tell you how old I am. I got an AWESOME, new, Kenmore vacuum cleaner that I love like it's my second-born child.

I will also soon have an Amazon credit. A woman at my husband's office told him that he absolutely had to get me the Twilight series. I showed him a very long FB conversation (ok, status update and subsequent comments) about Twilight - how we are all reasonably intelligent, well-educated women with feminist tendencies and yet we are sucked into (much the way my new vacuum sucks) into this stinkin' Twilight series.
The Twilight series is going back. I cannot bear to financially support a codependent twit of a main character like that, although I am waiting with baited breath to get the third book from the library.

Merry Christmas! :)

Posted by: liz at December 27, 2009 6:50 PM

Best present this year? I got my 23 year old daughter the Easy Bake oven she's wanted for her whole life. She loved it.

Best present I got? An Ott light which mimics outdoor light and makes it easier to knit/spin in the early dark nights of winter.

Posted by: donna lee at December 27, 2009 7:07 PM

I bought my husband the National Parks book by Burns and Duncan. He loves the parks. He has been to many of them. We certainly hope to get to them together.

Posted by: Olive Cooper at December 27, 2009 8:34 PM

I SHOULD say that I loved the handmade clay reindeer from my 8 year old the most, and I DID say that...but in my heart I love the IPhone my husband gave me...(maybe more than life itself).

Posted by: Raine at December 27, 2009 9:32 PM

I'm glad you had a good Christmas. I'm with you (mostly) about the songs. I love the hymns and could listen to them all day long. I love love love Josh Groban's "Noel" CD but have to skip past the Christmas Song and a few others. Even with Josh singing them.

My best gift this year was a chocolate Nativity from a good friend and Girl Scout co-leader. It made me laugh lots and lots. But now we are embroiled in a debate about what to do with Baby Jesus. It just seems WRONG to eat him. Any thoughts??? :)

Posted by: Terri at December 27, 2009 9:33 PM

The Mr. and I decided we didn't need anything as much as some old friends of mine did, and so we played Santa to their whole family, who is going through some really hard times. It felt really good.

Posted by: SaltedWithShadows at December 27, 2009 10:17 PM

I'm officially a grown-up now.

I got a Crockpot. And I'm THRILLED.

Posted by: erinanne at December 27, 2009 11:39 PM

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Posted by: Katie19 at December 28, 2009 12:04 AM

I got a lovely set of bookends that DS9 picked out all by himself, and PAID for with his own money--almost all he had. So very thoughtful I will never ever ever let them go...
DS6 got me a very very sparkly fake poinsettia that he picked out an paid for with his own money. That one might languish in a box for several years before mysteriously disappearing.

Posted by: Jen at December 28, 2009 9:25 AM

I got my dying grandmother's cookie jar that I thought had been sold at auction. There is a bit of a story as to how I came to receive it, and I super duper HATE posting links to my own blog in other people's comments, but it's either that or post a whole freaking NOVEL here explaining how this gift came to be. So, er, if you really want to know, go read this:

And if you DON'T want to know, we'll forget this ever happened.

As for the best gift I GAVE, my manly 13-year-old boy child cried when he opened the plush Portal weighted companion cube I made him with my own two hands (and a sewing machine)(and only a TINY bit of cursing). He has not turned loose of it since Christmas morning. I am glowy with pride.

Posted by: Badger at December 28, 2009 10:13 AM

I have to post a link, because there's a pic:

Posted by: Debora Silkotch at December 28, 2009 10:37 AM

Best material gift? Completely unexpected new lens for mah camera. It's a macro, so BOKEH!!!
Best smooshy heart-warming gift? My aunt feeling well enough to travel out here as planned after recent breast cancer dignosis/subsequent surgery/unprecedented snowstorm upheavels.

For the record? Secular Christmas songs make me want reindeer venison chili, served with a frosty mug of, well, Frosty. And the charming "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Um, the Ethiopians were HUNGRY, not STUPID. Yes, they knew it was Christmas, they just probably didn't CARE.

Posted by: ellbee at December 28, 2009 12:14 PM

NETBOOK! I heart heart heart it. My faithful dinosaur computer died after five years and I was hoping to wait until I am employable (May at the earliest) and this darling thing is cute and white and shiny, with more speed and power and room than my old dinosaur.

Also, my husband got a marriage sermon series download from our church, which after I made sure he doesn't think our marriage is on the brink of disaster, really warms the cockles of my heart. "What we have is great, and let's invest in it to make sure it is always this good." Almost competes with the Netbook!

Posted by: elizabeth at December 28, 2009 1:04 PM

This sounds so old fashioned but here it is... an ironing board and a hand mixer. Not big expensive of either just simple basic but both have been needed for too long. I finally gave my now 17 year old son a robe. That has been on his list for um 8 years now. The 8 year old got so excited that his robe was green that while he was jumping up and down while shaking it he...GOT himself. When he could breath again he couldn't have cared less about it but you couldn't get him out of it for the rest of the day until he got dressed to play in the snow.

Posted by: Linda J at December 28, 2009 2:50 PM

cd player with ipod dock for my bedroom upstairs, yeah decent music upstairs, and HD TV for my kitchen. Thanks kids!!

Posted by: Priscilla at December 28, 2009 5:13 PM

Best thing I got: a Kindle

Best things I gave: gave my aspiring writer son the complete Flannery O'Connor, with instructions to study her stories. My daughter asked for and got a pair of shoes designed by Frankie Iero, profits of which go to fight cancer. Youngest son got a chemistry set which inspired the best quote of the day: "Finally! Now I can blow things up!"

Best thing for our family: we bit the bullet and a hot tub will be delivered and installed as soon as the snow melts.

Posted by: paige at December 28, 2009 5:53 PM

The best Christmas present that I got this year was $250 to go on a shopping spree for clothes for myself. And I got to go shopping with my fantastic SIL.

So fun!

Posted by: Lindsey at December 28, 2009 5:59 PM

I totally agree about the Christmas music, especially since it's been playing non-stop in the mall since freakin Halloween. The absolute worst song ever is Christmas Shoes. Makes me want to barf on MY shoes.

I got the best present ever this year. We found out on Christmas Eve that my week-old nephew who had been very very very sick was going to pull through. Couldn't ask for anything more.

Posted by: JoAnna at December 28, 2009 7:00 PM

The look on my mom's face when she saw the necklace and earrings I made for her. That was the best present for me this year.

Posted by: Beth R at December 28, 2009 9:18 PM

My six-year-old son saw a Fur Berry at the shops a few weeks before Christmas and begged and begged for it. It's a purple teddy bear that rolls up into a ball and looks like a "berry". It's meant for a two-year-old, so I was a bit doubtful.

I thought it'd be one of those things desperately wanted but then abandoned as soon as it was received, since it's a bit babyish for a little guy who's into transformers and bakugans. But among all the other cool toys he received, he was most excited about the fur berry. He actually cried with joy when he opened it, and he's carried it everywhere with him ever since.

Posted by: Marina at December 29, 2009 5:22 AM

My husband also got tattoo permission for Christmas. :)

Can't believe you had a rant against Christmas music that did not include "Christmas Shoes"!

Posted by: Jill W. at December 29, 2009 2:25 PM

My best Christmas present this year was that my mom's heart surgery went really well and she now has a non-leaky valve and no more aneurysm.

Posted by: Aimee at December 29, 2009 3:01 PM

Best present given to the kids: a gorgeous used piano off Craig's list that matches my furniture and was a steal! Plus, the promise of piano lessons, of course. Love to hear my kids plucking out tunes and asking me to play songs so they can sing. Now if I'd only listened to my mother telling me to practice all those years ago, maybe I'd be able to play more than the most basic version of "Do Your Ears Hang Low." *Sigh*

Posted by: Lori B. at December 29, 2009 6:45 PM

Best gift I gave: hubby is veeeery happy with his new super-warm thermal sweatjacket that he wears every morning to the gym. Even today, 12 degrees and he was fine!

Best gift I got: hubby got me a new 12 cup coffee machine, it's programmable! to replace my 8 cup leaky one. Now I only have to make it once a day! (Yes, I'm an addict, and the only coffee drinker in the house)

Posted by: PattiH at December 29, 2009 9:39 PM

LOL I agree with you about the secular Christmas songs! I LOVE traditional carols (including carol of the bells and any religious song that is not necessarily a carol) but the STUPID STUPID SONGS about hippopotamuses and front teeth and Santa kissing Mommy, and Santa baby - gross.

I love wrapping presents and giving them - I like getting them only when I know what they are because I'm extremely picky and I hate clutter.

I remember those Christmas fairs at school! Also, what tattoo is Scott getting? I have one on my back and would love another but my husband says no - conversely, I gave him permission to get FOUR tattoos all told. How unfair is that? LOL

I got a trip to Disney World. It also counted for my birthday, anniversary, my husband's birthday, and next Christmas as well. Maybe even the one after that, too.

Posted by: Jess at January 3, 2010 5:06 PM

Oh! The absolute best present I received, which isn't really a present to me and thus not on my "list of loot" is my first nephew!!! He was born on the 22nd and is just perfect. :)

Posted by: Jess at January 3, 2010 5:12 PM