Christmas gift giving. It is one of those topics that you shouldn't really bring up at the water cooler.
Unless you are the kind of person who enjoys the occasional firework, punctuated with a few spittle-laden expletives! If so, then I suggest you saunter on up to the water cooler today and, in a cheery voice say, "I sure love Christmas! Giving gifts is my favourite part"...then just stand back and enjoy.
And if you really want to see someone blow a gasket, tell them, in an equally cheery voice, that you have all your shopping done, wrapped and ready to go. Boom. There will likely be a mess to clean up, so be sure to wear protective gear.
Back in the day, we mostly exchanged useful gifts, stuff you actually needed as opposed to wanted. Stuff like socks, sweaters, and gloves. Today we have moved on to what I consider luxury items: multi-coloured socks with a pocket for each individual toe; sweaters that can only be worn at Christmas; real leather gloves. I guess that is a sign that we are old and the 'need' list is pretty short.
Generally, everyone needs a pair of gloves around here though. It is Canada, after all. We do get snow. You can't go wrong with a pair of gloves as a Christmas gift, right?
Well, it doesn't happen often, but there is the occasional time when the proper response to, "...you can't go wrong with gloves?" is, "...yes, yes you can".
Sometime around 2005, poor ol' Ken got gloves for Christmas. From everyone...every kid, every step kid, even his wife. Nothing but gloves under the tree.
Now, any reasonable adult would wade through the conflicting emotions that poor ol' Ken must have felt, when viewing all those gloves under that tree, and come to the sensible conclusion that all those gloves were awesome. And Ken was nothing if not reasonable.
There were wool gloves, leather gloves, and snow shoveling gloves, just to name a few.
Not one pair the same.
Every glove a man's heart desired.
But I can't help but imagine that there might have been enough of a little boy inside of Ken that, when he looked at aaaall those gloves, he wished there was a...a...non-glove gift there. Maybe a puzzle? Or a book? Even a lowly shovel or a new hammer. Anything that has the potential to be 'puttered with'. Anything.
If poor ol' Ken did feel that way he certainly never showed it.
In reality, he probably well remembered the 'good old days' when gifts were few and far between and often showed up on the tree, not under it. And were very likely a pair of hand knit mittens. One pair. And an apple, if you were lucky.
I guess it all goes back to expectations and the Theory of Relativity (V 2.0- my version, which takes the whole speed of light/time issue and applies it to social relativism...definitely a blog for another day, or perhaps another dimension. Don't get me going!)
I am pretty sure Ken was as satisfied as any 70-odd year old man can be on Christmas morning.
As long as there was the aroma of turkey seeping through all the nooks and crannies of the house (and there was!) he may have even been as happy as any little boy would be with a shiny new train set on Christmas morning.
And, although I suspect that none of those gloves were at the very top of his blessings that he counted that night, I am willing to bet that each person that gave him gloves was being counted in turn.
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