© 2009 Lynsey

096 – Prezzie frenzy

I’m not a big fan of xmas. There. I’ve said it. It’s not fun. It’s not the xmas-y thing that gives me the gripe, it’s the whole commercial drama, and I especially hate the kind of manipulative, spend-money-you-don’t-have-to-buy-xmas-crap – for people you don’t like. Personally, if you can’t give me a gift with no strings attached, please don’t give me a gift. If you can afford it, you want to give it, and it’s given freely – great, thank you very much. Otherwise, I’d be much happier if you simply put the money against your credit card/gave the money to someone more worthy. That’d give me more joy than the thought that you ran around in a frenzy, blowing the budget for the next forever. Where’s the fun in that?

Against this backdrop our pal Marcel invited us to a soirée to celebrate the visitation of Sinterklaas – a Dutch tradition. We had to email Sinterklaas with a list of what we wanted – our wish list. I struggled with this because, let’s be frank Sinterklaas, I’ve got all I need already, and there’s no need to be greedy. Sinterklaas had made it pretty clear that $5 was the max, and that the gift giving was anonymous. I was reminded of a friend I had a similar gift giving relationship with, except the level there was 50 cents. One memorable year he gave me the first installment of a D-I-Y bionic woman – a chrome plated grease nipple.

Marica and I scooted around trying to sort out prezzies for the other guests (based on their wish lists). It was fun. It was quite surprising how far we could make $5 per person go. It took a bit more thought, but the results were great, and we loved the idea entirely. Nice work, Sinterklaas.

Mysteriously, over dinner, Sinterklaas visited and left a stash of presents for us all on the living room floor. A gift was passed to a person who had to unwrap the gift, and then pick a gift for another person, who then followed the process. This avoids the frenzy – we had time to look and laugh and love the moment – to enjoy each other’s gifts. It was a lot of fun. Part of the tradition is that Sinterklaas writes a message – perhaps as a poem – and this can be a challenge for the recipient. It can also give cryptic clues about the gift(s) inside. One person wanted a new man in her life – Sinterklaas thoughtfully provided some anatomical charts so that she would be able to identify a healthy specimen. Who knew these things? Sinterklaas does. How useful!

We really enjoyed a great meal and had fun with fantastic company. We laughed and loved and we couldn’t want for anything more. Some new traditions will definitely be merged into our traditions.

11. Every day do something for someone else.
18. Every day express love. Some people need to hear it. Most people need to see it. Don’t take it for granted.
32. Every day have a laugh.