First things first: I normally hate Christmas shopping. It is as though I am taking a test I have no confidence in passing. So, when it came to finding something for That Girl, I could feel my jaw tightening. I am pretty good at picking out jewellery, but That Girl does not wear jewellery. I do not know which books she owns, but when she bought books on being a bridesmaid recently, she turned any confidence I had in my knowledge of her upside down, so I did not know if I should buy her some feminist tome or a makeup artist's guide to looking like thirty million other women on the continent.
This is the point where I would usually just get drunk and try to forget about all the sucking that would be going on in friends' and relatives' living rooms on Christmas Day. I always start out with the idea of getting something special for someone, and then I cave in to my anxiety and settle on a book or something akin to a multi-pack of tube socks. I cringe all through the season and brace myself for the following: No, really, I love the [insert last ditch item here] you gave me. Honest.
Second things second: For the first time in what is probably many years, I stumbled across something that would be perfect for someone I knew. Erin sells kick ass sock zombies, (of which you should never second-guess your need, because they are sold out of that store faster than mice can poop), and I immediately knew that That Girl should have one for Christmas.
This was a major breakthrough for me, so I wrapped it up and made her open it the day after I received it in the mail. And you know what? She was THRILLED. She did this little jumping thing, and then she hugged three times. This has never, ever happened to me before, and it has taught me a valuable lesson: if you want to see their joy, you have to give them something they will actually like. Giving a ceramic white cat figurine to your dog-person aunt puts a bit of a damper on her joy in receiving, even if she does hug you afterward, because now she is cursed to dust it for the next twenty years.
There is even photographic evidence of my recent gifting achievement. That Girl loves her some sock zombie:
Tomorrow, my parents will be in town for an early Christmas get-together with the Palinode and I, and I have my fingers crossed that they will not do that thing where they turn over a gift and concentrate on the label in an attempt to look interested in the present. Of course, I am not expecting my father to jump up and down and clap his hands over a t-shirt that reads "Real men eat wheat", but this does beat the year I gave him a fifty-cent plastic statuette of a chubby man in a cardigan that I found at a garage sale.
Third things third: Remember the B52s' song "Rock Lobster"?
Now replace "rock lobster" with "sock zombie":
We were at the beach
Everybody had matching towels
Somebody went under a dock
And there they saw a rock
It wasn't a rock
It was a [SOCK ZOMBIE]!
I am a participant in Holidailies 2007.