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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Elastic-Waistbanded Qualities of This Year’s Shopping List

“He what?”

“Dad bought that TV we were going to get them!”

“Crap.” I sighed. “Who the heck buys themselves a present the week before Christmas?”

“Our Dad, apparently.”

My sister Karen is on the phone. Dad has been talking, since Thanksgiving, about the flatscreen TV he wants. He's described the size of the screen, the wall anchoring system, what the “HD” stands for, eventually drifting off into a description of the very first TV he ever saw, and finishing up with a prediction regarding facial pores and their future on the big screen.

We had assumed that all of this was a long, elaborate hint and had, in a series of sometimes obscene and occasionally misspelled e-mails between the three of us, agreed to split the cost.

Now, less than a week before Christmas, Dad’s gone ahead and bought a flatscreen TV.

In the same conversation, I have learned that our oft-repeated and never-brought-to-fruition resolution to have a drawing to see who-buys-for-whom has met an untimely end as well.

“So just go ahead and buy for everyone,” Karen says.

Nine people more people to buy for, not one? Why not, huh? I have until Friday!

“Get ‘em gift cards,” was the lunchroom response at work. Now, I’m not against gift cards, but do children really like them? We’ve produced nothing but boys in my family. Last year’s post-festivities clean-up unearthed three gift cards amongst the crumpled, discarded wrapping paper. I’ve a suspicion that the boys aren’t all fired up about future shopping trips given as a present.

Well, I’ve got a couple days to figure it out, anyway. Plenty of time to sign them up for tap or quilting or something.

As for the loss of the flatscreen TV as a gift for our parents, it seems we’re on our own.

I called my mother. "Dad bought a TV? A week before Christmas?"

She sighed. "He wouldn't shut up about it..."

"Yeah, but what do I do now? I thought it was a done deal."

"You know," she said, "He could use a nice shirt."

"A shirt? Instead of a TV?"

"A nice one."

"OK."

"Button-down."

"Sure."

"And wrinkle-free."

"So would the wrinkle-free part of the shirt count as a gift for you?"

"It would, unless of course I have children who love me. If my children love me, however, the gift to me would be costume jewelry."

"Jewelry."

"Nice jewelry."

"OK."

"Not expensive, but not plastic. A little on the heavy side."

"Heavy."

"Something with a nice clasp."

"Gotcha."

So it is settled. We've gone from $170 or so for my parents' gift to maybe $70.

As Dad likes to say, you can tell someone from the family, but you can't tell 'em much.

35 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

SHeesh!!, Sounds like my dad. Talks it up big time then cant stand it anymore and poof, he went and bought it. Mom got wise after a while and now she takes them and gives them to us to give him, after he already bought them. It's a circus, but its our circus.

My wifes dad only asked for reversible belts.

Grant said...

Yay - you can send the extra $100 to me! Or you could visit on xmas, act tipsy, accidentally spill your drink on his new TV, and then your gift of a TV will seem very timely. But I recommend option 1.

Pearl said...

Simply, hey, who doesn't love the circus?! And reversible belts are really quite clever...

Grant, you're full of good ideas, aren't you?!

Oilfield Trash said...

Your dad sounds a lot like me. I am always buying myself shit a week before my birthday and christmas. It used to drive my ex batshit crazy when I did it too.

Elly Lou said...

Best line ever, Dad. Well done!

Lou said...

Gift cards for boys? Definitely. But don't do clothing stores, think Electronics (or Toy Store for the younger ones).

I have bought myself gifts before Xmas before... usually when I figure that the item I want the most is one that no one will buy me. I have, on occasion, been wrong about those assumptions. :)

Eva Gallant said...

I have bought gift cards and the kids have been happy to go shopping, but this year I actually bought items like nerf guns, video games, and books. I think they will like the immediacy of the gift more!

powdergirl said...

Wow Pearl, I thought I was the only one who'd noticed that pores are becoming a bit of an issue in the HD world.
Hollywoods gonna have to work harder!

My husband does the same thing all the time, he starts talking about something he wants, I start shopping for it, he brings it home. He gets a lotta socks at Christmas.

Pearl said...

Oilfield, well cut it out! :-)

Elly Lou, :-) That is all.

Lou, that may have been the problem right there...

Eva, I think so too. I think it's more fun to open a box with something in it.

powdergirl, that made me laugh!

Sarah Has Moxie said...

I loved this! :)

Kate Mohler said...

I always go for the Omaha Steak package: you can't go wrong with that!

Sweet Cheeks said...

My mom is just like your mom about jewelry.

Isn't it funny how the older generation often measures weight with quality? As in...the more something weighed - the more expensive it was.

If true, that would make my Uncle Verdon priceless...Bahahahaha!

Oh....that comment ensures coal in my stocking for sure this year...doesn't it?

Carolynn said...

Or as my Dad used to say, "Call me anything, but don't call me late for dinner." *grin*

I have a hard and fast rule: NO BUYING OF ANYTHING !!!!! FOR YOURSELF AFTER THANKSGIVING on pain of death. My Dad was famous for doing that. Good luck with the shirt thing.

Pearl said...

Sarah, thanks!

Kate, oh, my. That would be especially true for my dad!

Sweet Cheeks, I found her a lovely three strand gold and light blue string of baubles. It will go with everything. :-) And the weight of stuff -- I can see it. :-) I mean, it seems that the real stuff has some heft to it. Like Uncle Verdon!

Carolynn, excellent rule and one I will be introducing Christmas Day at the folks'. :-)

Tom G. said...

Boys are way too literal to appreciate the abstract concept of the gift card. Get them firearms, or anything that explodes, or can be made to explode. Boys can never have enough of that stuff.

Stacy Q said...

Carolynn's rule of not buying anything after Thanksgiving held true in our house. Except for those single years when I lived miles away from everyone else in my family, and had a lot of time to spend browsing the malls... those year's I'd buy all my own Christmas and sell it to my family to give back to me.
Unromantic, I know, but everything fit.

Gigi said...

Doncha just love families? They can always be counted on to drive you batty during the holiday season-priceless.

As for the reversible belts - they only sound like a good idea. I just bought one for Man-Child and I'll be damned if I can't figure out how to reverse it. But that may just be me......

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

We pick names in my family, but inevitably I always wind up picking a pre-shopper

SeaD said...

My grown kids do this to me all the time. Every great gift idea I have is one they run out and buy for themselves.

Congratulations on your book, Pearl! I can't wait to read it. You are, by far, my favorite blog read.

Kitty Moore said...

Good luck with that!

IndigoWrath said...

Ah yes, Christmas present shopping. Misery. It turns out I still have three more to buy, after finishing last week. =/

becca said...

in our house there is a standard rule no one is allowed to buy anything other then neccassities 2weeks prior to Christmas this helps with the gift buying problem

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Yes, my husband buys the things he has asked for almost every year. And he never shops otherwise. He just seems to be moved to shop by the idea of getting things that he wants. I have decided tha a gift is better than the gift card. If they don't like it, they can return it for something else- like the gift card that is a gift.

Sioux Roslawski said...

If you don't like your nephews' families, get the kids something like marshmallow guns. The boys will have fun shooting marshmallows at each other, and they will never come down from their sugar high.

Logical Libby said...

Well, at least your Mom knows you're an adult. Mine still suggests we "make something" for her.

You know, maybe this year I will.

gayle said...

Sounds like my husband! He is forever buying stuff for himself before Christmas!

Joanie M said...

John bought me a Keurig for Christmas. I kn ow this because I was with him when he bought it and I was with him when he wrapped it. (he insisted!!!) So I bought a carousel to keep the coffee pods in. Guess what my son bought me for Christmas? Yup! A coffee pod carousel! I'll be returning the one I bought tomorrow.

bruce said...

looks like you have an extra $100.00...buy yourself something nice!!!

Bruce
bruce johnson jadip
And
evilbruce
stupid stuff i see and hear
and
The guy book
the guy book

Hilary said...

Well at least that saves you some money, if not time. Wouldn't you have worried if the TV you and your sibs had chosen wouldn't be the one he'd waynt anyway? He saved you the trouble. ;)

Cheeseboy said...

Now that he has the flatscreen, he HAS to have a Blue Ray player! There's your gift!

Parents are always the toughest to buy for.

Lazarus said...

Or a nice surround sound system to go with the TV, really enhances the home theater atmosphere. Your mom will really love it on Sunday afternoons when your dad has the Vikings' game cranked up to 22 and it really feels like she's at the stadium!

Symdaddy said...

Parent's eh?

Don't ya jut love 'em? You want to slap them, but you love them!

I solved my problems of Christmas presents for my parents by telling my sister to 'sort it out' and tell me what the cost was.

My dad would always call though, and ask for something at the last minute.

"Hello my boy!"

"Dad?"

"I thought about what you can get me for Christmas"

"I've got you something already"

"Yeah, but not one of those thingies on TV"

"Thingies?"

"You know ... three gears ... they twiddle ... quite small"

"Small thingies that twiddle?"

"Oh good! You know it! Got to go. Your mother's
just had her hair done and she wants to parade it in front of the neighbours"

*sigh*

Tempo said...

He bought himself a tv? You know what he deserves for Christmas? Sox and jocks!

Mamma has spoken said...

This is SO my dad. This year we all went in and bought him a Kindle since all he has done for the past few months is talk about how he wanted one but wasn't sure what he should get. As I sit here and think about it, I'm sure when he opens it, it will come out that he has already bought one.....

Jhon Baker said...

I do the same thing as your dad - I have to be sure that I am going to get something for my birthday or Christmas to prevent myself from buying it. Normally I am forced to make a list of things I want but will not buy. This is always hard for me. Us addicts/chronic pain sufferers/mental patients are often impulsive people.