After a certain age, holidays for me became less about the shit I got, and more about hanging out with people I like.
This happened at about the same time I became able to buy myself pretty much whatever I wanted, with a few exceptions mostly because I haven't managed to justify an iPod touch to myself (really, why would one household with two people require 4 iPods? 3 seems perfectly reasonable, as there is the iPod that lives in the alarm clock (an old 3rd gen that has a pretty much cooked battery), my shuffle which I wear when I play poker for extended periods of time, and my 30G video iPod that I take on the road. No Suzy does not really have an iPod of her very own, but if the shopping that I anticipate happening this weekend goes the way I expect it to go, I will likely give her my 30G video and use that as an excuse to buy myself a new iPod Touch. But anyway).
I did in fact notice that the parenthetical portion of the previous paragraph was longer than any paragraph yet in this entry. And that, ladies, is how I roll.
So I got some stuff for Christmas. Suzy got me bedroom slipped with pouches in the soles that you can heat up this packet of herbs and stuff and put them in the soles of the slippers. And a scarf and gloves (although the scarf did not include a matching knit cap, so I'm not as gay as some of my friends) She got me a nice Celtic knotwork belt buckle, and big map puzzle of the world that we can work on assembling together and then we can turn it into a wall map. I got her some stuff, including some dvds, and a necklace with matching earrings. She's a real girly girl, so the jewelry was a good move on my part.
But really, in the last month we've gone to Vegas, bought a new bed, and bought a Wii.
Oh, and yes, Waffles, we broke in the bed. The night it was delivered, I went home immediately after work, laid down in the center of the bed before ever putting sheets on it, lifted one leg, and cut a 25-second, three-octave window rattling fart. So the bed was christened appropriately. And yes, I farted on her side of the bed.
So it wasn't as much about the stuff I got as the stuff I was able to give. And I'm not talking about last weekend's home game, where I was able to give away 250 units by a combination of being outkicked on every hand I played for an hour and three more hours of just loose/weak play. Thank god for one big hand late where I flopped the nut straight on an Omaha 8 hand when my A-Q-x-x flopped Broadway and the board never paired or flushed out. I made back a chunk of my losses on that hand to keep me from being totally Tilty McTilterson for the night.
But anyway, giving things intentionally was the point of this post. As I was wandering through Best Buy a couple months ago, I was struck by inspiration. Since this usually only happens on the toilet, I was a little surprised, but decided to roll with it. I saw a pile of digital picture frames, and decided that they would be the perfect gift for our parental units for Christmas. So we got a couple of frames, a couple of 1G SD cards, and a new printer/scanner (our old printer was ready for the scrap heap anyway), and I went to town scanning in old photos for my folks and Suzy's dad.
There were funny pictures, embarrassing pictures, and a few sad pictures. The pics of Suzy's mom and dad together were a little tough for her, since her mom died right before Christmas some years ago (13-14, I don't really remember). For me, the pics of my brother Wayne and Uncle Ed were a little choky (technically brother-in-law, but when someone marries your sister before your first birthday, the "in-law" thing is kinda irrelevant). But what made the hours of sitting in front of the scanner reading mediocre novels worth is was the look on my mom's face when the first picture on their frame popped up, and it was my grandmother, who died a couple years ago. She choked up a little when she said "Mama!" and it was as big a surprise to me as it was to her, since the frames randomize the photos.
My mom's been losing her shit for several years now, and we're not really sure if it's Alzheimer's or dementia or if she's just losing her shit because she's old, but crowd scenes are tough, and she didn't remember much of what was going on around her Christmas day. But as the pictures from decades ago scrolled by on the frame, she could tell you every story behind even the oldest of the pictures. Because more and more, she lives in those old images now.
That bit was tough, and so was my Dad's gift to all of us. He's broke. No, really broke. He declared bankruptcy this year at age 78, so there was no money for gifts from him. But he went through the house and gave each of his children and grandchildren things from the house that would have meaning to them. Antiques, mostly, and he told us all the stories behind the things he was giving us. So he gave us our family history for Christmas, and that was worth way more than any new sweater.