All I Want for Christmas (Not a Toaster)


If there's one thing (we all know there's more than one thing, but let's pretend) that irks me about the holiday season it's the ads for items like vacuums, mops and emergency car starters that frame these items as the PERFECT!!! holiday gift for wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter. (If you really love her and care for her safety in perilous roadside situations, you wouldn't wait for Christmas to get that car starter.)
Clearly these ads are aimed at unfortunate men who have no idea what to get their wives for Christmas. Driven by a practical and well-intentioned impulse they think to themselves, "yes, Sweetheart does clean the house often, perhaps she would like the Dirt Devil Cone Vac." This new product even caught Jason's eye one evening as we browsed the aisles in Target. "Don't you think this is cool?" he asked, admiring its design which camouflages its purpose as a dirt sucker. I think it lights up too. "It's a vacuum," I replied flatly.
Answering questions like "Don't you think X is cool?" around Christmas time deserves caution as it is often a loved one's covert attempt to test your feelings on finding that item under the tree. I therefore tried to be kind but firm that this cleaning tool is not be an item I'm interested in seeing in gift wrap. In hindsight, I should have suggested that if Jason liked it, he could get it himself, and start vacuuming the house too. :) Or better yet, maybe it'll be under the tree with a gift tag addressed to him...
While other daughters may take lessons from their mothers regarding the perfect seasoning for lamb chops, from my mom I learned the rule that there should never be any gift under the tree that has an electric plug attached to it. No vacuums, no toasters. I suggest the addendum that if it's something for the kitchen or cleaning -that has not been specifically asked for- it should also be left on the store shelf.
However, I write with the bravado of someone who does not know what she's getting for Christmas. I will be very bashful and guilty if I open a gift from Jason or others who have decided that I would like the new Swiffer Sweeper Vac.
I felt very sad yesterday, waiting in line at Macy's, when a man came up asking if they sold Vera Bradley bags. The answer was no, and the sales associate could not even suggest where he might find one. The man looked crestfallen, "Oh, I had heard you carried them." He left, shoulders slightly drooped in failure. I wished I knew where they sell those bags, because I worried that after this initial attempt met with failure, he might end up in the aisles of Sears instead, considering a different gift. I wanted to shout after him, "TRY ONLINE! E-BAY! E-BAY! Just please, keep trying! She doesn't want a Dremel!"
p.s.: All I want for Christmas is here.

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