I want, I want, I want...

2006-11-28 09:31
David Moseley

I saw a child screaming on Saturday. His face was blue with contorted, twisted torment. His eyes were bulging, belligerent tears thundering down his cheeks. His increasingly flustered mother, drooling infant in one arm, bag full of French loaves in another, could not stem the furiously incessant tirade.

Of course, I thought as I strolled past scraggly green tinsel and faux-frosted store windows to the stifled strains of Jingle Bells, it must be Christmas. I want an Xbox, I want Ninja Shredders Temple of Dismemberment 9 for PlayStation, I want a puppy, buy me a pony, buy me a monkey. I want, I want, I want...

Christmas, as we're told when we don't get the things we want, is a time of giving not wanting. From extravagant gifts to smaller, meaningful presents - be it love, charity, a lasting peck on the cheek or a ham sandwich to a hungry colleague - anything goes. And there is much joy to be had in watching someone receive, open and become instantly enamoured with the prize they've just been handed.

Still, if you give the wrong gift you can easily tick off your loved ones. Some tips on what to avoid buying this festive season, then:

Lawnmowers

It was the day Santa died. My dad had the biggest gift in the room. 'It must be good,' speculated all the wide-eyed siblings. Perhaps a large dog of sorts, or could it be the golf clubs he'd slobbered upon at the Pro Shop. Nope. Not even close. There you are love. It's a lawnmower. The best. Apparently it cuts grass in those pretty circles you see on soccer fields. Never had I seen a man dip with such suddenness from giddy expectation to mournful acceptance. Until the following year, when some fool gave him an indoor exercise bike. I mean, really. The poor man still opens presents with a resigned sigh to this day.

Pens

My aunt gave me a lovely silver pen for my 21st birthday. It was a thoughtful gift and accordingly well received. I still have it now, despite losing 31 253 plastic pens along the way. Similarly, my friend's girlfriend bestowed upon him a sparkling pen for his 21st. That was not a thoughtful gift and highly uninspiring for a young couple in love. The least she could have done was include a notepad. Then he could have written down a preferred gift list for the next time around. Perhaps a packet of almonds would make a nice change.

Packets of almonds

Why do people give you nuts on Christmas? What's wrong with them? The people. Not the nuts. Almonds are quite nice, actually.

Balls

For piece of mind, moms, don't buy anything that bounces this year. Every year my brother and I got cricket bats, tennis balls, tennis bats and soccer balls as gifts. Then we'd barrel outside and start kicking and walloping my dad's prize rose (he could never muster a full 'garden') to pieces.

"Stop kicking the ball around," screamed my mother. "You're going to break something."

Well then don't buy us balls.

"What did you say?"

Nothing.

"Just get outside. Wait until your father gets home."

But, but you said we can't play outside.

"I don't care what I said, just, just..."

Crash, bang, tinkle, tinkle.

Mom, Steven just broke the window. Mom, why are you crying?

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