I am not a lover of the gift exchange. I hate having to follow the money limits, but I also feel bad for those who do follow the money limit and their gift doesn’t compare to the money-limit cheaters.
I had a bad gift exchange experience in middle. The name I drew for the gift exchange was Brian Nelson, Desert Sands Junior High’s Fonzie. He was the boy that every middle school girl was in love with and the kind of guy every middle school boy wanted to be. The gift exchange limit was one dollar. (This was in the late 60s before the invention of the dollar store.) My mother was a gift exchange rule follower, if the limit was a dollar, that was all she was going to spend.
THE Christmas Exchange Gift was the Lifesaver book, twelve rolls of assorted Lifesaver flavor. This was the perfect generic gift. No one made fun, rolled their eyes at or pooh-poohed the Christmas Lifesaver Book. I asked my mom to get it for Middle-School Fonzie, but at $1.50 it was over the limit, and she wasn’t about to budge.
The day before the gift exchange my mom came home from the store with a pair of Christmas socks! I was going to have to hand Brian Nelson, the cool guy of the school a pair of .89 cent Christmas socks. Oh Boy! Christmas socks, mom, really. I tried to play sick the next day but it didn’t work. I went to school dreading the gift exchange that was going to take place at the end of the day.
The time came and everyone was opening their gift of Christmas Lifesaver book, but not Middle-School Fonzie. Nope, he was opening a pair of Christmas socks much to my chagrin. He sauntered over to me, the girl with the face as red as a holly berry, and cordially thanked me and said it was a great gift. I shyly smiled and proceeded to go home with my Christmas Lifesaver book.
A couple years later, I ran into Brian Wilson, High-School Fonzie, after a sporting event he had participated in and won. As I rolled by, I smiled and said, “Congratulations on your win.”
He replied, “Thanks. It’s because I was wearing my lucky socks.” He raised his sweatpants and he was wearing my thread-bare-Middle-School-Christmas-Gift-Exchange socks. He looked at me, gave me that cool-guy chin lift, winked and walked away.
I wonder if there is a Lifesaver Book for dogs! I wonder what I am going to get in my stocking this year. Hey, do I have a stocking. I should get something for wearing that silly Santa suit.
The Flip Side
We cool guys are nicer and more sentimental than you think. And, Paco, quit your whining, the gingerbread cookie outfit was the worst.