My 2014 Christmas haul

Another Christmas and another outstanding haul of gifts from my amazing wife, who understands me so well.

Some people wish for cashmere sweaters, brand new video game systems, stylish watches, and jewelry. My hope is often for the least pretentious, most unexpected, quirkiest little gift possible, and she never fails to deliver. 

For the past five years, I’ve been documenting the gifts that Elysha gives me on Christmas because they are so damn good. Every year has been just as good as the last, if not better.

For point of reference:

This year was simply divine.

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In case you can’t tell from the photograph, my collection of gifts from this year includes:

  • A nerf football, for the express purpose of teaching my children to catch the pigskin
  • A pencil that doubles as a catapult, that my brother (who runs a Christmas Tree Shop) informs me is illegal to sell in both New York and New Jersey, making this gift even more bad ass
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  • A pen that doubles as a hammer, for those days when someone or something needs a good whap
  • A new screwdriver to replace the six screwdrivers floating around the kitchen drawer (my wife deeply understands my desire to minimalism)
  • Goodnight Darth Vader, an amusing book about Darth Vader’s attempts to put a young Luke and Leia to sleep at night
  • A mini bowling set for those moments at my desk when instant amusement is needed
  • A substance called Cyber Clean, which Elysha doesn’t seem to understand but looks and moves like silly putty, so who cares?
  • A voice changer that makes your voice sound like the voice distortions that you hear on television when a person is telling state secrets but wishes to remain anonymous
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The cat peed and pooped and vomited on our Christmas preparations, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My wife and I left about 80% of our preparations for Christmas until December 24.

  • At the beginning of the day, we had only one gift for each child. We needed more presents and plenty of stocking stuffers. We also had yet to purchase gifts for each other, and nothing was wrapped. 
  • We had not purchased any food or drink or even decided upon the menu for the eight adults and six children who would be coming to our home.
  • We had not cleaned the house in any meaningful way.
  • The Christmas tree still lacked at least two strings of lights.
  • We had yet to visit with Santa for photos.

Maybe it was closer to 90% of the preparations still undone.

This was not a big deal. We had the whole day to complete these tasks, even with our children underfoot. Divide and conquer. Be efficient and productive. Rule the day.

And we did. Everything was accomplished by the end of the day, which for me ended around midnight and for Elysha around 1:00 AM. We even had some fun in the process. We had photos taken with Santa in the morning. Enjoyed breakfast together. Sat down for a lovely dinner as a family. Read to the children before bed. After they were asleep, Elysha and I listened to Christmas music while she baked and prepped and I cleaned and de-cluttered the house.

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In fact, the entire day would’ve gone off without a hitch except for one thing:

I blocked the basement door with two empty boxes of Christmas ornaments, thereby blocking the cat door which allows our cat, Owen, access to his litter box in the basement. The door was blocked for more than a day.

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As a result, the cat peed in my daughter’s room, on her sleeping bag, some toys, a pillow, and more.

Then he pooped on our bed.

Then he came downstairs, stopped at my feet, and vomited on the living room floor.  

This, my friends, threw a wrench into our plans. A monkey into our schedule. It sucked away vast amounts of time that were needed for wrapping and baking and buying and cleaning.

But here’s the great thing about this horror show:

Elysha and I laughed about it. We almost cried, too, but once that moment passed, we laughed. Worked together. Praised our washing machine’s sanitize cycle. Tossed a few items away. Made liberal use of the Lysol. Consoled our daughter. Moved on.

We even had an amusing story to tell the next day.

I have a friend who thinks my wife and I were insane for saving so much holiday preparation at the last minute. She even offered to come over and help wrap presents. I told her that I eat pressure for breakfast and love a good challenge. I assured her that we would be fine.

But in truth, it has a lot to do with the relationship that Elysha and I have. The perspective that we share. Our ability to work together. The trust we have in each other. The faith we have in ourselves. Our propensity to divide and conquer. Our shared values over what is important and what is not.

It’s why we are able to laugh at our cat’s decision to turn our bedrooms into his bathroom.

It was horrible and gross and enormously time consuming, but it was certainly not the end of the world.

And when the sun rose on Christmas Day and the children scurried down the stairs, they were greeted with a fully decorated tree, piles of presents, stuffed stockings, and a plate of half-eaten cookies from Santa Claus. Both children loved their gifts, and Elysha and I were thrilled with the gifts we received from each other.

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Later on, our friends and family came. A steady stream throughout the day and a formal dinner in the evening. We ate and drank and talks and debated and were merry.

We even had a homeless man stop by.

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A grand day, thrown together the day before amidst the vomit, urine, and poop of a justifiably annoyed cat.

The holiday season doesn’t have to begin weeks before if you remember what’s important and stop worrying about the little things that no one notices except you.