Christmas, for millions, perhaps billions of people throughout the world is a time of cheer and good will. It is a time for friends and family to gather in celebration of joy, friendship, presents, candy, chocolate, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and for a very few, that whole birth of Jesus thing.
Christmas is celebrated through many different traditions. In Holland, Santa, St. Nicholas or Sinterklaas is always very popular. He wears Bishop’s robes and is always accompanied by his faithful servant, Black Peter. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, a white man in blackface wearing traditional Spanish clothing most often portrays Black Peter. As part of the holiday fun, children will paint their faces black and sing, “even if I’m black as coal I mean well.”
In Scotland, traditionalists celebrate Christmas by dancing around bonfires and eating oatmeal cakes. It is this sort of thing that makes one proud to be Scottish.
In France, Santa is called Père Noël. A traditional Christmas lunch may include such holiday fare as fois gras, lobster and oysters. Rumor has it that after the meal families gather together and practice the drafting of surrender documents for any anticipated military conflicts foreseen for the upcoming year.
Sad to say that despite all the happiness of the season for many it is also a time of great stress and impending doom and by many of course I mean men. For as long as Christmas has been Christmas, men have dreaded their significant other’s reaction to the gifts they have received. “Frankincense? What am I supposed to do with frankincense? Myrrh? Hey are you trying to say I smell?” Women, I hear you.
“Oh, I have everything I could possibly need. You don’t need to get me anything, but whatever you choose will be fine.”
In the name of all that is holy, please give us a list of what you really want. Just thinking about what we should buy for you makes us break out in a sweat and lose sleep. If you can do it for Santa you can do it for us. Honestly, it’s not that we intentionally buy you the wrong thing. We need guidance. Those gifts really did seem like the perfect gift and we were in fact thinking when we made the purchase. Now I appreciate that you think you’ve all been dropping hints for the last six months, but believe this if you believe nothing else we ever tell you, we weren’t aware that, “oh, isn’t that nice” meant you better get me that for Christmas. Honestly, we don’t understand subtle. It’s that kind of thinking that resulted in the Christmas we all want to forget. In our defense you did comment when we were at Sears that you’d like to get a new dishwasher.
“If you really loved me you’d know what I want.” Okay, I agree in principle that your statement might to a person of the female persuasion somehow make sense, but since you feel the need to explain to us how to properly brush our teeth do you really want to lay the responsibility for a tear free Christmas on our shoulders?
Contrary to what you may believe we do learn from our mistakes. We understand no weight loss books, no Victoria Secret lingerie, and no kitchen appliances. For the record though we don’t think it is totally fair when you tell us you like bears and then get upset when we buy you bear paw slippers with big claws. You often say we don’t notice how you look, but when we gave you the gift certificate for electrolysis you somehow twisted that around to be some sort of criticism. We’re just saying “mixed signals”. As to the year of the stripper pole, if you recall you did mention that you wanted to exercise more.
We do want to get you the perfect gift, but please consider the economy when making your list. We’re as romantic as the next guy, but the cost of the 12 days of Christmas gifts is now over $100,000. We could probably stretch the budget to cover a pear tree from Wal-Mart, but the lords-a-leaping are really out of our price range.
If we may, we would like to give you just a few pointers about our gifts this year. They may call it a man bag, but it’s really still a purse. As to “enhancer” underwear, do we really have to say anything? Please stay away from the “gifts for him” section of the store. Not all of us want sports themed gifts or power tools. We’re just saying.
Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper http://ufvcascade.ca