Christmas Chronicles V: The Presents

As we figured out what to get for the people on our lists, I told Jason I didn’t want a present for Christmas this year. From him. I wasn’t trying to play the ‘poor me’ card, or put up a front of false modesty. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had everything I possibly ‘needed’; and felt particularly grateful at the end of 2008 to have my little family, employment and a place to live. Well, two places to live. But I can’t really say I’m grateful to still have an unsold house in Indiana.

And I didn’t regret my ‘no gift’ instructions, at any point. Unlike a birthday or two when I might have said ‘oh, you don’t have to get me anything,’ and then secretly hoped for a grand surprise gesture of some sort.

But, Jason couldn’t abide my [cheap] wishes and decided to get me a present anyway. He has something of a knack for gift-giving, which has surprised me over the years. Like the purse he bought me for my 29th birthday. I’d been to Paris with my sister a few months prior, where I’d admired the colorful, stripey Bronti Bay bags on display in several department stores. I’d contemplated ‘treating’ myself to a bag, but in the end, couldn’t justify the expense when I’d already had the good fortune to go to Paris.

So imagine my surprise when I opened a gift bag on my birthday, and pulled out a Bronti Bay bag. In the exact same color scheme I’d admired three months earlier. I assumed my sister had dropped the hint. But, she hadn’t. He’d just been walking through a London department store, seen the bag and knew I’d like it. And bought it for me.

This year he remembered that I’d raved about Delicious magazine. And so, he jumped online, and bought me a one-year subscription. Really, for both of us, as he wrote in his card, since he generally reaps the benefits of my culinary attempts.

Jason also received a few unexpected gifts this year. But not from me. I adhered to the no-gift policy in place, though I did buy him some fancy warm gloves in the after-Christmas sales.

We were opening gifts at my mom’s house with my sister and brother-in-law. It was Jason’s turn to open a gift, and he unwrapped a package of three presents from my mom. The first two gifts were books: ‘A Woman in Berlin‘ and a collection of poems called ‘Landing Light.‘ Puzzled about the rationale behind the gifts, he set them aside as he opened the final gift. Which was the third season of ‘Cold Feet’.

My ears perked up when he very politely said: ‘are these supposed to be for Nicola?’

When I saw all the titles before me, I recognized them from the Amazon Wish List Jason and I share. The one I sent to my mom to peruse for gift ideas for Jason. The one from which I apparently failed to remove ‘my’ selections.

It could have been worse. He could have gotten ‘The Spirited Child‘ or ‘Eating Up Italy.’

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