Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Perfect Gift

I have trouble accepting that a "lightweight, high power vacuum cleaner" is really the "perfect gift" for Mom, even if - "But wait, there's more!" - they throw in the "super-compact, handy-dandy spot cleaner" when ordered in the next ten minutes.

"Merry Christmas, Mom. How about cleaning the carpets?"

It doesn't ring "holiday spirit" to me; maybe I'm a Grinch.

I am dubious that a pair of shiny, brushed aluminum, "decision dice" - with no shipping charges if ordered today - is the ultimate present for indecisive family members. With a flick of the wrist, they suggest "never" or "think hard." Yet, it doesn't seem the best idea to show Aunt Martha I was thinking of her during Hanukkah.

Although I dispute the claim that the "Cat Lady Action Figure" is the ideal present for the pet lover on my list, I find it humorous, possibly because my wife is a "cat lover" and that toy would provide me with fodder for playful teasing. Unfortunately, "ideal presents" do not include repercussions causing me to have to sleep on the couch, so I scratch it off my list.

"Perfect" is unattainable. Therefore, I now present a few gifts that LEAST serve dieters' needs:

1) Tins of cookies, nuts, or fudge. I would not give wine to Uncle Al, celebrating his three years of sobriety; why provide similar temptation to one learning to control his eating? I say I'll only "have a taste," but it's an amazing coincidence that the size of that taste exactly matches the amount in the container. Add to that a hangover of guilt and shame and this is not a good present for me.

2) Loose fitting clothes. After a month of excess consumption, what I need most is to regain control, not soft, cushy, expandable-waist sweatpants. In less-controlled days, I was even inclined to don a cheerfully decorated, flowery Hawaiian Mumu come December's end. If it didn't clash so terribly with my tie, I might have taken the leap. A belt is a better idea.

3) Another remote control. It's tough enough to fight the coach potato syndrome when it's warm, let alone when the sky is dreary and the sidewalk is soaked. Place a remote in my hand and a brightly flickering 42-inch plasma screen in front of my face, and the recliner will simply swallow me whole. My first step in my new year's exercise plan could be shutting off the TV.

Reality is that the perfect gift is not purchased via cash or credit card, nor wrapped in shiny red boxes topping with sparkling bows. The perfect gift would be the tranquility of self-confidence, the blessing excellent health, the joy of a happy family, and peace and abundance for each person on Earth.

I assure you no one would return that. Happy Holidays.

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