Christmas at The Corner Booth

On Christmas Eve, I wrote up a short post which spoke briefly about the holiday season, and about howhappy-human I celebrate my holiday of choice, Christmas, with my family. I figured I’d write back today, giving an update on how things went, including (of course) a Christmas inventory.

My aunt and uncle came over at about 6 PM to trade gifts. I snagged a sweet Fender Mustang T-shirt, and Eclectic Guitar by Chet Atkins. Solid. They left around 6:30 (they live right next door) which was close to when my brother and his wife arrived. Everyone was sitting around, talking…but I had plans. I’m the oldest of the three kids, you see, so moreso in my head than those of the other two is embedded the idea that, when the clock strikes six o’clock on Christmas Eve, it’s present time. Thirty minutes after, and we’re just sitting here? Horseshit. I sneakily made my way toward the tree, grabbed my brother’s present—Eric Clapton’s 24 Nights DVD—and tossed it to him. This had the same effect as throwing chum into shark-infested waters, the only difference being we know how to take turns in this ocean.

The high point of the night, in my view, was seeing my dad get his gifts from us. The theme: fishing. Dad hasn’t been fishing since his dad died, ten years ago as of August; he just hasn’t felt up to it, I don’t suppose. Well, he’d been talking about how he might like to try fishing again, but that he didn’t have any equipment. Bingo. My brother and I bought him the rod/reel combo he always used to use, my sister bought him a tacklebox, and Mom bought him some sinkers and other such things that one would keep in such a box. Definitely a great moment.

Another good moment was when Mom realized she was getting her kitchen re-done in black—something she’s wanted for a while—one gift at a time*.  I wasn’t clued in on this (Dad did most of the shopping in that endeavor), so I ended up getting her a movie she’s wanted to own for-ev-er**—The People vs. Larry Flynt. Great fun.

As promised, a gift inventory is to follow. I hope it’s clear that I value the people who gave me these gifts far more than I could ever value the gifts themselves.

  • Wall-E
  • Three snazzy outfits (including two awesome pairs of dress pants that AREN’T black or khaki, and two badass ties)
  • Some Stevie Ray Vaughan music/DVD pleasure
  • Four Wii games! A bit of a shocker, but hey, greatness! Sonic Unleashed, Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, Wii Music, and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. So much to play. So so so much.

I think I can go ahead and say it: this has been the best Christmas ever. Ever. I don’t know that I could put my finger on whatever it is that made this Christmas so great, but I do know it’s around here somewhere, floating about. It wasn’t the gifts, really—at least, not in the sense of, “Oh, I’m getting a gift.” More like, “Man, that person really knew that I would enjoy or could use this, and thought to get it for me.” More than anything, it was being around each other, happy…

“And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ”If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ”If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

That’s one favor I’ve asked of you.”

–Kurt Vonnegut [emphasis added]

I hope your holiday was as good as mine, kids.
*No, there was no Father 0f the Bride-esque quibbling because Mom got kitchen stuff. She wanted the stuff, we bought it for her. Period.
**A classic Sandlot reference, for those who enjoyed it growing up.

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