It's Not Hideous
“It’s not hideous.”
This was the voice of the woman I live with when I gave her her most recent birthday gift. At least that’s what I heard in my head. She didn’t actually say those words out loud. She’s not mean. She said something like, “It’s so... colorful.” And then like an interpreter, I pause and reform the words she really intended to say inside my head.
We’ve been through this every birthday. I buy presents and she pretends to like them. So I buy multiple presents, stacked inside a bag decorated in bright festive colors and glitter, hoping one will illicit some kind of “ooh” or “aah” but it just forces her into her acting face again. She’s no Meryl Streep. In her defense, gifting only happens a few times a year so she doesn’t practice much. I’m left with the hollow satisfaction that the gifts will be regifted to someone who cares, and I spend the rest of the week discovering how glitter from the bag has left pervasive sparkles all over my home.
She is a December baby, born on the 3rd, so her birthday gifts are always the warm up for the failure of my Christmas gifts three weeks later. For her birthday in the bag were the following items; a hand made card. My arts and crafts skills, frozen in time from the third grade, will create the only gift in the bag she cares about. She’d be happy with JUST THIS. But what loser would give just a card made with a sharpie and scissors? Next she pulls from the bag a deck of playing cards with 3D kittens on the back. Laurie loves cats and her cat Winter has just gotten sick so this was, actually I have no idea why I bought this. This was just serving her core heart love of cats. This is how people end up with ten thousand figurines or plates because they say they like Princess Di. This will later end up on a Christmas gift pile for her five year old Godson, Otis. I love Otis. I hope he likes cats.
Next a small burlap bag filled with dirt and basil seeds for the kitchen window sill. The gift bag needed balance, and a crescendo as larger and larger items were pulled out for the presentation. Nothing says love like burlap. This was the earthy gift. This is showbiz. Laurie likes to cook, and I think she revealed a hint of curiosity, and she knew I didn’t spend much on this so I think she was grateful for that. So I think the burlap seed bag got no reaction either way. Victory!
Now for the big item. The Persian lamp. Mosaic stained glass that cast a rainbow of diamonds about the walls of the room. Handcrafted. Bought in a tiny shop from craftspeople with exotic accents in Decatur, Ga. I knew this wasn’t her thing. (But it was mine). She would know I was buying the lamp for myself. it might as well have been a chainsaw. Nothing about this lamp said Laurie. She loves simplicity and straight lines and whites and soft hues. However, I told her in our place this lamp will be a night light reminder of me when I traveling away from home. Every time she looks at this not so hideous lamp she will think of me. My personality, my esthetic, my taste. And then it was over, the lamp was turned on, we went out for sushi. Her choice.
It’s not about the stuff anyway. This little ritual of failure is really about the opportunity to say I love you to someone for ten minutes with random objects pulled from a glitter bag. Its the words you interpret from a 3D kitten, a burlap sack, and beautiful handcrafted mosaic rainbow lamp from an exotic craftsman from the deserts of Persia.
If you’d like my help in buying your loved ones gifts, come on over to the Holiday Sale in my website store—
Come on over to the www.ellispaul.com store for the 25% off Holiday Sale! Albums, books, pens, USB guitars, posters, and more! You can also save on the purchase of the deluxe Storyteller’s Suitcase suitcase containing lots of items…. or you can order the journals separately or in a 3-pc. gift pack. This would be the perfect time to order a favorite child a copy of “The Night the Lights Went Out on Christmas” or for children and adults alike, my Christmas album City of Silver Dreams.
Just remember to enter the code EP25 when you check-out to receive 25% off your entire order!
And click HERE for upcoming dates in Saratoga Springs, Beacon NY, and the annual year end shows in Portland and Boston! And the rest of the year— including vacation trips to Maine and Idaho.
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- It's Not Hideous