The other day a little friend of one of my sons showed up at our front door bearing a gigantic plate of cookies, breads, candies and other treats. “Oh how generous of your mom!” I said as I took the tray from him. “Thank you!”
“No thank YOU,” he replied politely. “My mom says she can’t stand all these treats in our house so I should just take them all to you.” Before I could say anything he pointed at the tray, “This is from my aunt. And these cookies are from Miss Susie. They’re actually really good. The chocolates are from her work, but just the milk chocolate ones And…”
Ah the honesty of kids.
Part of me was a little annoyed that our house had become the de-facto dumping ground for unwanted goodies (said child showed up two more times with even more confections) but that part of me was quickly overshadowed by the part that couldn’t stop laughing. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only with Holiday Gift Anxiety! Nor the only one with oversharing kids. Whether giving or receiving, ’tis the season to be fraught with worry.
Holiday gift anxiety- it’s one of those things about being a grown-up that nobody ever tells you. When I was a child I had two main worries come Christmastime. One was making sure everyone knew I wanted that special mermaid doll that both sings and swims in the bathtub (that I never got) and the second was that my chain-smoking, garlic stuffed olive-eating grandma might kiss me on the mouth. But at some point after you realize that Santa Claus (or the Hannukah Armadillo) doesn’t really exist, it sets in that you are responsible for giving other people presents as well as receiving them and also that your mother-in-law will always kiss you on the lips no matter how many cold sores you fake. Let the panic commence.
One of my fondest memories from growing up was my mom’s baking bonanzas every holiday. She’d whip up plates of poppy seed bread, cookies, toffee, candies and other homemade goodies which we kids would then deliver to every neighbor within a 3-mile radius. You’d think my mom was campaigning for office or selling Mary Kay but really she just liked to cook things for people that she knew they’d like. It all seemed so simple then.
These days, while I share my mom’s charitable zeal and the holidays are about the only time I tie on my apron (really! I have one! It’s adorable!) and do my best Betty Homemaker, I lack her culinary abilities. In addition, the times have changed when it comes to giving and receiving food. I have friends who are allergic, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, fat free, sugar free and of course low carb. I have friends dieting, healthy lifestyling, and at every other point on the food spectrum. That leaves pretty much one person left with no food issues. And you all know that isn’t me.
I am sympathetic to their plight. Every year when the goodies start piling up I am filled with conflicting emotions. Joy! All my favorite treats! My friends love me! Bon bons for breakfast! Dread! All my favorite treats! My friends must hate me! Must resist the siren call of the bon bons for breakfast! So this year I decided to go the non-food route when it comes to gifts. While other bloggers were making pin-worthy desserts or hand-knitting crafts, I left this on everyone’s doorstep:
Yep, we gave them a science experiment! Mentos + Coke = party time. Nothing says “we love you and value your acquaintance” like drenching them with sticky foam! (Pretty sure that was the motto of the frat house next door in college).
Son #3 was very concerned, however. “What if they eat the Coke and Mentos?”
I shrugged. “Then they eat Coke and Mentos. Probably not the most delicious holiday fare but there’s no accounting for taste.”
“Noooo,” he wailed. “I don’t want all our friends to explode!” Considering this was the child who’d had to endure my botched attempt at making gingerbread men for his class party – they all ended up partially dismembered – I figured he was right to worry. My track record with making things for people they like is pretty grim.
“People are not pigeons,” I patted him on the head. “We can fart, so it’s all good.”
“Wait, pigeons can’t fart….?” Son #2 jumped in and thus began yet another conversation aboutgas in my household. I have only myself to blame, honestly. (Apparently birds can fart, they just don’t.)
All of which came to a head when we delivered the gifts and Son #3 solicitously told the giftee, “And if you eat them don’t forget to fart! A lot!!” So, um, Merry Christmas friends! May your days be merry and filled with flatulence! You’re welcome!
What did you do for holiday gifts this year? Should I stick to giving non-food items like candles or, say, SOCKS. (I swear my friends are so sick of getting socks from me. Plus the people at Target probably think I have a foot fetish.) And what do you do with all the treats people give you? #goodproblemstohave