The Advent Calendar has been updated through today. It’s beginning to lose its mind. Also, for those unaware, I’ve been detailing the LEGO Advent Calendar gifts on X-E’s Facebook page, day-by-day.
If you’re wondering why I put that there and not here: I have strange and counterproductive ideas on what should live on X-E, and daily updates with single paragraphs about LEGO toys do not match. Plus, if I can get some new eyes on X-E through the FB page, great. If you go there, click “like” a lot. I’ll pay you nothing.
It’s finally gotten “December cold.” Cold enough for me to wear a hat, even though I hate hats and have openly lambasted their very invention.
It’s cold enough for gloves, too. I don’t hate gloves, but whenever it’s time to wear them, I’m reminded that I’m not of this world and must constantly work at capacity to keep even half of a toe within normal society.
You see, I can’t put my pinky fingers inside the pinky slots of gloves. It makes me feel vulnerable and uneasy, and gives my whole body that nails-on-a-chalkboard sensation. Instead, I put my pinky and ring fingers into the ring finger slot, and let the pinky slot flap around as if I only have four fingers on each hand. Marry me?
Whenever I put my pinkies where they’re supposed to go, I feel like they’re doomed to break off. It isn’t a fleeting, easy-to-ignore notion, either. In the rare cases when I wear gloves that are too snug to do my double-finger trick, I start seeing spots.
It’s why I prefer those big, puffy snow gloves. Every finger except your thumb, all in one protective pouch. Heaven.
I’d feel better about this affliction if I knew that I wasn’t alone. If anyone else is petrified of putting their pinky in a glove’s pinky slot, please, speak up. I need camaraderie. I need. Specially made gloves.
There are a lot of kids in my family, so I have to buy a lot of Christmas presents. It’s become the norm for all of the kids to build their own Amazon wishlists and have us order stuff from them, but I’m just not digging that this year.
It’s too easy. It’s boring. I feel like I’m just fulfilling orders. It’s gotten to the point where any “surprises” are frowned upon. I understand that these lists make things easier for everyone involved, but Christmas is a giver’s holiday, too. I get nothing out of this. Besides, most of the kids are clever enough to switch their wishlist views to “purchased” to see what they’re getting, weeks before the big day. No thrills involved, for them or for me.
Some of them have more than a hundred items on there. How are you supposed to know what they really want? I know Amazon has a ranking system for wishlist items, but only three people in the entire world have ever used it, and all of them are dead. Your only guaranteed method of success is by choosing something wildly expensive, and that sucks more than a “free goldfish” sign painted by a liar.
Aiming for the pricey crap isn’t an option for me. I decided on a strict $25 limit for each kid. There are just too many of them. I don’t want to enter 2011 in the red just because everyone likes $60 video games.
Luckily, some of the kids aren’t computer savvy enough to build Amazon wishlists. I enjoy buying gifts for them. They’ll probably hate what I give them, but at least I had some fun. If I’m going to set fire to money, this is what counts.
With one of the boys who had no wishlist, I smelled an opportunity. Think cinnamon. I’ve been dancing around the subject for years, and now, it’s time. Instead of buying this kid one big random thing, I got him lots of little random things. Then I put them all in a fuzzy sock.
It’s finally time. Time to unveil the perfect Christmas stocking!
(click the picture to make it HUGE)
I don’t know how he’ll react to this. It’s far from a traditional present, and I’ll be giving it to him on Christmas Eve. It’s not like the stocking will ever be seen hanging by a fireplace on Christmas morning. Still, I stand by my belief that, in time, he will come to regard this as his favorite gift of the 2010 season.
To start, I found the perfect stocking. Far from small, but not so ridiculously huge that I’d have never been able to fill it. The only bad stocking stuffer is air. And this stocking is BLUE! I prefer the “classic” look when it comes to Christmas, but there’s no denying that a small boy would be happier with a sleek BLUE stocking than a “boring” red one.
The inside is filled with everything. My goal was to hit all of the different “branches” of kiddy stuff, from toys to candy and beyond. There’s no single item that will riotously impress him, but the sum is worth so much more than its parts.
Reviewing the contents, there seems to be five distinct categories of goodies: Toys, Movies, Christmas Stuff, Candy, and Stocking Classics. I haven’t named these categories very well. On purpose.
TOYS: A Star Wars figure, a Transformers figure, a Hot Wheels car, and two incredible Batman guys that come in neat little stocking-themed packages. I prayed that I wouldn’t be able fit everything into the stocking, because I wanted to keep Mr. Freeze for myself. Mr. Freeze’s gun is taller than he is, and I’ve long been a proponent of comically oversized weapons.
MOVIES: With my $25 limit (excluding the cost of the stocking, which I’m ignoring), there just wasn’t enough leftover for a DVD. Fortunately, I have plenty of them, and thanks to those random duplicates that weasel their way into our lives, some of them are still sealed. I wanted something with a holiday theme, and went with The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special. I’m well aware that this kid has no idea who He-Man is. I don’t care. The goal is to make him say, “WOW, all this, and a DVD too!” If he doesn’t say it on his own, I will force him.
CHRISTMAS STUFF: I thought it was important to include a few things that screamed CHRISTMAS, so I did. Most of them fall under the “candy” category, and thus, I don’t have much to write about in this space. Nothing except that glittery, oversized superball with the tiny snowman trapped inside. It bounces high. I am positive that he will lose it by December 26th.
CANDY: I’m finally seeing the point of putting candy in stockings: It’s cheap. It fills up those empty spaces without breaking the bank. My assortment includes a bunch of holiday-themed edibles, from chocolate eggs to two types of gum. There’s also a bag of ridiculously small Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, because you’d have to be allergic to more than half of its ingredients to not fall in love at first sight.
STOCKING CLASSICS: Here’s where I’m stretching things. A box of crayons, a toothbrush, and a weird contraption that lets you make soda geysers with a pack of Mentos. I don’t know how that last one qualifies as a “stocking classic,” but I didn’t want to add a sixth category just for soda geysers. As for the crayons and toothbrushes…they were just too synonymous with Christmas stocking innards for me to skip. Yeah, I know that the toothbrush is pushing it. In my defense, it lights up and has a little Spider-Man figurine on top.
I know what you’re thinking: All of the above had to cost more than 25 dollars. Okay, I cheated. I already had some of this stuff laying around the apartment. Since it was still sealed, why not? I’ve owned enough four-inch Sandtroopers for one lifetime.
I won’t make a big production out of giving this to him. I know that the stocking is a tough sell. It could take years for the kid to realize how awesome it is. I’ve readied myself for his quizzical and disgusted glances, and I’m preparing a cheat sheet with answers to the many questions that could be asked.
“Why did you give me a toothbrush?”
“I already have crayons?”
“Isn’t She-Ra for girls?”
“No really, why a toothbrush?”
No matter how I answer him, I’ll be lying. He wouldn’t understand the truth. It’s hard to sell a kid on the idea that he will better appreciate what he gets in 2010 with 2020′s retrospect. I can barely explain that now, so imagine me trying to do it on Christmas Eve. I’ll be plowed. Full of crab parts.
God, how cool? Mystery-flavored Hot Wheels cars. I want a hundred of them for Christmas. A hundred Mystery Hot Wheels, and one of those grow-your-own-frog kits. I will find a way to stunt them at the tadpole stage. No Water Stones for those Poliwags. Mele Kalikimaka.