Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Helpful Holiday Tips

Don't give cutlery as a gift - holiday or otherwise, tradition says. To do so foreshadows (or actually brings on) a severance of the relationship.

But what if you're in a relationship you want to get out of? Is it appropriate to give someone you'd like to be an ex a set of steak knives for Christmas?

This is left as an exercise for the reader.

Gift-giving is a fascinating tradition in any case, fraught with symbolism both intentional and unintentional. What present is appropriate to give a family member, child, parent, sibling, spouse, lover, friend? When is it proper to give an item intended to complement (and therefore make suggestions towards the development of) the taste of someone you care about, and when is it overbearing?

In any case, edible underwear at an office party are generally a bad idea.

It's funny, now that I look back as an adult, how uncomplicated childhood Christmases all seemed to be. No one has any particular expectations from children other than not chewing with their mouths open and not awakening the whole extended family more than two hours before first light on Christmas morning. Gifts have meaning, but they don't have Meaning (until you hit adolescence, at which point God help everyone involved). Times were simpler. Also, it snowed.

Tomorrow after lunch, my boss and I are driving down to Corpus Christi for a site visit for our upcoming annual conference in April. I always love traveling, no matter where to, because it's very introspective, or philosophical, or something. I'm hoping to see a friend or two while I'm down there, but if not, it's no big deal; we'll be back soon. My boss was my secret Santa at our office Christmas party. She gave me a small travel bag stocked with miniature bottles of wine. What does this mean?!?

Maybe my helpful holiday tip for this year is that, if you're too overwhelmed to send out Christmas cards, everyone else will either not notice, or be so overwhelmed with their own holiday guilt that they assume there's a good reason they got cut from your list and will therefore accept unquestioningly your silence on this occasion. I for one would like to make it clear that an absence of Christmas cards on my part only signifies that I am disorganized and frazzled, and does not in any way reflect a lack on anyone else's part.

If I send you some knives, though, that's a whole different story.

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