I definitely don’t want gadgets or things that take batteries. I don’t want stuff I have to put together or take apart, or anything that comes in that damned bulletproof packaging that requires a chainsaw to open. I don’t want a chainsaw.
I don’t want a weekend getaway or a round of golf. I don’t want cologne named after athletes, rappers or thick-shouldered animals with horns. I’ll skip on magazine subscriptions and the complete first season of anything on DVD. Like Clark Griswold, I am vehemently opposed to membership in the Jelly of the Month Club.
I don’t want electronics—no iPhones, Androids, pads or tablets. No smart watches either, and I definitely don’t want Google Glass, if it’s even available, which I hope it isn’t, and never is.
I don’t want books—although I love them. I don’t even want beer—though I love that, too.
I don’t want gear from my favorite sports teams—no jerseys, jackets, hats, commemorative balls, bats or bobbleheads. I don’t want anything autographed, framed or limited edition-ed. No tickets to a game, either (have you seen what they want for parking?).
I don’t want an espresso maker, a French press or that thing that makes soda when I can get it at the store, already bottled and ready to drink. I don’t want anything that comes with the words “As Seen on TV” or has “Chia,” “Sham” or “O-Matic” in its name.
I don’t want novelty gifts. Whoopee cushions and fake dog poop are funny, yes, always, but no. I don’t want toys or tools. No fishing rods or a new tackle box. (Even though I need one. And no, that’s not a hint.)
Nothing from Brookstone—no polished-steel pneumatic toenail clippers, motorized grill cleaning brushes or ceiling projection alarm clocks.
I don’t want a drone.
I swear to all things holly and jolly: There isn’t a single material thing under the dim winter sun that I want—not one gift I could unwrap that would have me regretting anything I just typed.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t want anything for Christmas. I do. One thing. My family. I want to be with them, laugh with them, argue with them, eat-until-everyone’s-drowsy with them. I want to sit at the kitchen table and play a game of Monopoly that takes way too long. I want us all lolling on the couch watching A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life and then maybe The Hangover or Superbad. I want us to go for a hike or a bike ride or up to Homewood and ski until our legs are wobbly. I want my daughter visiting from L.A. to hang with her mom, and I want them to hit the mall, grab coffee—or a drink (she’s 22 now)—and come home with armfuls of oversized retail bags. I want my boys to flop down in the back room and play Call of Duty until they can’t blow up another zombie. I want a ragged game of touch football in our cul-de-sac. I want the house so loud I’m longing for quiet.
I want us all together—in the house we raised our kids—for just a little while again. The presents under the tree can be for them or their mom, because if we’re together, as trite as it may sound, I already have everything I need.
Although, OK, an In-N-Out Burger gift card would be nice. If you insist.