There’s Always That One Person On Your List

We all have one – the person who always has you straining your brain to figure out what you can get them for Christmas.  For me it’s my grandmother.  I’ve posted about her before, but, long story short, she’s a feisty 91-year-old Italian who has a very sharp wit and a solid hand to smack you with if you are not fast enough to dodge her (which, believe me, you’re not).  I love her dearly but, God help me, that lady is tough to shop for.

For one thing, she’s not an “old lady.”  She doesn’t sit around and knit.  She doesn’t have dozens of cats.  She won’t be excited if you send her a care package of prunes.  She’s a one-of-a-kind who still plays on the floor with her great grandkids, dances around the kitchen (usually after a couple two-finger shots of liquor), and can fluently cuss you out in three languages (English, Italian, and her own brand of gibberish).

For another thing, she’s the queen of regifting.  Except she’s savage about it.  A) She won’t usually wait until the following Christmas to regift it and B) She regifts it back to the person who gave it to her.  Seriously, I have a set of Christmas dishes in my possession that my mother gave me…after my grandmother gave them to her…after my mother gave them to my grandmother.  If my mom didn’t read this blog (hi, Mommy) I’d probably wait a couple more years and give them back to my mother wrapped like they were brand new.  Do you see the sacrifices I make just to entertain you guys?  You’re welcome.

She’s a little gentler with her grandkids.  She usually returns our gifts to us and makes it sound like it’s for our benefit.  She is ALWAYS cold (and enjoys proving it by putting her arctic hands on your neck when you least expect it) so I thought she would like some super warm winter pajamas.  I hinted around the subject around Thanksgiving and she admitted to always wanting a set of the footed pajamas.  Huzzah!  I was finally going to successfully buy her something cool for Christmas.  Long story short (again), I ended up buying her three sets.  The first one freaked her out because of the “access panel” in the back.  “What the hell is this?  My culo hangs out.”  The second one was too big.  The third one was probably also too big but she gave it to me with the subtle message to stop exchanging it, “I’m too old for this – give it to your wife, she might like it.  It’s nice and soft and warm.”

My wife is 5’7″.  My grandmother is 4’9″.  She was just trying to get rid of it and let me down easily.

She even gave me back gift cards!  She loves to go out to eat – her favorite is Red Lobster.  And her favorite person to go with is my oldest son – they’re seafood junkies.  So I gave her gift cards and told her take him out for a  feast; just the two of them.  A couple months go by and she gives them back to me (multiple cards from several different gift giving occasions) and told me take my family out on her.  Though, it’s not really on her…I bought the cards…the meal is still on me, there just happens to be a couple more middle men involved in this transaction.  The real kicker is, a short while later she decided to take my son out to lunch and asked for her cards back.  So I guess I’ll count that as a win…or at least a solid tie.

So, I don’t know what you do for your tough-to-shop-for person, but for mine, I stick to the three Bs.  Books (mysteries – the seedier and more violent the better; don’t waste her time with jewel heists, she wants cold blooded murder), brain teasers (puzzle books that keep her up well into the wee hours of the morning), and booze (because…well…she really likes liquor).

“Wings, Mr. Santy Claus, I need new wings.  Not fancy wings, just plain-jane, low-rent, barely-bent, home-grown, bare-bone, off-the-shelf, two-part, Kmart, no-frills flappers.  They would be an improvement over my own.  As your records should show, I am a bird.  Specifically, a penguin, an embarrassing accident of birth for which I do not blame my mother.  I prefer to blame Congress.” ~ A Wish For Wings That Work