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Christmas Memories by Jim RinkJust in time for Thanksgiving, my wife will give me the most beautiful Christmas present in the world: a tax deduction. Arriving by Caesarian section around 8 in the morning, the tax deduction will be female, which means that the money I save this year will most certainly be spent by next year. That's OK--she's my daughter and she deserves the best, as long as she doesn't marry a personal injury lawyer or a member of Greenpeace.

I feel sorry for children who are born during the holidays, except of course, Jesus Christ. His birthday is a holiday. As for the rest of us, being born around Thanksgiving or Christmas, is as though our big day has been eclipsed by something larger, more powerful, more important.

And the worst part is, you get your presents all at once, not strung out through the year in well-timed increments.

For many, the Christmas season brings with it a sense of dread, anxiety and yes, even depression. It seems to be a pivotal time of year, when we measure our self-worth based on the number of The Aspen House Bed & Breakfast cards received, the number of gifts under the tree, the number of Star Trek ornaments from Hallmark (my wife and I have the original Enterprise ornament; now worth $300--three hundred dollars! And we have the Galileo shuttlecraft with the actual voice of Leonard Nimoy saying, "Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, shuttlecraft to Enterprise...Spock long and prosper").

But I guess if I were to show my new daughter the proper way to celebrate the season, it would involve long walks in ankle-deep snow; the scent of fresh pine needles blowing gently in the wind; the faraway glimmer of a small cottage at dusk, puffing smoke from fresh fires into the sky; votive lights; nativity scenes; apple pie; wool sweaters; sleds, toboggans and skates; colorful wrapping paper; a new G.I. Joe (full-size) with real parachute, Jeep and bazooka; a Man from U.N.C.L.E. briefcase with hidden compartment and gun with silencer (Santa once gave me a real cool toy; it was a race car set that you could assemble into many different shapes and the cars raced so fast that you could smell the heat).

Another great gift--a plastic model of the original Star Trek Enterprise, with working lights that blinked. The warp nacelles tilted a little due to a poor cement job, but I didn't care. It got thrown out at some point. If I had it today, it would be worth at least $1,000--one thousand dollars!

The point is, Christmas shouldn't be about getting what you want; the true spirit of the season involves giving. A relative of mine--who shall remain nameless--thinks he is participating in the true spirit of Christmas by giving this certain someone jewelry. In most cases, this would be a wonderful gift; a stunning example of showing how much you care. Except, of course, that the woman involved DOES NOT WEAR JEWELRY! Never has. Never will. Has a box full of jewelry from many Christmases that IS NEVER WORN!

This is almost as bad as giving a fur coat to an animal rights activist. Every year. For life.
"Oh honey...a...fur coat!? How...thoughtful?"
"I know how much you like fur."
" know of course, I..."
"Look at the lining--real silk."
"Yes, but..."
"It was expensive, but you're worth every penny (he got it for half off)."
" shouldn't have...really (what an idiot)."
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it really pays to make a comprehensive Christmas list. That way, people are sure about what it is you really want and need. Why leave room for error and guesswork?

In fact, you could even include the actual price(s) of the desired item(s). That way, if your loved one (daughter/wife) needed to set aside say, $200 a month for a year or so, they would be able to do that.

Say, for example, the desired gift was an Apple PowerBook 1400 with color matrix screen and CD-ROM drive, listed at $2,000--two thousand dollars! They would be able to buy that, then (at CompUSA). See?

Also by Jim Rink
The General
Are computers the answer to the problem of education?
Rails to Snails
Jim solves the Rails to Trails controversy
Squishy Uterus
On the books and thoughts of pre-parenthood
Cause Celebre
Madonna moves into Leelanau County
A Condo Runs Through It
More than just rivers are running through Leelanau County
The Piano
A haunted theatre...
Time Warp
Is it just Jim, or is everything comin' round again?
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