I don’t mind shopping. I don’t even mind Christmas shopping, as long as it’s not at the last minute. I love finding things that will delight my loved ones, and let me just tell you right now, if you’re one of my friends and you’re on my list, you’re getting a totally kick-ass present this year. However, if you’re in my immediate family, I am completely stumped. Also, you should really stop reading my site. Now. For the love of God.
My parents get harder and harder to shop for every year. I’ve run out of books and CDs for my dad, and when he says he wants new running shorts and some socks and another New Yorker page-a-day calendar, I know he’s not lying, but I cannot get over my desire to have my present be The Best Present Ever. Same for my mom. I’ve given all the jewelry and candles and aromatherapy bath crap I can give. My mother does not need anymore knick-knacks, or things that play music when you wind them up. Do you know what she asked for last year? A fake pecan pie. For real. It’s like a regular pecan pie, only it’s been shellacked, and it sits in the glass cake holder on the kitchen counter, taunting me. It’s a fake pecan pie, for Chrissakes. The buck stops there, people.
I keep trying to get them to buy a DVD player, but they scoff. Of course, these are the same people that finally gave up on the Betamax when I was in high school. And you know, even if they did break down and get a DVD player, I have no idea what movies they’d like. My family and I share a similar sense of humor and a cinematic canon (Star Wars, The Sound of Music, Vacation, The Great Muppet Caper, The Jerk, Ghostbusters, Animal House, The Princess Bride), but when it comes to recent releases, there’s no common ground. We try and try again, like ships passing in the night, but inevitably hate each other’s recommendations. My mom gets mad when I say I hate Julia Roberts (“Hate is an awfully strong word, Sarah”), and my dad won’t go see The Lord of the Rings because he doesn’t like to sit in a theater for more than two hours. They like B movies with A-list stars. I’ve given up, but my mom still tries.
“Have you seen Enemy of the State? We really enjoyed that.”
“Yeah, Mom, you’ve told me that a million times.”
“You know what else was good? The Devil’s Advocate.”
Last summer, my parents got all into the hummingbirds in their backyard, so much so that they bought multiple feeders and ate only in the kitchen so they could see out the bay window, because God forbid they miss one tiny bird all summer long. They would interrupt conversations at the dinner table to point them out. You’d say, “Mom, Dad, I’m thinking about quitting my job,” and one of them would say, “Wow! Did you see that little guy?”, and then you would cry into your lemonade and no one would notice because they had moved into the den for a better view out the french doors. So far, this is all I have for them.
As for my 18 year old brother, I’ve realized that I will never top the year that, fresh from my horrible yet high-paying job, I gave him a CD player for his car, so we mostly just search for MST3K movies the other one hasn’t seen yet. This year, I would love more than anything to give him the movie Troll 2 on VHS, but Amazon doesn’t stock it and the only copy on eBay just sold. I don’t suppose any of you have a spare copy lying around?