I hate buying presents for people. I know this makes me sound like a ginormous asshole, but let me assure you: It’s not that I have any problems with spending money on my loved ones. Rather, it’s that I hate shopping, especially under time constraints. If I ever check into a rehab, you can bet that it will be during the Christmas season.
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to go to a Secret Santa party. Now, I will be completely honest here: At the time, I had a big ol’ crush on this friend, and probably would have gone on a dump run with him, if he’d asked, or else gotten a root canal in his stead. So I was perfectly willing to subject myself to the pre-Christmas hoards in order to have an excuse to hang out with him.
I even found what I thought was the perfect gift, given the monetary limit and the fact that I had two days to shop: A little metal music box thing that played “Let it be.” (Here is the problem with shopping: When you buy Secret Santa gifts, you either tend to buy silly stuff that people will throw away once they get home, or you tend to buy stuff that you’d like to get yourself.)
Through perfect chance, this guy and I wound up getting each other’s gift. His gift to me? A set of monkey coasters and some Mad Libs. The PERFECT Secret Santa gifts. Hip, lighthearted. I could tell they were from him. I certainly wouldn’t want to throw them out. (Although, given the emotional trauma they evoked afterward, I did eventually chuck them unused.) My heart immediately sunk, knowing that he’d open my present and say…
“What is this crap?” He held the music box up, and turned the little crank with his big guy’s hands. It looked like a flimsy, ridiculous thing. “This is the WORST present I’ve ever SEEN.”
“IT’S A MUSIC BOX,” I blurted, forgetting that the whole thing was supposed to be anonymous. Everyone stared at me. My crush? Slowly turned the crank.
Plink, plink, plink. Let it be, kids. And don’t do Secret Santa.