Hump Day: Make Christmas an explosively joyous experience

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Every year, gift-giving becomes more of a challenge.

I realize that gift cards are not the preferred way to go for traditionalists but at some point, it’s just as easy for someone to pick out their own gift.

Even my five-year-old nephew wants a gift card this year to his favourite book store.

He was very happy to receive one last year from me and it gave him the little feeling of being all grown up.

He was able to go shopping with my sister (his mother) and ‘buy’ something himself, you see.

The other benefit is that he would actually get something he wants.

If there’s something I hate is wasting my money on a gift the other person wasn’t crazy about.

When I give a gift, I want the receiver’s head to explode.

No “Oh, that’s nice!” or “That’s very thoughtful of you!”

I’m not kidding – I want to see brain fragments splattered on the wall.

As soon as I give a gift, I want the other person’s eyes to bug out, their hair to stand on end, their mouth to open, then scream, then boom!

No more head.

That way, I really know that the other person loved and appreciated the gift – and then I get to bring it back to the store for a refund.

After all, what does a person with no head need a diamond-studded four-slot toaster for, anyway?

But buying a gift that makes someone’s head literally explode is no easy matter.

Heck, I’d be satisfied with just a sincere smile and a “Thank you!”

At least a gift card gives you the satisfaction of knowing that the receiver bought something for themselves of their own choosing – something that they’d actually like.

I have an aunt who is very generous with me at Christmas.

She starts asking what I wanted for Christmas way back in September.

We laughed about how early it was.

I dismissed it out of hand.

It was no big deal.

There was lots of time.

I got asked a few more times during the fall.

I still had no idea what I wanted.

But when December rolled around, there were no more smiles and good-natured shoulder punches with a wink and a nod. This past weekend, we were down to full-blown panic.

She being someone who likes to have everything wrapped and paid for well before Christmas Day, I pretty much had a knife held to my jugular while listening to a very stressed-out aunt whisper hoarsely, “What . . . do you want . . . for Christmas?”

Finally, I decided on something, but of course it was at Costco and she had no membership, so we hopped in my vehicle and went over to purchase the gift.

I carried it to the cash and she paid for it.

Then we went back to her place and I brought it in so she can wrap it and take it to my mother’s at Christmas, when I’ll unwrap it and squeal loudly with happiness like I’ve never seen it before in my life.

Maybe I’ll even burst into tears to add to the ambiance.

I kid, of course.

It’s a very nice gift and I hope to enjoy it for many years to come.

I don’t receive much these days that really surprises me.

I either pick the stuff out myself and someone else pays for it, or I get gift cards from either coffee shops or book stores.

It’s all good, though.

I certainly appreciate it all very much and am grateful for the generosity of others.

I guess I’m just a bit nostalgic about truly being practically impossible to surprise on Christmas morning.

As a kid, we used to get some nice surprises.

They were always fun.

As an adult, though, the surprises seem to be few and far between.

I hate for others to waste their money on something I won’t like or need, so I pretty much just put in my orders and they fulfil them like we’re in an old-style grocery store that delivers to your door.

I love hearing stories about people being truly surprised on Christmas morning.

It adds to the magic of the season.

I may be past that, now, but I’m perfectly OK with it.

I know pretty much everything I’m getting for Christmas and I’m looking forward to it.

Actually, if you’re looking for some heart-warming true-life Christmas surprises, just visit YouTube on the Internet and type ‘Christmas surprise’ in the search box.

There, you’ll find links to all kinds of real-life holiday surprises caught on video camera, including soldiers returning home, the puppy the kids have been wanting for years, announcements of a baby on the way, surprise homecomings from relatives, etc.

I could watch those types of videos all day.

Just make sure you have a box of tissues next to the computer because they’re bound to bring a tear to your eye.

There may not be many truly shocking Christmas surprises for me (at least for the time being) but I can certainly experience others’ surprises through the wonders of the Internet.

Unexpected reunions have always affected me emotionally.

They always get to me – the shock of seeing a long-lost loved one standing in front you, the surprise of an unexpected return home from a person you’ve missed very much.

I swear, I could watch a talk show that tearfully reunites two friends who haven’t seen each other since they had lunch the day before and I’d cry like a little girl. I can always hope for an unexpected surprise this Christmas, but I’ll settle for receiving gifts I’ve asked for in exactly the colour and size I want.

That means I won’t have to return them after Christmas, and then I’ll really cry, but they’ll be tears of joy.

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