Over the years I’ve gotten some great Christmas gifts. Also, some not-so-great Christmas gifts. When I was a child, I had an eccentric aunt-in-law who sent some very odd presents. One year my father received a tie with a stain on it. I received a box of chocolates that had clearly been sitting around for a while, as the surface was whitish. I later learned this is called chocolate bloom. It also had a musty odor to it and a weird taste.  And seriously, who sends a child a box of chocolates for Christmas? I appreciate almost any gift given with a little thought as to who I really am and what I really like. Everyone who knows me well (except the eccentric aunt, whom I had only met once) knows I am a chocoholic.  So, every year, I am inundated with chocolate. (Fresh chocolate.) Christmas is the only time of year that I actually get tired of sweets. But I can usually make my Christmas chocolate stash last for several months without it developing chocolate bloom, so I don’t have to worry about buying chocolate until Halloween rolls around. Now the trick is to get people to give me the kinds of chocolate I like, instead of flavors like Giardelli eggnog and anything with coffee or peanut butter.

It is also common knowledge that I love animals. So, every year I get one (or several) animal calendars. I always put one on the refrigerator (yeah, I STILL keep a non-electronic calendar and actually mark appointments on it with a pen). Another I always took to work. But since retirement, there are only so many places to put a calendar, so just a heads up—there are only so many calendars I can use this year. I also don’t want any “pooping animals” calendars. Keep it cute and cuddly. Oh, and while I love animals, please don’t buy me any critters.

The year after Hubby and I were married, my in-laws gave us a set of pots and pans. I think they were trying to tell me something about the condition of my kitchenware. They were probably right. I still use those pots and pans after thirty years, and my in-laws are no longer around to replace them. This may say something about my tendency to never discard anything, no matter how decrepit it looks, including cookie sheets and muffin tins that are completely blackened and a fifty-year-old crockpot that gets ridiculed at every church dinner. I did get new dish towels from my stepdaughters one year after they visited and saw the state of my dishcloths and towels. I did not see anything wrong with the old ones but I guess the holes and faded designs sparked the idea for a Christmas gift. Either that, or they remembered them from when they were teenagers still living here.

Let me move on to other gifts that I could do without, in case you were looking for something to give me this year. Wrinkle creams and face masks are right up there at the top. It’s not that I don’t need them. It’s just that I don’t want anyone else to perceive I need them, and decide to gift them to me. Thank you, but I will buy my wrinkle creams in private. The same goes for nose-hair trimmers. Earrings are unnecessary as I don’t have pierced ears. Exercise equipment. If I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it. Don’t try to guilt me by gifting me with a set of weights. Any lingerie-related gift is a definite no-no, especially if opened in front of a crowd.

I would also venture to say that for most women, anything to enable them to do housework better is not likely to be appreciated unless they specifically asked for said item. Case in point: The year the EX bought me an iron for Christmas is the year I gave him a divorce.