For all of you who do your Christmas / Hannukah shopping starting in April….Have mercy on fools like me! While you are sitting back with the stacks of wrapped gifts, dusting them off a bit, try to look into the crystal ball and think about the day AFTER you deliver your gifts! Like when you find out that they recalled the toy you bought because it tends to catch fire? Or that wonderful blouse you bought for your favorite cousin, the deep purple one? If you opened it up now you’d see that the tissue paper that you put in the box-----has streaks of purple all over it……WHO KNEW?

I have three Grandsons. 13,14,18 in ages, and they have changed their minds at least 65 times since the last time I asked what kind of gifts they would like to receive. The good thing is that they all have a birthday in January. If I missed anything in December, I can redeem myself in the next month. I also have a sort of step-Grandson and he is 22. He was just sent to boot camp. I was going to offer him a one-way ticket to Canada. I don’t think he would take that so I am going to send him all sorts of stuff. Not just for Christmas. He’s pretty sure he will be in Afghanistan for the New Year. I will make sure he gets Christmas at least once a month.

Then there are the kids. 42, 38 ,33 and still very much “Kids” when it comes to gifts. The Daughter in Heart, (in-law sounds so cold.) is easy to buy for. Anything that can be used to go fishing. NO, that wasn’t a typo! My son and her have the fishing monster and for her birthday he bought her a pair of hip length waders. If he had given her a mink coat and a diamond necklace she probably would’ve sold them on e-bay to buy those waders. His gift is usually something like hers. She gets the hooks and he gets the line. After all, it was his line that hooked her and hooked her good. They have had two weddings. The first one was an elopement to Maryland where they got married on the beach at sunrise on the summer solstice. The honeymoon was spent fishing in North Carolina. They didn’t want a big wedding and all that fuss so they did it their way. A year later, her parents gave her a church wedding with a small reception. That way they can keep everybody happy. You can’t expect a champion striped bass fisherwoman to be happy in a fluffy white dress.

The oldest daughter lives in Fort Lauderdale. I live in NJ so I can’t be accused of mother- in- law nagging. Regular ‘Mommy’ nagging takes place over the phone. Living in Florida means that I can forget that lovely hand knit sweater. It is a little difficult to buy summery stuff here. If I buy her a pretty T-shirt, I will always get the size wrong. If I get a small, she complains that it’s too tight, a medium is too short, a large is too long and an Extra-large is a complete insult. (Even though when I see her down there, she is wearing something so large and floppy it should come with tent stakes.) She does like jewelry but if I buy it, she already has it. Her spousal choice is easy. The Troll goes to Sears Hardware and loads up on tools that no one ever figured out a use for. You see, just HAVING a left ratcheted spiral battery operated monkey wrench is enough. You are not expected to use it. This year I think he’ll get the T-shirt and she’ll get the monkey wrench.

The youngest is in NJ but about an hour and a half away. She is a lot like the grandsons. I try to wait until the last minute to get her something because she probably will have just gone out and gotten whatever it was for herself. I’m thinking a sewing machine but I have a feeling that if I do that, she will have bought one the night before. She would be the ideal candidate for a gift certificate. She would also be very insulted! The idea would be that I spent time looking for OTHER people’s gifts…..but not on hers! The only thing I can think of is to buy several things and see what one she DIDN’T already buy herself. Her spousal connection is another one who gets that monkey wrench and he will love it! Obviously his parents raised him right. I must have missed that chapter in Dr. Benjamin Spock’s baby and child care book.

The Troll is the easiest one to buy stuff for. He has already told me that he wants a pressure washer. I was confused,,,,,,we already had a washer in the basement, and a dryer too! He then explained it to me and I am still confused. There is absolutely no need for it. The house just got sided last year. He tells me that he talked to someone who told him that before he paints the front steps, (Present for 18 months in their unpainted state.) he should pressure wash them. How can I think that pressure washing wooden steps and railings in winter isn’t a good idea? But, don’t forget, I am the one who fixes things with a roll of duct tape and one slightly bent screwdriver.

Holidazed and confuddled am I!

© Swampetta (

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