Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Countdown to Christmas 4 days

It must suck to have your birthday so close to Christmas. I guess you don't get to choose your birth date so you just make the best of it, but still, you know that most of your presents are going to either come with Christmas wrapping paper or be one of those, "I went over budget so this will be half your birthday gift, and half your Christmas gift" kind of moments.

It's my dad's birthday today! And he is turning.... uh.... "really old."

Dad's are notoriously hard to buy for. If you think it sucks to have your birthday this close to Christmas, try shopping for the most difficult person on your list for TWO gifts in the same week. When I was younger we had three fail safe gifts for dad: Peanut brittle, chocolate peanut clusters and mixed nuts. Since there were three kids we struck an uneasy alliance that each of us would get one of those "easy gifts" for dad for either his birthday or Christmas. After that, you were on your own for the other gift.

What are you getting dad for Christmas?
"Chocolate covered peanut clusters."
What about for his birthday?
"Don't know, I think a flashlight."
What's Debbie getting him for Christmas?
"Peanut brittle."
And for his birthday?
"Big bag of mixed nuts."
No way, that's not fair.
"Should have spoken up sooner."
It's not fair, you have to get one thing that's not food. That's the rules.
"There's no RULES."
Yes there IS, MOM! Mooooommmmmm!!!!!!
Dad's nuts, on Christmas morning.

The beauty of food giving is that it's perishable. He doesn't still have all that food from last year. You can't have bought dad's gift at the beginning of the month. You had to buy it that week. And if you were incredibly generous, dad would have too much. "Jesus, you bought way too many of these chocolate peanut clusters, I can't eat all these by myself! Who's gonna' help me eat all this...?" PICK ME! PICK ME! SUPER SCORE!!!

Then there became some issue with my dad not supposed be eating so much sugar, chocolate or nuts. And suddenly our no fault, never fail, easy gift options were off the table. He doesn't wear ties. He has three tire gauges. Maybe a new high tech ice scraper?

Last year I combined my parents Christmas gift and gave them both a puzzle a month for a year. They like puzzles. They are always doing puzzles. I went through and chose great pictures that went with each month. I don't do puzzles. I didn't look at the number of pieces in each puzzle. As a consequence, last year I managed to give the gift that keeps on giving... frustration. I think they may be on August or September right about now. That means that last year's gift is still going as this year's gift, right? I'm off the hook, right? Because I have to tell you, I still have no idea what to get my dad for Christmas. Or his birthday.

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