November 22nd, 2005

Brad @ Burning Man

All I Want for Christmas

I'm oddly sleepy all of a sudden, and can't remember what I was going to write about tonight. So I'll skip ahead to what I was going to write tomorrow or the next night, and talk about holiday shopping for me, for the at most three or four of you who might care. I will start by saying that I do have an Amazon.com wish list, and yes, used copies are just fine for everything there, but nothing on that list is what I really want the most.

What I really want the most for Christmas is consumables. I said the same thing last year, and you may have assumed that this was because I couldn't afford to buy my own. But no, let me assure you, even now that the grocery budget is back to something resembling sanity, I still think that food (both home-made and food baskets), liquor, flowers and other houseplants, candles, and scented glycerine soaps make the best gifts for me. The fact remains that I still live in a tiny little space, that all of the places to put things away in here are full, and I don't really need, want, or even like most things that you might be thinking of giving me that aren't consumable. Sure, I love books, but very few people can reliably predict my tastes. (Online bookstore gift certificates are just fine with me, of course.) Ditto clothing; out of all of the people who've given me clothes for the holidays, I can count on my thumbs the only two such gifts that I actually liked. I despise clutter, so the last thing on earth I need is some decorative nick-nack or toy that I'd have to store and/or make a space for and/or clean around. I own a DVD player, but hardly ever turn it on, and can't think of more than one or two things I wish I owned that I don't. I prefer to turn on a streaming Internet radio station to picking out my own music from CDs.

Food: The holiday season brings out all kinds of prepackaged gift baskets and such, and I like nearly all of them: sausage and cheese assortments, nuts, candies, cookies, whatever. But I can be just as easily delighted by home-made foods, especially because while I do cook, my repertoire is pretty limited. Not least of which, I love baked goods, but know not the first thing about baking: bring me home-made cookies, or bread, or a cake, or a pie, and I'll be as amazed as if you'd pulled a rabbit out of my hat, because I have no idea how the trick is done. I love home-made soups and stews for the same reason. It absolutely needn't be fancy or expensive. For example, last year kukla_tko42 just got a 99¢ box of off-brand instant hot cocoa and put it in a decorative tin that she had laying around the house, and I think it was the nicest, most thoughtful gift that she's ever gotten me.

Liquor: Food stamps don't cover it, and I only just started having grocery money again after nearly a year, so the cabinets are bare. With the holidays coming up, I'm in especial need of spiced rum, vodka, schnapps (peach, cinammon, peppermint, and/or some of the sillier fruity DeKuypers stuff like their "tropical fruit" schnapps), and sloe gin. Even a pint with a ribbon around it makes a delightful gift.

Candles: Dear god, I wish somebody I know locally who has room would hold a PartyLite party; I'm on my last 3 votives. If you're shopping PartyLite for me, avoid the food-based and the more feminine floral scents; stick with musky, woodsy, spicy, or outdoorsy scents.

Soaps: I love glycerine soaps, especially in the winter when 20°F dewpoints just tear my skin up. But they're an expensive luxury for me, not least of which because as someone who's car-less it's a big deal to get down to the mall to buy them. Follow the same rules of thumb as I gave for candles, but add minty and citrusy as favorable adjectives.

Flowers and Houseplants: Preferably in their own disposable containers. I love having plants around the house, and always under- then over-water them, so they never last. But what's more, I keep telling people that as little as a $2.50 bouquet from the grocery store is enough to brighten my day, that I absolutely love receiving flowers, and instead people bring me everything else but. Last year I did get a poinsetta, that was nice, but even some ordinary house plants like a spider fern or an air fern or something would be nice.