Making the kind of Christmas presents worth remembering

December 10, 2018 — by Samantha Yee

Near the end of November, my mind lapses into a deep realm of serious thought and critical observation.  Of course, this focus could easily be mistaken for preparation for finals. But more importantly, around this time, I wander into Christmas present-giving territory.

I scour my memory for the most ludicrous, inside-joke-inducing conversations with friends and family, in hopes of bringing forth a present that induces laughter, knowing glances and a general off-putting awe.

This method does come with its drawbacks, namely the time- and thought-consuming nature of putting painstaking effort into each personalized gift.

For example, the receiver might not even remember the significance of the bagel guillotine — in reference to a clearly fleeting memory —  that they will soon receive.

I’ve also wasted too much time trying to tie as many inside-jokes as possible into a single card or present.  As I start writing the fourth chapter of a very poorly done mecha “Gone With the Wind” fanfiction that I’d promised to someone in the spirit of the holidays, I’m so drained that I  question if having friends is really worth the work done for them.

I’ve had quite a bit of experience with bizarre holiday gifts, which usually chronicle that year’s worth of esoteric conversations.

I’ve received the deprecating T-shirt that advertises the fact that I am worth three dollars.  I’ve seen the ones that were probably more expensive that they should be: customized mementos of fake cults we made up.

And of course, the obligatory, beautifully random gifts: ironic stacks of the newest Barbie movies and a furry “Winnie the Pooh” outfit that barely graces the lines of socially acceptable.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend trying to spin inside jokes into Christmas gifts to prioritize time efficiency, practicality and a general sense of self-respect around friends.

Maybe eventually, I’ll stop having the time and energy to devote myself to tasks like personalized holiday gifts. But I will never forget their significance and chaotic energy. The effort is worth seeing the confusion-into-laughter-into-wonder expression on a recipient’s face.