Sunday, December 1, 2019

Giving Gifts to Both of Me

My mom says people generally have two versions of themselves: their ideal selves and their real selves. When it comes to cleaning out stuff, it's an important distinction. Take my cheeseboard, for example. No, really, take it. I don't want it anymore.

Because Ideal Self is quite the hostess. She entertains effortlessly and always has a wheel of brie in the fridge for an impromptu happy hour.  She even has a little cheese knife with a mouse shaped handle. Adorable! However Real Self has never once used this appetizer platter. Not that I don't like cheese. I love cheese. My friend Chrissy and I went to Milwaukee last summer and ate so much cheese. We also laughed like idiots trying to capture the perfect cheesy picture. Instead, it's the entertaining that's intimidating. Real Self would rather order pizzas than fashion a cheese platter. Real Self is usually in her pajamas watching Netflix on Friday nights.

I'm getting better at realizing the difference between Ideal Self and Real Self and it makes it easier to part with things that don't align with my lifestyle.  Last year I hosted a White Elephant gift exchange.  Traditionally, every guest brings an unwanted item but I had enough stuff to supply all the gifts myself. Some of these were probably teacher gifts. Others were from my dad, who is a notoriously interesting gift giver. (He once gave me a shower head for no apparent reason. Another time he gave me placemats with tractors on them. I actually kept those because they make me laugh.)

Adventure gift to a concert
Once Paul gave me a banjo for Christmas.  I took lessons for about a year hoping to live out the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, "My baby plays a guitar, I pick a banjo now." Alas, Real Self discovered playing the banjo is really hard. Maybe Old Crow Medicine Show could change the lyrics to more accurately say, "My baby plays a guitar, I dust my banjo now."  

I recognize that this makes it a challenge to give me presents. Paul has jokingly lamented that other husbands have it easy buying their wives jewelry, while I prefer a handmade coupon book of adventures. Real Self would much rather spend time WITH you than get a sweater FROM you. I struggle with gift giving too. While Ideal Self is a fantastic gift giver and wraps presents like Martha Stewart, Real Self hates shopping and usually relies on recycled gift bags to wrap everything. 

Speaking of music, 'tis the season for hearing holiday music on every radio sation. I've never been much of a Mariah Carey fan--I don't like glitter either but that's a different story--yet I find myself humming this song when I think about gift giving: 

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

Here's where Ideal Self and Real Self agree. Neither of us want a lot of stuff for Christmas. We don't need the perfectly wrapped presents under the tree or a gourmet cheese platter. We both want to spend quality time with our family and our friends.  All we want for Christmas is YOU. 

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