Observations

Thankful for all I didn’t get for Christmas

December 24, 2013 

All I wanted for Christmas in 2013 was my family and good health, which I received for the most part, not only at Christmas, but just about every day of the year.

But I’m thankful for all the things I didn’t find under the tree, and it actually feels good to have a “Do Not Want” list. Now, I realize that the things I don’t want may be exactly what you did want, so please don’t be offended by my list.

Just make your own and set yourself free from unnecessary clutter.

I’m grateful that I didn’t receive the Ciclotte, a “one-of-a-kind” gift from Neiman Marcus, with a price tag of $11,000. It’s an exercise bike with a seat that practically hovers over a large wheel, reminiscent of the unicycle from the late 1800s.

It doesn’t hurt that the bike is positioned next to a swimming pool of rippling blue water on the website, and that $1,500 from every purchase is donated to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, a charitable gift program that supports art experiences for young people.

The buyer is assured that this art form of an exercise bicycle is so modern and beautiful that it will never be banished to the basement. OK, I’m laughing now because I don’t even have a basement, and what’s more, I already studiously ignore the exercise bike in my kitchen that I partly paid for with Kohl’s bucks last year. Yes, in my kitchen, and no that doesn’t motivate me to use it.

Next up is the Elf on the Shelf, a tradition in which an elf watches over the household by day and returns to the North Pole at night to give Santa Claus a report on children’s behavior.

The observant elf, which can’t be touched lest it loses its magic, appears in a different location in the house every morning to do it all over again.

I actually like the story behind this Santa’s little helper.

In 2005, a mother and daughter teamed up to write and self-publish a book about their family tradition, and since then The Elf on the Shelf has won many awards and appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If my children were small, I’d probably give it a try, but lately I’ve heard a lot of sad stories about parents who were too tired to situate the elf in a new location every night – just one more thing to keep up with.

Imagine awakening from a deep sleep at night, realizing you’d forgotten to “help” the elf out. Now that’s bad behavior that should be immediately reported to Santa.

Just for fun, let’s add a GPS for my car to the list of things I didn’t want for Christmas. I’d like to get lost the old-fashioned way, thank you very much.

The few times I’ve been in a car (read rental) with a navigational system, I second-guessed that calm voice telling me which way to turn, and since there was usually another human in the car with an opinion, it turned into utter chaos.

Besides, my smart phone already knows too much. I use an application called Ibotta that allows me to save money on certain products.

Anytime I get close to a grocery or drug store, the phone perks up with a tantalizing “ka-ching” to remind me that 50 cents is all mine if I will just buy a box of tissues.

Not too long ago, I actually had to have a kid with me to hear that kind of ding-donging.

Now if we can just give that GPS to the Elf on the Shelf he can find his own way back from the North Pole every night.

Karan Moses Robinson is a freelance writer who lives in Clover.

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