November 10, 2006

Eggnog Latte

The holiday season just seems to start a little bit earlier every year. Today, I embraced the madness of it all and had my first holiday beverage- an eggnog latte from Starbucks. My friend Eric and I are passionate about these yummy drinks, and they are only available on the Starbucks holiday menu.

While taking my first sip and savoring the delicious and oh-so-special flavor, I started thinking about this Christmas and what's in store for me and mine. Due to my "delicate" condition (i.e., being roughly the size and shape of a holiday parade float as I grow our second child), this year all the family are coming to us. I'm so excited to see everyone, enjoy the food and treats and decorations and celebrations and music and gifts...

"Crap. Gifts! What the hell am I going to get for everyone?!" The thought hit me hard, like a fetal kick to some important internal organ, and I took another quick swig of latte to calm my panic. Because why is it, seriously, that the people who are the MOST important, the MOST beloved, are the people that it is 100% impossible to shop for? I mean, sure, I can find gifts, easy, for the 1 and 2 year olds, but aside from that? Total mind wipe. I have no ideas.

For instance, my sister-in-law, who I speak with weekly (if not more), who I love, adore and cherish as a friend and family member, is the hardest person to find something nice for! Not because she's picky or her standards are high; she's not, and she'd be just as happy with a hug and a nice card. It's that I, me personally, want to get her something fabulous as a way to express how important she is to me.

How do you do that with a gift? Does a sweater say, "You're an amazing person who has made my life great"? Can you say that with lotion, maybe, or a gift card to Borders? Y'all see my dillema.

I want my gifts to express something personal, and by their very nature, most gifts are as generic as could be. I'll probably do what I do every year- just the best that I can with the imagination given me. I know that everyone else has the same problem, too. I know that my husband knows I love him, even if receiving a copy of Clerks 2 doesn't exactly express the point clearly. Part of me wishes I could give in to the new-age mindset of NOT giving gifts, giving donations in a person's name or baking special cookies and writing a heartfelt letter instead.

But the truth is, I love giving presents! I love wrapping them, I love putting the bows on, I love seeing the smiles when they are received and opened. Maybe it doesn't matter so much what's inside. Maybe, all cliches aside, it really is the thought that counts.

And just in case I end up giving one of you a bright red chenille sweater with a Christmas Tree applique and silver bells on it... remember that it comes from a place of love... and panic.

Happy Holidays, y'all! Enjoy those Eggnog Lattes while they're here!