The best Christmas gift I’ve ever received was really an early birthday present because my father couldn’t wait until March. He bought it in mid December after a few drinks with his pal named John who convinced him that no son of Mike Macdonald should play a guitar that Gordon Lightfoot wouldn’t play. So they took a cab from a jazz bar on Queen Street, George’s, and went to Steve’s six blocks west. A thousand bucks and ten scotches later, my guitar sat under the bar waiting to be my twentieth birthday present.
It’s brown and unusual looking and I still play it almost every day. I wrote every song I ever wrote on it.
It’s the best gift I’ve ever received.
I can’t really think of the best gift I’ve ever given. My mum would give me twenty dollars to go to Consumer’s Distributing to buy her the appliance we needed. The one I remember most specifically was an avocado green toaster.
Maybe as a single mum in the seventies, getting a new toaster wasn’t all that bad.
I think I once bought her a bottle of Frangelico that probably lasted the remaining ten years of her life.
Lots of gift certificates or promissory notes for dinners and that kind of thing. Some people are just hard to buy for.
My Dad used to say that a bottle of booze was one size fits all.
Valerie and I don’t exchange gifts. We’re both kind of cynical and it’s always seemed like holiday gift-giving among adults is a kind of coersion.
But this year is different. I’m getting just the best gift for both of us. Tomorrow.
I’ve been unemployed for a while and don’t really have a lot of money to throw around but this present doesn’t cost a dime. And it really is for both of us. One size fits all, as my dad used to say.
I’m going to rehab. To save my life and to save our marriage. It won’t be until later in January but I’ve started the process and I’ll commit tomorrow.
Six weeks. No phone, no computer… it’s really going to screw up my draft prep for my five fantasy baseball teams.
But it’s the best thing I can give to her and the best thing I can give to myself and if the best Christmas gifts really do carry no monetary value and really are priceless, then this is the best I’ve got. I can’t put a ribbon on it. Or a tag. But my sweet wife will know it’s from me before she opens it.
I’ll keep you informed so you don’t worry about me but as far as I’m concerned this is the big ticket item and aside from buying some friends and family some wine as hostess gifts, my Christmas shopping is done.
And I don’t intend to buy this gift again.
It’s not in a catalogue. It doesn’t come in different colours. And there’s no pricing. But it’s the most valuable thing I can give to my wife. My old self. The person she fell in love with.