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Christmas Prezzie Post-Mortem 

Published January 5, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

If Christmas is your gift-giving holiday of choice and you're anything like me, your December 25 went a little something like this: after staying up late watching episodes of Tabatha's Salon Takeover on Hulu while jamming festively decorated cookies down your maw, you awaken at noon, ready to tear into some prezzies.

As you prepare to open your gifts, you pray that no one got you anything you hate. It's not that you're ungrateful. It's just that the reaction when you open that "As Seen on TV" Ronco Showtime Rotisserie has to be so calculated, so precisely gracious that just thinking about the charade makes you break out in a sweat. Ok, makes me break out in a sweat.

But no matter how well we steel ourselves against the non-ironic Snuggie or the gift basket of facial depilatory creams (is that a hint, Mom?), it's always awkward. You don't want to let on that you would no sooner purchase this item yourself than you would run at a pack of frothing hellhounds with fists full of raw meat. But you also don't want your reaction to the gift to seem disingenuous. Someone did think enough of you to buy you something. Unless they regifted it. In which case, screw them. 

My father is the master of the post-unwrapping reaction. With every present he's ever received in his life his acknowledgment is always the same: "Heyhey! A canister of atomic waste. Cool." "Heyhey! A pinless grenade. Cool." "Heyhey! Your baby teeth fashioned into earrings. Cool." 

Luckily, I didn't have to employ that time-tested tactic this year. Just about everything I got was great. And I'm grateful for all of it. But I did get a few items that, as a Vermonter, albeit a transplant from Flatlandia, I just don't need. And I'm not taking about the bikini Grandma gave me. I'm talking about hats, mittens, gloves and scarves.

If there is one thing that most Vermonters have in spades it's cold weather gear. You can't survive without it here. Hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, gaiters, mufflers, earmuffs, balaclavas — if it keeps your appendages from cracking off, we've got it. Which is why, typically, we don't need any more of it. Unless it's a replacement for your dingy-ass beanie that smells like bong water. 

I take that back. I actually do need this scarhatten. 

Apparently, my family thinks I live in the Arctic tundra and am in danger of losing limbs to frostbite because every year I get some hat/scarf/glove combo platter. Now, I love a jaunty cap, lord knows. But with the most recent additions, my current collection of cold weather accoutrements is enough to clothe nearly everyone in my office. And probably your office as well. 

While I am appreciative for my most recent gifts and currently wear all of them (sometimes at once), I'd like to see that money spent on something I need. Like a diamond mine in Canada. Or a miniature donkey. Ultimately, though, I guess most of us don't need any presents unless we're starving and the present is a ham sandwich or our house is being foreclosed on and the present is a fire at the bank that holds your mortgage. And yes, if we're freezing, a good hat will do us well. But most of us, thankfully, aren't. 

Because we are Americans and we can't escape excess, we will continue getting stuff. Some of it we'll love. For the rest, well...Heyhey! A ______. Cool.  

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Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.

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