Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Christmas List. . . the unofficial version

Every year the family asks what I want for Christmas. Every year I say. . . something "homemade" or something "green and natural" or something "fun for the kitchen." And there are the old standbys. . . books and music and Bath-and-Body-Works stuff. Or the occasional spa day or pedicure or massage. Lovely things, all. And it's not like I don't appreciate that they actually want to BUY me something.

How old do I have to be to get by with telling them what I really want?

A new epidermis. Seriously. I'd love to have a skin-freshening, or whatever they call it these days. The crepey stuff on the cheeks and the brown sun-damage spots and the little spidery things around the eyes are really starting to annoy me. Isn't there a specialty catalog that specializes in "miracle cures" or something?

A trip somewhere FUN. Like the Napa Valley or Sonoma County. Preferably someplace where they have great food and tons of wine. Maybe Tuscany or the Champagne region of France. Or someplace sunny in the winter, like the Virgin Islands. As it is, the "vacations" are mostly spent traveling to see the kids. . . which, don't get me wrong, is very nice and all. They're my heart and soul. But it would be great to have some grown-up FUN in the mix.

A new retirement plan. My SEP (401K for the self-employed) is looking like it got hit by vampires on three sides. I thought I was being prudent and socking it away for the future. Now it looks like I may never get to retire. I'll be asking "You want fries with that?" until they carry me out the kitchen door of McDonald's in a pine box. Of course, the kids could just finish me a room in the basement. . .

Lower cholesterol. Right now this is my biggest risk factor for not seeing 80. There is heart trouble in the genes and my cholesterol is under control with meds. But, dang, it would be nice if I could give them a few points. . . kind of spread the pain around. I mean. . . I still have the stretch marks from carrying them, for pity's sake. Surely they could help me out here.

A really comfortable pair of stilettos. You know. . . shoes that feel great while making you look like a Hollywood babe. Don't tell me somebody in Paris hasn't thought of this. I think the shoe industry has just bought them off.

Lipstick that doesn't wear off and, yet, doesn't make me look like I've just come from a Dracula Family dinner. I've tried several of the two-step lipsticks on the market and none of them have been particularly wonderful. Maybe this is expecting too much of the family. . . inventing something that has the industrial might of the western world stumped.

And a corollary to that is permanent makeup. I'd like to investigate the whole tattoo-my-eyelids thing so I'd never have to put on eyeliner again. I'm not sure I'd like the permanent lipstick thing, but I really hate having to do eyeliner.

Fresh paint. My bedroom has been needing a new coat and a new color for the last five years and I haven't been able to decide about it. So, I've put it off and put it off. Come to think of it, the family room could use a little 911 as well. And maybe the kitchen. . . the dining room. . .

Weeding the flower beds. Now this is especially annoying down here in Florida, because the danged weeds grow 365 days a year here. Aghhhhh! You weed and two weeks later, there's a fresh crop to have to massacre. Where are the grandkids when you need them?

A new bra that fits. For the last four years I have happily worn a certain kind of bra and when I went to get a couple of new ones. . . you guessed it. . . they don't make that model anymore. Now I face the dreaded trial and error process of finding my next "favorite" style and maker. Couldn't I just turn that over to somebody? Preferably somebody who won't haul me into Nordstroms and say "Fix Grammy so she doesn't scare little children in the streets."

A self-cleaning vegetable crisper. Maybe some young genius in the family could figure out a way to hook the garbage disposal directly to the crisper in the fridge. That way there'd be none of that squicky "guess what this used to be" game. And the EPA could remove all of that yellowtape around my kitchen.

40 years worth of family pictures put in decent nice-looking albums. I know, I know. This smacks of "organization." And we mustn't get our expectations/hopes too high. Might damage somebody's self esteem.


So these are a few of the things I won't be putting on my Christmas list, but really would beat out cucumber-watermelon body butter any day.

What about you? What would you REALLY like to have for Christmas. . . whether it fits in a box with a bow or not? It's never too early to start thinking about this, people!


Michele Hauf said...

Betina, I love your list! I admit I'm at the stage where when people ask I just say 'nothing' I have everything. And like you, the stuff I really want would be impossible or far too spendy to actually ask for. I much prefer giving stuff, and yeah, a person can only collect so many bottles of Bath and Body stuff before it gets sickening.

I had to Google Krauthammer. Hmm...

Just a little promo here: I'm doing my Favorite THings all week at my own blog. Sort of an Xmas List. Stop by and list one of your favorite things and I'll feature a winner on Friday.

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Your list is fantastic. You've got a few of mine. Weeded flowerbeds. A comfortable bra (which is critical when you wear a DD). The picture albums filled with labeled and organized pictures. YES! Please.

I'd like to add...give me a way to lose 50+ pounds while not changing my lazy lifestyle.

I've given up "hinting" about what I want. This year, I had my parents buy me a new leather LaZBoy recliner. (Pictures on my website - cynthiadalba.blogspot.com )

One year, I bought a citrine bracelet and earrings, wrapped them up, put my name on the package with "from" being my husband. He was a little confused but ultimately loved it.

This year, I bought myself a Zune from "my husband" for my birthday (which isn't until December, but Hey, I wanted it now)

Must now go see who Charles Krauthammer is.

Debra Dixon said...

I want the skin freshening! My face is looking okay but I'm not thrilled with the arms!

We haven't become grinches around here but we have started buying just for the kids. Our parents are retired and we don't want them spending their money on these big Christmas extravaganzas filled with "I bought the best present" competitions.

I love home-made presents.
And cucumber-watermelon body butter sounds good!

Psst...Betina, we published a book by one of the leading bra fitters in American- Susan Nethero. (You've seen her on Oprah.) Her web site has a widget for finding a bra store in your area, even if it's not her store. (Her FL store is in Miami) So maybe there will be a good store near you! Here's the URL.


Kylie said...

Wonderful list, Betina, and I want everything on it. Except the lap dance from Krauthammer. I'd settle for a facial expression from him. He looks like the guy in Beetlejuice!

When I got married my strict rule for my husband on gifts was nothing for the house, because that isn't for *me*. The gift has to be personal. The general rule of thumb is 'if you don't want to be seen wearing it, don't get it for me.' A vacuum cleaner, for example, would get quite heavy after being knotted around his neck!

I would love my kids to sign up for weekends to come home with the kids! No running around just hanging out. Cleaning out my kitchen cupboards. Painting the rooms (my husband paints by decades.) Cleaning out the attic. Alas when they are home their favorite thing is 'relaxing'.

But I do keep a list on the computer of ideas to give them as they occur. I love movies and have a collection that I rewatch on the tread mill. For my birthday I got 7 movies! I was in heaven.

And you know what I really need after being married thirty years? A shower. Not the soap and water kind (although after yesterday's post that came in handy!) but one for the house. My stuff looks like the dog has chewed on it for eons and threw it up again. So I ask for things like a new strainer. Mixing bowls. Dishtowels. New glasses. A griddle. A new knife set. Things I won't allow my husband to buy me and things I never think about when I'm in a store. Slowly my kitchen is starting to look decent again.

From my husband I expect things that sparkle. Every Christmas. Birthdays too. And I don't want to have to earn them the old-fashioned way, either!

Debra Dixon said...

Kylie-- I used to give my mother "coupon books" for things like a lunch together, coming over to clean out the pantry, etc. She loved those.

Playground Monitor said...

I can so identify with your list. And I'd like a good bra that doesn't cost so much it makes my IRA look like the vampires hit the fourth side too.

I like Kylie's idea of a shower for us old married folks. When we bought a new house 3 years ago I used that as an excuse to get lots of new things. First, the old stuff was well... old. And second, the old stuff was meant for a two-story colonial style house decorated in lots of blues. My new house is technically a brick rancher, but it has a high pitched roof that gives us 12-ft ceilings in the foyer, dining room and living room. And because it has neutral paint throughout, I had a wide choice of decorating colors. And what did I choose? Reds! I love it too.

LOL on no gifts for the house from the husband. On our twentieth, the DH asked the division secretary if he should buy me a new engagement ring or a new bedroom suite. She told him if he valued his life, he better buy the ring. On our 30th, he took me to Cancun for a week. And on our 35th earlier this year, he surprised me with an anniversary band to go with the ring from the 20th. He learned well.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I'll be sure to stop by!

Cyndi, I think you've hit the solution for many of us when it comes to the family. . . shop for them!

Deb, I am going to have to go the bra-fitter route, I'm afraid. I have to check out your author's book! And home-made presents-- they're the best kind. I'm suggesting that for my sister and niece this year.

Helen Brenna said...

A lap dance from Charles Krauthammer. Huh?

Love the list Betina, except for that one!

I'd love a week's vacation. Here at home where I do nothing. Don't feed the cats or dogs. No cooking, no dishes. Sleep, watch movies, read books. Sounds perfect.

PJ said...

Debra, I've bought all my bras at the Intimacy store in Atlanta since 2005. I consider them my personal fairy godmothers.

Debra Dixon said...

PJ-- Really? Excellent! I deal with a lot of her people on various promotional things and they are always good people to work with so I have to assume that philosophy extends through the whole company culture.

Michele Hauf said...

Aggh! I checked the bra list. No sites in MN! I think I need the bra fairy to stop by my house one of these days. Truly, finding that right one requires a bit of magic.

Hallelujah on the 'no presents you wouldn't want to wear'! I do have a strict no household appliances for gifts rule. I grew up watching my mother open coffee maker after, vaccum cleaner, after grill, after toaster, and force that 'gee, it's lovely' smile. My dad so never got it. But I did. You gotta train those menfolk early, is all I can say.

Playground Monitor said...

Checked out the Intimacy website. The closest store is 2 hours away, but it's the town where the grandbaby is, so... I read their top ten bra mistakes and I think I won the gold mistake medal. :-( I may have to re-think the economics of bra-buying.

PJ said...

Deb - The customer service at the Atlanta store is exceptional. I was just there last month to buy some new bras and was once again treated to a warm, professional, stress-free experience. As a nice follow-up, a few days later I received a lovely email from the rep who assisted me thanking me for my business. I've never been disappointed in the assistance I've received or the products I've purchased there. I'm always recommending them and have personally taken six friends to the store who have all been thrilled with what they bought.

PJ said...

Playground Monitor - When you have a fitting at Intimacy they put all your personal info into their computer database including the brands and styles you buy so next time you want to buy a new bra you just call or email them, tell them which style you want and they know exactly what to send you.

Another think I love about them is that their large cup bras are beautiful and come in many different colors and styles. It's nice to have choices again.

PJ said...

Betina, Charles Krauthammer? Really? Wow, I never would have guessed. :)

Keri Ford said...

I want what Helen wants. A week! One week where the hubby does dishes and laundry and he gets up with kid in the mornings. Especially if we have another dirty diaper like the one on my blog today www.EverybodyNeedsALittleRomance.com.

I want to be able to drag out of bed whenever I want and go right to my office and get some work done without interrupts to fix lunch or supper! Seeing as the hubby would have to spend a week of his vacation for this gift, I'm not holding my breath!

Betina Krahn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Betina
Great list - great post.

Check on line for your fav bras. Seriously. My favs were discontinued at my local store so I got the brand, style and number for the little tab on the back and - you guessed it. I found them on line and ordered a bunch of them. Good luck finding them!!

My list includes: shaving off about 25 pounds of blubber then fixing the winkles that will surely ensue when the fat's gone :o)

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, I'm removing the Charles Krauthammer part of the post. I had no idea. And I've always liked the guy's commentary. . . so please delete all snark from me on him. 'nough said.

amy*skf said...

I love your list Betina. I want a goat for a village this year...seriously, there are these wonderful catalogues where you can pick out chickens or a new well or goats etc.

But if I have to choose for myself, I want a two week vacation with just girlfriends. Maybe only one week.

I don't have enough breast lfor a really good bra--so I can skate by on anything.

I would have chosen the bedroom suite Marilyn--I know, crazy.

I want my grown children to be financially independent.

Betina Krahn said...

Amy, a week away with girlfriends sounds really cool. I guess I've always sort of considered RWA national to be sort of that. Except for those pesky workshops and luncheons and all the industry stuff.


So I guess it's not quite a getaway after all. But it's usually as close to one as I'll come.

flip said...

You have your photographs in Albums!!!! You have me beat in the organization sweepstakes. (not that I am any challenge.) I want laser treatment to fresh my skin, maybe minimize those stretch marks from pregnancy.

lois greiman said...

Fun post. I love you, Betina, and all your sentiments...even if there are no nude guys. :)

I am, however, with Amy on the bra situation. She and I could probably both fit into a normal size one. If I ever spend more than $15 on a bra shoot me. But...the painting idea...how great. Then you'd have your kids around...and no money would be spent. Wonderful idea.

And yes, they should pay us back for those stretch marks. Seriously.

Funny though, I generally think I don't want anything, then I walk into a store and bam! There are a hundred things I'm lusting after. Until the economy straightens up I'm going to have to stay home.

PJ said...

Great list, Betina! I especially like the self-cleaning veggie crisper and the picture albums. I'd love to have both of those. I not only have all the photos I've taken since I was about 12 but also inherited all the photos taken by my parents. Waking up Christmas morning to find them all nicely arranged in albums would be the best!

Christie Ridgway said...

Hmm...what would I really like?

Oh, yeah on the picture albums. That's a great one to wish for.

I have to make my Christmas wish go back in time so that I would have taken more pictures. We keep telling ourselves to get the camera out and fully intend to and then...forget.

Betina Krahn said...

As for pictures. . . my mother used to annoy the soup and stuffin's out of us at every family gathering, marshalling and directing people into pictures. With her Polaroid camera. But now that she's gone we have those photos and I have to chuckle at a lot of them. They're precious.

Which comforts me when I realized that I have turned into my mom in this area. . . I'm the mad picture snapper. I have way too many shots both traditional film and digital. I'm hoping my family will understand someday. Until them, I'm content to just irritate the snot out of them. :)

Christie Ridgway said...


They will be so grateful someday, I promise!

Anonymous said...

a nice shiny car with a big bow arounda man

a getway to somewhere warm

Laura said...

I want a job proofreading romance novels. Can anyone help me out? Anyone?

Betina Krahn said...

Laura, I think you'd have to move to New York or Toronto and probably start in the mail room. . . maybe grovel a lot. . . definitely put in your time. But hey, in my world, anything's possible! Go for it!