Another Wade-style Christmas is in the books. Brace yourselves. I admit I have a screw or two loose. There’s something about Christmas that brings out the prankster in my brothers and me.
To a kid, Christmas is a time of wonderment and presents they’ve been wanting for a long time. My friend Nedra Polk posted a picture of her son Omari on Facebook that perfectly captures the wonder of a child on Christmas morn. There he is, holding his Christmas presents with his eyes sparkling and a smile so big it’s bursting off his face.
In my family, opening a gift is sometimes met with a feeling of dread. In Christmases past, we’ve seen half-eaten hamburgers, Monkey breath, various Barbies, chocolate cakes, love letters from pets and cat poo given as gifts. We’ve also seen a fair amount of regifting.
I once achieved the regifting record by surreptitiously opening a gift my sister-in-law Patty gave me and wrapping it in a new box and secretly giving it back to her minutes later. At first she thought we’d given each other the same gift. She didn’t realize I’d literally given her her own gift back.
So what to do? I actually came up with the main idea for this Christmas shortly after last Christmas. When I spotted it online, it looked so ridiculous and over the top that I knew I had to have it. Cathi, my significantly better half, who is burdened by things like decorum and taste, thought it was a horrible idea. That’s because she was never a seventh-grade boy.
I knew that my brother Orvis had to be the recipient of the gift because it was a natural fit for him. I bought it and it sat in my bottom drawer for almost a year. On Christmas Eve, I pulled it out of the box and “assembled” it. Once it was assembled it was probably two feet long and a foot-and-a-half high. Wrapping it would be hard because it was an odd shape. The box would have to be very large.
I found such a box and when we carried it into Tony’s house on Christmas, all eyes were upon it. It was the largest box in the room yet was suspiciously light. There was also no name tag on it.
We joined hands in prayer and had a wonderful dinner of turkey, stuffing, ham, macaroni and cheese and collard greens. While I, of course, ate like someone who exemplified Miss Manners’ dining rules, my family’s appalling assault on the spread looked like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July.
After dinner, as we start opening gifts, I saw that I was receiving what just might be the worst gifts ever. An inflatable emergency brain, a huge snow globe warning of Y2K and adult diapers. Meanwhile, I gifted Patty with a collectible kitchen magnet that she scoffed at. And I gave Beth a beautiful brand new flag that she casually dismissed. What gives?
OK, so it was an old Aunt Jemima magnet with her saying, “My secret recipe dat makes dese de world’s most famous pancakes is already mixed in every box!” And maybe the flag I gave Beth was a Confederate battle flag. The look on Tony’s face was priceless!
After all of the gifts were opened, I told Orvis that the big box in the corner was his.
He opened it with much anticipation and pulled out . . . the Love Ewe Inflatable Party Sheep. Google it. There was riotous laughter, Cathi’s embarrassment for even knowing me and questions about where it came from, probably coupled with Tony and Beth regretting having me over.
That’s how we do it. We had a great time and I hope you and your family did too. (And Orvis took the Love Ewe home. Something tells me I might see it again.) Peace.
Kelvin Wade is a writer/author. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.