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Number 2


Observation 4. 18
November 30, 2004
'Tis the season.....for crowded malls, long checkout lines, rude people 
maneuvering shopping carts. How about trying to untangle those stupid 
lights, and picking all of the needles up from that tree that "wasn't 
supposed to shed that much," or so that ass-hole salesperson said. Don't 
forget about running out of tape while wrapping presents, or worse yet, 
ripping the present that you just wrapped.  Yes sir, how can one not be 
in the spirit?  
But seriously, Christmas is my favorite holiday (I think I said that 
about Halloween).  Outside of shopping in crowded stores, I love 
everything else about it - putting up the decorations, picking out the tree and 
placing ornaments and lights on it, visiting family, and, of course, 
opening presents (I don't like talking about the after-Christmas stuff - 
taking down the tree and decorations, etc.).  
Of course, picking out presents can be a difficult thing, especially 
for parents.  We used to have a set-up at Glenolden Elementary School 
called Santa's Workshop.  This was set up so that students could find 
something inexpensive to purchase for their parents.  Remember this place?  
You could find neat refrigerator magnets that were shaped like clams 
and had those "rolling" eyes - I think those were 50 cents (Davers bought 
this for his mom one Christmas), or the screwdriver set in which all of 
the screwdrivers were the same except the handles were different colors 
(I thought that was the best gift my dad could possibly get....I was 8 
at the time).  There were other "special" gifts there too, but I can't 
remember them at the moment.  
Don't you wish this was (a) still acceptable, and (b) still available 
to us?  I wish I could take an hour off of work and go to the Santa's 
Workshop downstairs in the lobby in order to purchase cheap presents that 
my parents thought were adorable.  It may have helped me back in the 
day when I made the blunder of buying my mom a wok for Christmas. This 
was the first Christmas that she took me aside and told me how crappy of 
a gift it was (come to think of it, it was a crappy gift. Why would my 
mom, an old-school German cook, want a wok?).  I don't think it was as 
bad as the salad shooter my dad got her one year. Anyway, I ended up 
taking this gift to college a few years later, unopened (at least she 
didn't throw it away). 
Buying for my parents is so tough now.  They have everything they want, 
and they don't want anything they don't have.  I've bought my mom 
clothes that she gives to Goodwill still in the package.  My dad's leather 
jacket has seen about as much light the last few years as the Afghani 
prisoner's at Abu Grab.  Plus, they get pissed at me when I get them gift 
certificates at a place like Sears, because I didn't put enough thought 
into what to get them.  And, when I ask them what they want, I get 
answers like "an iron," or "a hammer."  These are the things I should've 
put more thought into?
This year, I have it easy, though, because I am getting some wedding 
pictures duplicated (and blown up) for mom and dad, AND I got them a gift 
certificate at Ludwig's - a fine German restaurant/bar in Center City 
Philadelphia.  My guess is they won't use that unless Sue and I go with 
them.....and then, they'll still end up paying money on that, because 
they still won't allow me to pay at a restaurant.  Happy Holidays!

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