It’s Holiday Time, Practically

by Rhonda Linseman-Saunders

In my holiday stocking, I hope to get Osteo Bi- Flex tablets. Hey, that’s a treat—name brand pills cost twice as much as generic glucosamine/chondtroitin supplements. I’m only 35 and my knees sound crunchy when I bend my legs. There’s just no other way to describe it. And I hope the pills fix it because I want to start tap dancing again. Or maybe the tap dancing, itself, will fix my crunchy knees.

I’d also like some Tums in my stocking. The smoothie kind, cocoa & creme. I’d like a reusable purse-size antacid container in my stocking and a big tub of refills wrapped under the tree.

Also under the tree, I’d be thrilled to find a bag of coffee. Oh, and a twelve-pack of paper towels. I go through paper towels like, well, like the mother in a household of seven.

I can be a little too practical. This becomes more apparent to me around the holidays when I get the bad kind of anxious about gifts—both giving and getting. It’s not that I don’t appreciate people who are kind enough to put me on their shopping lists; it’s that I hate the idea of people wasting money on crap I won’t use and don’t have room for.

It’s the thought that counts. I get that. But it’s not the thought that’s crappy; it’s the wasteful crap that’s crappy. If they’re not going to get me something I can use and if they flatly refuse to scratch me off the list, I’d rather gift-givers donate to the Holiday Diaper Drive or give ten bucks to the American Cancer Society, or to a local teacher’s classroom fund, and tell me about it. The thought will thrill me.

Speaking of teachers, they are maxed out on trinkets, too. When I taught, I especially appreciated sincere notes, or $5 gift certificates for places like our island Kmart, where I’d use them for classroom stuff anyway. Oh, and wine. I got a bottle of wine from a student, once. That was perfectly uncrappy.

I have only a couple trinket exceptions. Trinkets from my own kids are one of them. These are precious, and painfully hard to come by as children move on to the Land of Me, populated by teenagers focused on gettin’ theirs and little else. It’s normal, I know. But that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking when it happens to your own. It makes me cherish things like the cinnamon scented ornament on the tree, painstakingly shaped and hand-painted by my teenage first born when he was in second grade.

When I unpack that ornament every year, I take a big whiff and get a vision of him in his puffy little snowsuit (two sizes too big— it’s only practical to get more than one winter out of a suit), his blond mop of hair pushed back by faux fur earmuffs, gloves crusted with frozen snot, making his way to the snow fort he’d been working on with the neighbor kid on a snow day.

I guess those holiday whiffing memories will be a little different for my final, southernmost baby. But every bit as precious.

Another trinket exception I have is the gaudy glass crucifix I got from my grandmother the year before she died. Nobody will ever be more practical than she was— that’s why I rest easy knowing she got a steal on it, probably at Family Dollar. I don’t quite know what to do with the crucifix, but I know I want it around. It must confuse guests who know damned well I don’t practice a religion. But it represents something I do practice—remembering where I came from.

Rhonda is an Associate Editor & weekly columnist for Key West The Newspaper

You can read more of Rhonda’s awesome writing here

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