“The Force is strong with this one.”
–Darth Vader to himself, in Star Wars IV: A New Hope
I’ve always enjoyed Xmas (I know. Duh, who doesn’t – except you grinches out there.). Every year my wife and I debate about how best to setup the tree with the gifts: leave the gifts under the tree until Xmas, placing them there little by little over the course of the days leading up to Xmas, or leave it empty until the morning of Xmas day? I like the latter approach. I get a kick out of playing Santa, placing the gifts under the tree the night before while my kids are sleeping (and I like the cookies too :)). My brother preferred it that way too.
I’m pretty sure my brother really enjoyed Xmas. A few years back we hosted a Xmas eve family party in my house. My wife’s family always celebrates Xmas by exchanging and opening gifts on Xmas at midnight. There was a bunch of young children in the house and my wife’s cousin brought over a Santa suit. Someone would have to wear it and make a grand entrance down the steps. Being the host, the honor fell to me. But I got out of it because the suit was too small on me. So someone else volunteered and just around midnight, Santa came down the steps bellowing a very merry ‘HO HO HO!’. One by one, the kiddies lined-up to sit on Santa’s lap and take pics with him. They were very excited. I took some pics with Santa too. I looked for my brother but he was conspicuously missing.
One thing about my brother is he had a real knack for gift-giving. I never told anyone, but I was always almost envious watching everyone open up their gifts and seeing what he had gotten for them. Nine times out of ten, somehow he knew what you wanted or it would be appropriate, given your interests. I like giving gifts too but, well, I’m lazy. I hate shopping. Period. I can’t stand waiting in lines. And, I know, I can avoid them by just shopping online these days. But, like I said, I’m lazy. So I like to get folks gift cards.
How’d he know what to get? Very easy: he listened. Something so simple yet something that can be hard to practice. Last Xmas, I stole a page out of his playbook. I made it a point to listen, and buying gifts for my family was a bit easier. No gift cards (ok, fewer gift cards :)). You were getting gifts, and you were gonna like them!
I’ll admit, getting gifts for my brother was always easy. He had so many interests it was a no miss. So, what would it be this year? Easy. Running was a passion of his, and he had told me previously he bought some ‘running tights’ to go jogging. I cracked-up about it when he told me. I had an image of him running around in some girly tights and ribbed him about it and called him fruity (not that there’s anything wrong with that.). I had remembered that conversation and bought him a pair for Xmas (I mean, hey, men need an extra pair of tights too, right? Lol.). And I got him a few other things too, along with an official Star Wars Jedi Knight bathrobe (you can never go wrong with Star Wars ;)).
What’d I get from my brother last year? Cool exercise equipment (The Rack). It was just like him to have been listening. We both had been doing more calisthenics recently and this would help me diversify my exercises. Also, more importantly, it would give us a chance to workout together more frequently like we used to.