Hi, Uncle Randy, my father sends me really shit gifts every Christmas – from out-of-tune music boxes to weird, odd-fitting clothes. This year, I want to get ahead of the game and send him something truly terrible in return. Is this a good idea? What do you suggest? Kind regards, Eve.
Alas, you are not alone. The night before every Christmas, Santa crams his dashing sleigh with a monstrous pile of shit, invades the homes of millions, and drops a great steaming dump under your tree, into your stocking. Partly this is due to the commercially administered need to bolster the economy each year and clutter each other’s lives with superfluous toss for the sake of satisfying cheap novelties. All too often does the considered art of gift giving degenerate into a frenetic search through brimming aisles and ubiquitous web pages for something, dear god anything, to wrap hastily and present to someone you don’t even really like, simply because work is doing Secret Santa again this year. Such surplus spending results in inane, bizarre, needless gifts being graciously forced upon the unsuspecting many.
However, for you the conduit between giver and receiver is further perplexed by the naivety of the generational gap – an unbridgeable gulf between the young and the old, a murky realm in constant lack of same-page understanding. Take the phenomenon of bad dad dancing as analogy. Long ago, somewhen after the war but before broadband, Dad’s dancing was not the shameful flailing of limbs that it is today. On the contrary, it was the grooviest jam the discotech boogiefloors had ever seen! Dad was cutting rugs on the regular, throwing hip, new, panty-dropping shapes night after night after night. But gradually Dad stopped being young and at the forefront of self-expression, and he became old and dated and weird. No longer may his honest expressions of cultural value roam unchecked and unchallenged on the nightclub dancefloors, nor in the presents under the tree.
Any attempt by you to out-weird your father will be totally lost to the sincerity of his ignorance. And please don’t contribute to the growing trash heap of disposable commodities. Dig deep and give a gift which you genuinely feel deserves to be; earnest and true. Pour your heart and soul into the most meaningful present you can muster – thoughtful and creative – make it a little piece of you. Chances are it will be received with equal bewilderment and disappointment. Merry Christmas.