Ryan and I gave Ryan's grandfather the best Christmas present ever. If I was a touchy-feely person in touch with my emotional and spiritual side, the present would have been a photo of the family with angels photoshopped into the sky, looking down on the grandfather's progeny. Or maybe it would have been a video of all the various family members, near and far, telling his grandpa how much he has meant to the family.
But I'm not that kind of person, as much as I would like to be. No, the best Christmas present ever was, in fact, a Snuggie.
Ryan's grandpa is 91. He has decided to eat nothing but ice cream, since that's the only thing he thinks he can digest. (Don't ask him about digestion issues. He has no problem sharing extremely graphic details, which I have yet to be able to block from my mind.) Because of the ice cream diet, and because he's a frail old man, he's cold all the time. Ryan saw this Snuggie emblazoned with the BYU Cougars logo all over it (in the most tasteful manner the Snuggie people could come up with, I'm sure) and he knew that this would be a winner. It was going to be such a winner, however, that chances were good that other family members would also get him a Snuggie. We couldn't let that happen, so we came for Christmas Eve, thereby beating the rush of Snuggie-bearing relatives. Christmas is all about winning, right?
When Grandpa opened the wrapping paper (which had to be peeled off ever-so-carefully, so it could be saved for later) he knew exactly what it was he was looking at. He's homebound, so he watches a lot of tv. He had me open the box right away and Ryan helped him put it on. Grandpa couldn't stop exclaiming about how great it was - he could stay warm and still use the remote! Still eat his ice cream! He was thrilled, thrilled I tell you. I've never seen anyone get this excited about a present before - and it was sustained excitement, not the flash-in-the-pan excitement I can sometimes generate from my kids. He couldn't stop touching it, telling us how soft it was and warm, too. And with his favorite sports team! How could anything possibly be better than a BYU Snuggie?!
This felt like a moment of gift-giving triumph. Gifts are so hit and miss, especially for someone like Ryan's grandpa, who really doesn't need much in the way of material things. If you've been with me for a while, you're familiar with my blog entry about Joy Units - Ryan's grandpa was so happy that this Snuggie might be the King of all Joy Units. I guarantee that he'll use it every single, solitary day. He told us that he can't wait to tell his son Glen about the Snuggie. And since Grandpa is at that stage in life where everything he says, he repeats about eighteen times (which is why you REALLY don't want him talking about his digestive issues) he'll be sure to tell everyone he talks to just how much he loves the Snuggie. I know it's incredibly selfish to make this about me, but doesn't it feel good to find the exact right gift for someone? I'll tell you - it does. I didn't even pick it out - Ryan gets the credit for that. But making this old man, who has (by his own admission) very little to live for, extremely happy for some small new comfort in his life - it makes me happy.
This Joy Unit win might just carry me for the rest of Christmas. The kids asked for, and are getting, very reasonable items this year. The boys are all getting scooters - fancy ones for the older two. Zack's getting more Legos than any 5 year old could possibly need. Darcey's getting a princess castle dollhouse with an assortment of princesses to go with it. The big surprise is that we are also getting the family a Wii. They aren't expecting it, so I'm hoping to score some major Joy Units from it. It could completely backfire, though - what if they didn't ask for a Wii this year because they really don't want one? They're just fine playing Wii at their friends' houses, and would rather we spent the money on books and maybe some modest gifts for a poor family.
Oh, who am I kidding? The kids are going to love it. If nothing else, I will love it - I bought Super Mario Brothers so I could relive my childhood. I'm hoping that this will be something fun we can do together as a family. Ryan's convinced that it is going to increase the amount of fighting, but I say we already have 100% fighting - how can we increase it? Is there a way to fight more than all the time? I figure they'll just shift their fighting from the computer or the tv and transfer it to the Wii. My prediction is that this will be a fighting-neutral proposal. Less fighting in one area, more fighting in another - it's the way the world stays in balance, the yin and yang of the sibling battleground. It's why I sing "With peace on Earth, goodwill to men" with such fervor every year - I'd like to change it to "With peace in our house, goodwill to brothers" but that doesn't fit quite right.
Anyhow, it remains to be seen the ultimate outcome of buying the Wii. Ryan thinks it might be the most expensive I-told-you-so of all time, and I'm hoping that the Wii will be more positive than negative. If it turns into a huge debacle, that's okay too - it'll give me more to talk about, now that the swingset is gone. But I don't think it will.
Here's wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, with peace in your home and goodwill to siblings. And lots and lots of Snuggies.