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Christmas Through the Ages

            We’re about to go over to the “mainland” for our Christmas shopping trip. Along with wrapping paper, tape, and double A batteries, we’ll be looking for great deals on toilet paper and Scrubbing Bubbles. This is what we’ve come to.
            Periodic trips off island to eat Big Macs and buy Tide. And the excitement that comes from this whole thing is akin to earlier feelings about a ZZ Top concert or a book signing someplace. It’s pretty darn thrilling.
            We have to call the Steamship Authority to make a reservation to take the car over to Cape Cod. This comes to $80 for me, Chris, Dan, and the car. This is why we don’t leave very often. If we did the same thing in the middle of high summer it would be close to $200. And people wonder why I’ve taken up crocheting.
            So this is what will happen:
            We’ll get up at the butt crack of dawn to make a 7 a.m. ferry on a Sunday. We’ll leave early for the boat because I will need a coffee from the Black Dog before we get underway. Dan will have no part of going up to the top deck to watch the trip across Vineyard Sound. He’ll prefer to sit in the back seat and guzzle his Black Dog coffee. Chris — come hell or high water — will watch most of this trip from the outside top deck. His lips might turn blue but he’s no quitter. And going on four years now, that view is always amazing no matter if it’s our first trip across or our most recent.
            Then we’ll disembark and make our way to Falmouth and then we’ll probably head to Hyannis first, the big city of Cape Cod. The mall is there and the Bath and Body Works. I stock up on foamy soap there once a year. And I’ve been instructed that Cate needs white tea and ginger everything. Danny loves to open all the containers in the store and take a big sniff.
            I might want to look at Old Navy next. I just like that I can get good sweats for Dan there because he only ever wears plaid shorts and dark sweats from Old Navy. He doesn’t have a lot of options in the closet and it is winter and he’s down to two pairs of sweats that he’ll even consider wearing. And sometimes I like to buy Chris one of their fleece pullovers. And, okay, I look in the men’s department for roomy sweaters for myself.
            By this time we’ve either noticed the Fanny Farmer chocolate store or maybe the Dunkin’ Donuts at the food court. There will be a stop for something by this point.
            I’ll persevere through American Eagle only because Cate swears that it’s the only place that sells jeans that fit her. We’ll browse through the store and I will come up empty handed because my idea of Cate’s taste is completely jaded by my assumptions of what she should wear. I want her to wear jewel tones, put her hair up, and wear a flouncy skirt. She wants to wear skinny jeans with a black shirt and spiked boots. Chris however knows this and always picks the Christmas present Cate likes the most. I should just leave him in the store and move on.
            I know exactly what to get for James. I know the form-fitting sweater in just the right color. I know the slim fit jeans in the right size and shade of blue. I know his underwear size. I know what books he likes. And I know he’s grateful for anything he gets, which I appreciate. With Cate it’s harder because she’s very in tune with trends and what looks best on her. I tried to share a couple of pairs of my black shoes with her just tonight when she was getting ready for a Christmas party. Result was that they were both “square toed.” Apparently no one has worn square-toed shoes since 1996. She didn’t take me up on the offer, and I have to admit she left the house looking like a million bucks. Maybe I should really consider a whole day where she just makes me over. It would never last though. I’d like the day but in the end, I’ll put on Chris’ flannel shirt and some sweatpants.

            It’s a lot easier to be Santa when your kids are young. Surprise and delight everywhere. As they get older it’s harder to surprise them or bring a smile to their face. But then again, when you do, it’s even more rewarding.


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