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Bribes of the Magi

Posted on Monday, 21st November 2011 @ 04:51 AM by Text Size A | A | A

We use to have to wait for Thanksgiving to be over for at least twenty seconds for the Christmas commercials to hit with full force. It seems, according to these commercials, I should get the woman in my life a diamond something-or-another while she gets me a power tool. That certainly makes sense…in the bizarro universe!

I suppose I could use a Black & Decker drill to find some diamonds as long as I dodge tribal warlords while I trek through the jungle, trying to find some deep cave to explore for blood diamonds.

How did we get to the point where the birth of Jesus is celebrated with debt and repeats of stories of glowing-nosed reindeer and Hallmark specials entitled, “How Billy Bought A Special Present And Saved Christmas For His Girlfriend?”

It’s no surprise that most, if not all Americans are in debt up to our shiny, silver balls and, as men, we tend to think with our “Yule Log.” How can emotion and caring compare to commercials of “show her how you REALLY feel this holiday with our 300 carat diamond bracelet?”

When did mistletoe start having a financial fee attached? The figgy pudding has gotten so deep you need Christmas Angel wings to stay above it!

As kids, we were taught that a handmade gift spoke from the heart. What a bunch of “dashing-through-the-snow!” My ex wife melted at her holiday gifts as if she had forgotten the withheld sex until I promised to get her exactly what she demanded would give her a happy holiday. The rest of the year she was quite “frosty” anyway.

One of my favorite yuletide stories was a friend who struggled to buy his girlfriend exactly what she wanted for Christmas. He didn’t have to dig for the answer as to what she wanted because she made a point, literally pointing at the TV screen and magazine photos of the item she craved.

She squealed with delight as she opened her present. What a surprise! She excused herself to get his present and reappeared in the living room naked, with a red bow on her head.

“Regifted?” I asked him, knowing of her boyfriend hopping, which usually took place right after New Year’s Eve – about twenty seconds after midnight, to be exact.

He smiled, shrugged and said, “what can you do?”

I laid out several responses:

“Can I exchange it for a different size or color?”

“I wanted the big-boob model!”

“I have to return it. It has a crack in it!”

“I got the same thing for my birthday!”

“Your sister gave me a similar gift the other day!”

“If this means you’ll do whatever I want, let me go find three stray dogs, a loaf of rye bread, five Twinkies, a roll of Scotch tape and seventeen gallons of Coco Lopez!”

Naturally, we both knew he had no choice. As the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve, he was replaced, leaving him alone with memories and debt. Do we ever learn?

Honestly, it’s not that bad and I am being too bitter. Women complain that we don’t know how to buy presents and they are right. This is why we need to be reminded by these commercials. You won’t see ads hawking split-crotch panties as the perfect present for her. Certainly not in the pages of The New Yorker. Men buy their share of waffle makers for wives and girlfriends, so maybe we deserve what has evolved in present giving? As much as we may deny it, we LOVE new power tools and getting one as a gift is just what we want.

What if women got us diamond necklaces for Christmas? Would you wear it to the office? Would you show it to friends to make them jealous that your wife spent a lot of money on you? The typical conversation between men includes, “blah-blah power tool blah-blah build new barn this spring blah-blah torque blah-blah interchangeable blah-blah…

So if a diamond makes her happy and a little more debt is heaped upon you, then what does it matter in the long run? As a friend use to say about his wife, “I take the shortest route between where we are now and her shutting up!” Surprisingly, they are divorced now.

So whom do we blame for the commercialism of Christmas? Apparently Jesus wasn’t even born on the 25th of December. Most Christian scholars believe evidence points to Jesus being born in the spring, but perhaps early leaders thought it was too close to Easter?

I don’t think we can ever return to the simple notion that the birth of the savior, who died for our sins, should be celebrated with prayer and reverence. That presents of the three magi were offerings and not bribes or a contest among the three.

“Ha! Myrrh? Oh, that’s a good present!” You know the one who brought gold snickered when the other two presented the myrrh and frankincense. So maybe it has always been that way? Maybe it wasn’t Madison Avenue that turned the most holy holiday of Christianity into a free-for-all credit crunch? The wise men were all men, and Mary never asked for a thing.

Makes you think… while you’re waiting in line at the diamond store.

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