When my mom started her Christmas shopping–which was probably, like, in August–she said that instead of gifts, she was just gonna give me and my brother money, since we both have a ton of stuff and don’t really need anymore. True enough. But I said, “What about gifts that help get rid of stuff?” And I asked for a small shredder to shred things like old bills and junk mail.

And one day when I mentioned I was gonna try to buy myself a mini washing machine to do small loads of laundry for free in my apartment, she added that to her list.

Basically, I knew what the two big boxes in my mom’s living room on Christmas morning were.

Adult gifts are awesome. I think I’ve said this every year the past couple years now, but when I was little and my older cousins got useful gifts, I thought, “Man, that must suck. Those gifts are boring!” But now I love it. And I think I appreciate it more. It’s something I don’t have to spend money on, or something that makes my life easier. That’s exciting.

Of course, part of the fun is Duke seeing his doggie presents. Every year, my mom gets him a stuffed dog from Petsmart, but this year, she went above and beyond and got him this huge stuffed dog–it’s actually bigger than he is. So I was anxious to see how he’d react to it. I predicted that he’d try to pick it up and play with it like a toy, and I was right. But later in the day, it had become a snuggle buddy.

I also did some laundry. Because it’s free at my parents’ house.

And turns out I somehow forgot to pack a change of clothes for the next day, I suspect because of the chaos of Christmas Eve. I’d intended to change into a dress at my parents’, but when we ended up not leaving as early as I wanted, I had to rummage through my packed bag and change at home. And somewhere in that process, I must’ve taken out the second dress I’d packed to wear Christmas Day, and I didn’t realize this until the first dress was already in the washing machine. Otherwise, I could’ve kept it out and reworn it, but then I had to wait for it to wash. And then dry. And in the meantime, my mom tried to find me alternatives from her wardrobe, but it was all either old ’90s clothes I really didn’t like or stuff that wouldn’t fit.

But at some point, we managed to make it to Paul’s parents’ house and hung out there for a bit and exchanged gifts. Julie got us wine and a Cheesecake Factory gift card, Emily got us travel mugs, and Josh got us a wok, which I was pretty excited about. His mom got us a mini, apartment-friendly ironing board, which was also very exciting, even though she apparently doesn’t like to give useful items as gifts. Which is funny, considering my childhood opinion of them.

We distributed gifts, too, and the biggest hits were Emily’s Lush gift set, in part because she apparently has a lot of sensitivity issues with most beauty products. And then Julianne’s boyfriend devoured his jerky–he ate the entire box in one sitting, which I think was about a pound of jerky.

We mostly hung out all day and ate and had a good time.

It was a nice Christmas.

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