Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mary Christmas

As I mentioned in previous posts, today is MLB’s birthday. Yes, that’s right. Christmas Eve.

“That sucks!”

“What a gyp?!”

Those are usually the kind of responses MLB gets when she tells people when her birthday is.

Most people reason that when your birthday is on the eve of the biggest gift-giving day of the year, odds are people will just give you a COMBO gift – “It’s a Birthday/Christmas present.” So when everyone else collects two gifts for the two occasions, the birthday girl only gets one.

That might be the case in some families, but not in MLB’s. They’ve always been very strict about NOT combining the two holidays. In fact, the 24th is EXCLUSIVELY MLB’s birthday until evening when they go to Christmas Eve mass. Cards and presents are given, Happy Birthday is sung, cake is eaten. It’s just like her birthday is on some random day.

But what I’ve come to learn over time is that MLB IS Christmas Eve. She so takes the season and the holiday to heart that I jokingly call her “Mary Christmas” this time of year. From ornaments, to wrap, to cards, to trees, to baking. This holiday is so much a part of who she is, I’d swear she was a long lost elf if not for the fact that she’s 5 foot 9.

While she may not have a little North Pole workshop for making gifts, she does have an extraordinary knack for finding the perfect gift for each person.

Some people sweat this time of year mercilessly. What do I get for my mother? What do I get for the kids? What do I get for the person who has everything? It’s torture for them. They dread it.

Not so for MLB. She’s so incredibly gifted (pun intended) at gift-giving, I keep telling her that she should write a book on the subject. I’ve seen “gift suggestion” books in the Barnes & Noble but none of them offer the creativity that comes so naturally to MLB.

Here’s just an example: I’m a huge movie buff. One year for Hanukah, MLB got me eight t-shirts from different film festivals around the world. She planned this for a year, calling each festival around the time it occurred and ordering over the phone. Sundance, Berlin, Hamptons, Nantucket. To get the Cannes Film Festival shirt, she tracked down by phone some guy in a tent on a beach in France. Only problem, he didn’t take credit cards. After explaining this project she was working on for me, she convinced this guy to ship her the t-shirt from France with an invoice and she would (and did) later send him payment.

She knows better than anyone the pleasure of catching someone by surprise with a gift. It’s exactly what they wanted even though they didn’t consciously know they wanted it. If there isn’t a little Santa’s magic at work there, I don’t know what it is.

In any case, because MLB is this way, we all try just a little harder to come up with something special for her when this time of year rolls around.

Happy Birthday, MLB. Hope you liked your birthday present AND what Santa leaves for you by the tree.

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