I am not a happy holiday shopper. My list is short and if it's not available on Amazon Smile, it's not happening.
My husband and I exchange the same thing every year... socks. Socks are stress free. Socks are one size fits all and you can never have too many.
Last year I used the excuse that I was going through chemo and bought NOTHING. Last year was not a good Christmas.
Two years ago, on Christmas Eve, I willingly drove down Greenwich Avenue—a quarter mile grid of upscale shops in the center of town—with the intention of buying ONE gift. It didn't matter what the gift was as long as the store was directly in front of an open parking space.
I was halfway down the avenue before I found a spot. It was in front of St. Mary's Parish. There, on the front lawn, beside a life-sized mangier, stood an elderly, elf-sized nun.
Convinced that this was a sign from above, I got out of my car and wished her a Merry Christmas.
"Want to see what I found?" she asked, "It's inside."
Refusing a nun on Christmas Eve seemed wrong, so into the rectory I went.
I was led to a dark corner of the kitchen, where a warped cardboard box housed a single kitten.
"Someone left three kittens on our doorstep," she told me.
"Where are the other two?" I asked.
"I can't remember," she confessed.
With two dogs and a cat at home, and condo rules that state only one pet per household, the last thing I needed was a kitten, but the odds of him surviving were grim if I left him behind.
I was halfway out the door, kitten cradled in my arms, when I remembered I was babysitting Mylo, my grandson's rambunctious rat terrier, who was anxiously waiting for me in the car.
Convinced the kitten was for his enjoyment, Mylo opened his mouth and lunged at the kitten the moment I opened the door.
The terrified kitten scurried out of my arms, up my chest, and onto my shoulder—imbedding his nails into the fur collar of my coat.
With my left arm on the wheel, my right hand on Mylo, and a kitten on my shoulder, I slowly worked my way down the avenue to my final stop before returning home—a seafood shop called The Lobster Bin.
My initial thought was to leave the kitten in the car and tie Mylo outside the store, but I couldn't get the kitten to release his grip so into the store we went.
The Lobster Bin was packed with frazzled shoppers. Immediately John, the owner, leaned over the counter and asked why I had a kitten on my shoulder. Everyone listened as told the story of the abandoned kitten.
"How much you want for him?" John asked.
"How about a donation to the church. You decide how much," I answered.
"Deal!" said John, "But I can't bring him home. My wife is allergic. He will have to live here."
"That's one lucky kitten," said a women to my left.
Overhearing this, John smiled wide and reached for his new kitten.
"Come to Papa, Lucky," said John.
The kitten, governed by his keen sense of smell, jumped off my shoulder and into John's arms.
My quest for a single gift turned out to be for me. I was given the gift of a story—the true story of how I flipped a kitten, in less than fifteen minutes, one magical Christmas Eve.
xo, Monkey Me