It's funny how Christmas changes as you get older. Below a certain age, it was all about getting stuff, because I was too young to be able to actually give anything to anyone else, apart from maybe a scribbled card for Mom or a cool bug I found to annoy my sister. Clothes were the last thing I wanted to see when I tore open the wrapping paper, and I could always tell which gifts were clothes because they were in squishy boxes and usually came from Grandma. If it didn't need batteries, and if it wasn't a Lego set or a book with laser guns and spaceships in it somewhere, I wasn't terribly excited about it.
Then, at some point, that all changed. I started giving gifts to other people and, for some reason, expecting less for myself. I began to look forward to the clothes, because the only clothes I'm capable of buying for myself are pants and t-shirts, and if not for the Christmas clothes from Mom and Grandma, I'd never have anything nice to wear. Gadgets and Legos and books about spaceships are still cool, but the gifts that mean something are even better.
This year, Mom drove all the way to Seattle to buy me a couch from Ikea, and then she rounded up the family on Christmas Eve and drove the thing over to my apartment where she and Torben assembled it for me, because she knew it was the sort of thing I'd never get around to doing myself. I had been stressing over the need to save up for a couch. Now I have one less thing to worry about. Plus I have a comfy place to sit and watch movies, and it folds down into a bed that's approximately five billion times more comfortable than my old lumpy mattress.
Many months ago, Felicity and I came up with a silly plot for a short film. I've been trying to get a short film project started for years, but I can never seem to get a finished idea onto paper, no matter how simple the idea is. I'm just never satisfied. For Christmas, she gave me a finished screenplay based on the idea we'd hatched. I almost cried when I saw it. It's exactly the thing I've been looking for. It's simple enough to shoot on a shoestring budget and it's entertaining enough that it won't just be an exercise in self-indulgence. I'm excited.
Those aren't the only gifts I got, of course. Mom and Grandma did a wonderful job in the clothes department. My DVD collection was bolstered by over 18 hours of classic Charlie Chaplin films, Shaun of the Dead, and not one but two Buffy Season 7 boxed sets. And for my birthday last week (which inevitably ends up getting lumped together with Christmas in my head), Mom and Jeff even got me a couple of those blue LED floodlights I wanted.
I never feel like I've thanked people enough at Christmas, so this is my attempt to thank everyone, even if all you gave me was a smile and a "Merry Christmas". When I was a kid, Christmas was a success if I got a lot of nifty toys and gadgets. Now, Christmas is a success if I feel loved and cared for. I'd say this Christmas was a resounding success. Thanks everyone.