The Saturday Night Live skit proliferated through my social media feeds like candidate ads during Iowa’s political season.
By now you’ve likely seen it yourself. I’m talking about Kristen Wiig in a SNL skit as her comedy family unwraps presents on Christmas morning.
In the skit, Kristen proudly sashays among her family after opening a new robe, then progressively loses a little of her joy as she notes the disproportionality on display in her living room that morning. As her family rejoiced again and again about the thoughtful gifts they received, Kristen defeatedly acquiesces from “I got a robe!!” to “I got a robe.”
These four words captured the singularity of her gift.
The lack of consideration by her family resonated around my social circle.
That skit was shared, posted, retweeted, and favorited by so many of my mom friends on their social media accounts. In jest, my friends celebrated their default role as the family gift coordinator and lamented their own empty stockings that are hung on the fireplace mantle.
And that was when I decided that Kristen Wiig’s fun skit was going to revolutionize my Christmas experience.
I love giving gifts, and at that moment I recognized that Christmas 2020 was going to be a turning point for our little family.
My boys are eight and ten years old, and old enough to know a little about budgeting money and how to be considerate of others. It was time they learned about the joy in giving.
And I was ready to be the bull mom who took them to the china shop to buy gifts.
With little planning, I jettisoned each kid to a place where he could do no wrong. I positioned myself in Target’s magazine section, strategically near the women’s sweaters, sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, and handbags. My son was given a budget, and I turned my back as he shopped just a few feet away.
With a little coaching from across the crowded store (hearing “Hey, mom? What size do you wear?” shouted across the store prompted more than a few chuckles), he added his carefully (and quickly) selected gifts into our shopping cart. We went to the self-checkout where he scanned his purchases while I averted my eyes. Then I paid for the items.
(In full disclosure, this year we were focused mostly on giving. We’ll work on being more predictable with his spending next year, as I learned when I saw the total.)
Later, their dad helped the kids wrap their gifts while I sipped a merlot in the other room and read a book.
It. Was. Perfect.
My boys delighted me Christmas morning. I really do like the sweater and necklace my older son got me and I will actually wear both. (And I look forward to an appropriately ostentatious occasion to wear the blinged-out earrings he selected for me, too.) Even better, he was so pleased with himself as I opened those gifts. His smile that morning reflected everything I wanted him to feel about gift-giving and warmed me like RumChata in my coffee on a cold morning of football tailgating.
But the biggest surprise of the morning came from my younger son. He handed me a small gift that wasn’t among the items he picked up on our mad-dash shopping run. I opened a dog eared, worn, and loved copy of a paperback book. Unbeknownst to his dad or me, he snagged this novel from our neighborhood’s Little Free Library and wrapped it for me under our tree this year. He recognized the author’s name from a book his teacher had read at school and ‘thought it was something I would like.’
(I know. I needed a minute, too.)
And this is how Kristen Wiig and her robe redeemed my 2020. After a year of turmoil, I really didn’t care what I received for Christmas. It wasn’t about getting a robe or anything else in particular, I just wanted to have them feel the joy of giving.
And in turn, my kids showed me that with a little opportunity, access to my Target RedCard, and a book from a free library, they could make it happen.
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