A Very Familiar Christmas Gift

This story originally appeared several years ago on my old Myspace blog.  I republish it here on Fortean Squirrel, both for the tie-in to Christmas, and because I’m too lazy to write anything new.  Enjoy!

Last Christmas, my brother had only three people to shop for: My mom, my dad, and myself.  So, you’d think that when I invited him to go shopping with me, he’d pick a few things out, right?   Wrong.  When December 25th rolled around and all gifts were unwrapped, my brother had spent a grand total of two dollars on three people.

That’s right.  I’ll say it again.  Two dollars on three people.  What did he buy, you ask?  I’ll tell you.   He bought my dad a key chain.  Begrudgingly, I might add.  He bought me nothing.  And he bought my mom nothing.  And yet, on that Christmas morning, my mom had a gift to open from my brother.  I’ll explain.

After we got back from the store, I told my mom not to expect anything from her youngest son because he was too cheap to pick anything out.  Like I said, the only gift he bought was a key chain for my dad.  And he was seriously angry that he had to even do that.  Now, the reason I was telling my mom in advance about all this was so that she wouldn’t get her heart broken when she realized my brother had not gotten her anything.

My mom doesn’t expect much.  He could have gotten her a key chain and she would have thought it was fine.  He could have gotten her a card.  Heck, he could have printed a card off of the internet.  I don’t think she would have minded a bit.  The thought was all she was looking for.  But, sadly, my little brother couldn’t even manage that.  So, my mother and I devised a plan.  What if she would give me something to give to my brother to give to her for Christmas?  It was a funny idea.  And we knew it would work.

So, here’s what we did.  My mom rummaged around through her closet and found an old candle that she had never used.  It was a dingy orange and purple and, truthfully, it didn’t smell all that good.  It didn’t look all that nice, either.  Which, of course, were probably the reasons she never used it.  But for whatever reason she had stowed it away in the back of her closet.  And now i was going to take this very candle and give it to my brother so that he could give my mom something for Christmas.  Would he be so cheap as to do this?  You bet he would be.

I knocked on his bedroom door and, when he answered, I showed him the candle.  “Here. I got this candle for free with an order I placed on Amazon.com,” I lied to him.   “If you want to, you can give it to mom for Christmas.”

“Ok.  Maybe I will,” he said.

And, oh, you better believe that he did.   Christmas came just a few days later and my mom had a gift from my brother under the tree.   I kept my eye on it the whole time waiting for her to open it so I could see what happened.  I would unwrap a gift of my own, then watch to see what my mom, dad, and brother thought of the gifts I got them.

Then, finally, my mom came to her gift from my brother.  Of course, she and I both knew exactly what it was.  It was that ugly, putrid candle I’d given to him to give to her.   She unwrapped it and pretended to be deeply touched by his act of generosity.  “Oh, sweetie! Where did you get this lovely candle?”

“Uhh, I think I got it from Meijer or something,” he lied.

“It’s just beautiful,” my mom told him.   “How much did this cost?”   She was really laying it on thick to see how much he’d fib.

“Hmm, probably like ten bucks or something,” he was matching her line for line.

“Thank you so much,” she said. “I’ll have to put this someplace special.”

“You’re welcome, mommy.”

It was gross.  I wanted to puke.  Or laugh.   I couldn’t decide which.  Here this cheap bastard had unknowingly given my mother a candle that she herself had pulled out of her closet and he was soaking up the attention he was seemingly getting.   It cost ten bucks?  At Meijer? What a bullshit artist!

My brother never thanked me for saving his butt last Christmas.  And my mom never lit that candle.  Or even put it anywhere special.  Unless, that is, you consider the back of her closet somewhere special.

Well, Christmas is just a few days away as I write this story and, wouldn’t you know it, my brother hasn’t gotten anyone anything for Christmas this year.  Not even a key chain.  So, guess what me and my mom are going to do?  You guessed it.   She’s digging that same candle out of the back of her closet and I’m going to give it to my brother so he can give it to mom for Christmas.  Again.  We’re pretty sure he’ll be too dumb to remember.

We’ve all been laughing about this when he’s not around.  We figure we’ll just keep giving him the same candle year after year, wondering how long it’ll take him to figure out what’s going on.  My guess?  Not anytime soon.

Merry Christmas, everyone!