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Monday, December 12, 2005

On the first day of Christmas...

Christmas is coming! Oh. You knew that already. Well, I just figured it out and so in the true spirit of giving, or at least in the spirit of non-consumerism at this late date, I am scouring my surroundings for gifts that cost nothing. The six boxes of custom note cards given to my boss in exchange for his financial support of a local organization's fundraising efforts that have been sitting forgotten on his desk for over two years? (The boss is out of town for the next week bass fishing on the Amazon. My mission is to organize his pack-ratty corner of the office while he is gone and can offer no protest. Out of sight, out of mind.) There's six gifts checked off my list! I'm not a scrooge, I'm a recycler. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don't get me wrong, I love to give presents, especially the out-of-the-blue sort. It's the burden of the annual required gift giving for the ever expanding, already enormous extended family that wears me down. Especially considering I don't even know what to give my own darlings yet this year.

Fortunately for this re-gifter, I was lucky enough, embarrassingly lucky, to have won seven fabulous gifts in a raffle at the big fundraiser a couple weeks ago benefiting the kids' school. Already I have given Elle's teacher and his wife, Gracie's teacher, one of two private, charter fishing trips -- the other is Jorge's Christmas present, shhh! -- and I can't wait to give the teachers' assistant the little designer handbag I know she was desperately hoping to win. With the remaining gift certificates from generous local merchants, I hope to get the rest of the gifts on my list.

'Tis better to give than receive? True. There are however, some major exceptions.

For the last year, Sarabelle has shown renewed interest in playing the piano, and so Jorge, doting Papa that he is, has been looking for a deal. The pianos that we gave his sister to store after we moved from the east coast, a diminutive honky tonk piano we found at an antique show for Sarabelle to bang on as a toddler, and a nice upright Baldwin she helped us locate when Sarabelle showed real promise and needed a full keyboard to practice on, were given to needy students and are long gone. Jorge finally enlisted her help again in his search for another quality used instrument. Aunt J agreed to keep her eyes open. The next day she called with a bomb burst of a surprise. For the past year, as it sat unused in her home, she had been considering selling her concert Steinway, a gorgeous upright, bought new for her when she was a protege of the same legendary teacher Sarabelle studied under. Instead, she decided that Sarabelle should have it. We can never thank her enough.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

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