I received the surprise of my life when my parents called me up and told me they had put my present in the mail. They are usually so frazzled by all the Christmas shopping, tree trimming and hall-decking that goes on, they’ve been known to take the joy out of the season with their constant bickering and fighting. He wants Santa on the roof with a million lights shining on him, she wants the baby Jesus in a manger on the front lawn – with a million lights shining on Him. He wants to wait until the after- Christmas sales to part with his hard-earned money. She wants to wait in line on Black Friday at midnight to save a few dollars on a toaster. They have been so stubborn about shopping, one will sit in the car while the other fumes on the porch and refuses to go along for the ride. We kids knew early on there was no Santa – except the one on the roof – because many times they’d forget to take the marked down tags off our presents from the Bargain Barn up on the highway. So to receive a call saying my gift would arrive before Christmas was a pleasant surprise.
I was even more surprised to receive a fresh, new gift card from American Express. I’m a big fan of gift cards, and I’m glad they finally got the hint. I’ve been telling them for years how easy it is to give gift cards, and how popular they are with family and friends. And, because you can use a Groupon code to save on gift cards when you use your reward points, or buy business gift cards, it’s easy to find many ways to check people, and customers off your list, just by their site.
My parents used to equate a big box tied with a big bow with a good present. I can’t tell you how much I resented opening a beautifully wrapped present to find a lumpy, hand-knitted sweater inside. When I received my card, I called right away and asked what made them think of such a cool thing to do. Next thing I know, he’s taking the credit for the idea, and she’s yelling at him saying it was her idea to use Groupon! He’s saying if he hadn’t dragged her to the senior center they never would have taken the online shopping class …
It was enough to make me call my therapist, but thanks to their generous gift, a little retail therapy will do just fine.