X-Mas Gift Roundup: 2013 Edition

Hey, so Christmas happened a while back. Maybe you’d noticed? I sure did, because I got a freakin’ amazing haul of gift this year, and you know how much I treasure material possessions. So obviously I want to brag talk about them on the internet.

I don’t really have any sort of screed to come in on, I just wanted to note that I haven’t done an X-Mas gift round up since… 2007!? Holy cow! That’s even farther back than I’d thought! Man… that was a pretty great Christmas. Looking back on those pics, I can even remember it pretty well. Yeah, I was so excited that morning that after The Unwrappening was over I fell asleep while watching Bender’s Big Score.

So, uh, let’s just get started then, yes?

This is what my boss gave me. Also all the M&Ms inside and a gift card for the movies. It’s convenient because I like candy, and also now I have somewhere to put all the nickels and dimes that somehow build up on my desk. Seriously, I have no idea where they come from, as I never pay for anything with cash.

You might be surprised to learn that as of this writing, there are still some M&Ms left in there. Not many, but I think that any at all would be more than most people would expect from me.

I guess my phone’s flash decided not to go off here because everything around the focal point of this picture was nicely lit. Also I apparently don’t look at the pictures I take to make sure they’re, you know, acceptable.

Anywho, the next slew of gifts are from the in-laws, and we’ll start with this set of Star Wars character flashlights. For those who can’t tell, they include: Chewbacca, Yoda, R2-D2, and Darth Vader. Maybe not the four I’d choose (How awesome would a Nien Nunb flashlight be?), but they’re all from the original trilogy, so we’ll chalk that one up as a win.

While this was admittedly a gag gift, I think they’re pretty cool. They turn into flashlights when you squeeze a trigger on their backs, which makes them open their mouths (dome in R2’s case) and emit a much brighter light than you might expect from a novelty flashlight. Definitely happy to have these little guys in my life.

I cannot properly describe to you how mentally and physically painful it was for me to walk into stores for the duration of December and not buy this stupid video game. But I was very aware that I’d be getting it for Christmas, and you just can’t do a damn thing about Santa Law.

But I have it now and hoooooooooly schnikes is it ever the best. All of those perfect review scores it’s getting are spot-on, and this is pretty much exactly what I imagine as the one true representation of the concept of a video game. Nintendo knocks it out of the park again, and I could not be more impressed with the final product here.

What you really need to know about Super Mario 3D World, above all else, is that it can be absolutely brutal. Like, this game does not pull punches. It’s cute and all, but it’s not for children! In World 4, World Four, I’ve hit a couple levels that have been sapping my lives. Or, our lives, I should say. Playing alone is a little easier, but I find that there’s a lot more fun to be had when I recruit the Wife to play too.

You know that box of Godzilla movies that I got in 2007? To date, I still haven’t watched any of them. Yeah, I know, I’m terrible. The worst part is that now that we live in a world where Pacific Rim exists, I don’t think that I can ever watch them again.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of appreciation for the classic kaiju and their hilarious rubber-suited antics, but Pacific Rim is just so much fun that why would I ever want to watch another movie about giant monsters wrecking stuff up when Pacific Rim is right there? You see my dilemma.

I don’t even know what this is about. I think it was on sale.

But seriously, I’m happy that I got it, because before Christmas I often found myself wishing that I had some liquid soap to put in my hand soap pump, but couldn’t be arsed to go out and get some. Now I won’t have to worry about that for… a few months, I’d think.

Yeah, these should get us to May at least.

The last thing to come from my in-laws is a thing that I’ve been asking for since I became a homeowner: a tea kettle. It’s maybe not the exact style I would have picked out for myself, but it’s still beautiful, and I will love it like a child.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I love my tea, and boiling the water through the Keurig just isn’t the same as putting the kettle on and waiting for that whistle. Also now I can make my noodle bowls properly, and not have to hope for the best with the microwave. Hooray!

Wifey’s family always does their Unwrappening on the Eve of Christmas, as opposed to the morning of the actual day. It works out nicely for me because it minimizes schedule conflicts, but it’s always a pain because I only get to open one gift from her and then I have to stare longingly at the rest while I wait for morning to come.

So this is my Christmas Eve gift from my wife, and I really don’t have a lot to say about it just yet. I mean, sweet this is just what I wanted, but we haven’t watched The Office in so long that I find it hard to be really excited about it. Plus we’re currently in the middle of watching Arrested Development again, and my tendency to be a neurotic weirdo won’t let me get started on this until we’re done with that.

Sometimes it’s difficult to have my brain.

I managed to talk my way into getting to open another gift before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, but Wifey was one step ahead of me, and had a diversion gift prepared for just such an occasion.

A box of candy cane fake-Oreos is a pretty good gift any way you slice it though. Even if they are fake. Do they even make real Oreos in a candy cane variety? They must. We probably just don’t get them in Canada because not being horribly obese is the only thing left that separates us from the Americans.

Christmas morning eventually came, and we drove over to my parents’ place for the usual Christmas morning festivities. I don’t know exactly if this was the first gift I opened, but I’ll be damned if it’s not the one I’m going to use the most.

Over the last couple years, I seem to have developed a sever case of dried-out skin that’s activated by the harsh coldness of winter. I itch and scratch, but there’s a certain area of that back that a chubby fella just can’t reach, and it drives me bonkers. Also I can’t be bothered to moisturize every day. So really, this backscratcher is like a blessing from Heaven to me, and I carry it around with me all the time because you never know when the itchies are going to strike.

I think this came from my parents. I can’t remember for sure because I was so overwhelmed with happiness when I unwrapped it that everything else became so inconsequential for a while afterward. It’s also got a pen and a switchable magnet-head and some kind of dinky massager ball, but I’ll probably never use any of those.

This is a gift for both me and Wifey from Bro 1 and Bro 3. Honestly, I’m running into the same problem as I did with The Office. I guess I just don’t have anything to say about TV I haven’t watched yet?

We got season 5 for X-Mas last year, and burned through it in two days. I was a little shocked at how fast we watched it, to be honest. I don’t know if I want to savour this one more, or try to watch it all even faster.

I do know that The Big Bang Theory is generally frowned upon by my people (nerds), but I think it’s funny enough. I can kind of see where they’re coming from though, as you’re not really laughing with the characters, and it’s more than a little exploitative. Whatever. Science jokes!

During the summer of 2013, my hot water tank broke, and there was no way in Hell that we’d be able to replace it. So my parents stepped in and got us a new one, claiming that it would count for my birthday and Christmas gifts. I was a little down, but it was important and I can’t thank them enough for doing that for us.

Luckily, they still saw fit to buy us a tub full of all sorts of goodies! Christmas was saved!

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we did get to keep the tub too. That’s a bit of a double-edged sword though, because while the tub is nice, the lid doesn’t lock down for whatever reason. Weird.

The first group of photographed objects from the tub are these. On the left we see a Hallmark keepsake of Santa Claus. Santa hides a cunning secret though: he is also a Christmas countdown clock! Since Christmas had already passed, I didn’t take it out of the box to fiddle with it, but I assume it could conceivably count down to any event I see fit. Perhaps I will have Santa count down to Thursday.

On the right are a couple of Tide-To-Go sticks. To be honest, I already have some of these, and they don’t do jack. Then again, I never spill on myself, so maybe I don’t have enough test data for an accurate assessment of their abilities. Perhaps I will keep one at my desk at work. Just in case.

And towards the bottom, we have a Santa-shaped matryoshka doll. My mother bought this for me because I used to be absolutely fascinated with the one she has when I was a wee nipper. I still think they’re pretty neat, and I don’t know if they’re made out of a special wood or what but I really like the smell they have. Maybe I just like the smell of wood. Mrs. Claus is inside Santa, but I have no idea what’s inside Mrs. Claus because I’ve just been so damned distracted with other things to take the three seconds to investigate.

And in this corner, we have Fun Money! Hooray! Or, I guess some Fun Money, and some Potential Money. I really ought to scratch up that Set For Life ticket. I don’t know why I take so long to do things.

Starbucks and movies. What the Hell do you want from me?

Here we have a pile of candy. It is not the last pile of candy you see before the bottom of this page.

Firstly, there’s a tin of Danish butter cookies. Not my usual brand, but just as delicious as ever, and an absolute must-have for the Christmas season. I ate half of the tin the other night, and The Missus was not happy with me when she found out. My mistake was letting her find out.

The giant Toblerone has also become a staple of my Christmas traditions, and I’d be terribly upset if I went a year without one. Of course, I’d just buy my own if I didn’t get one gifted to me. It’s not how I get it that counts, it’s just that I have it.

I can’t tell you much about that bag of “Holiday Mix” Skittles. I’m only the second-biggest fan of Skittles in the house, and I don’t dare touch them without permission. I already caught hell for the cookie incident.

Also a brick of fudge. I don’t know what kind of fudge it was, but I do know that it went down smooth.

Do you think I’ve been phoning it in for the last few paragraphs? Because I feel like I’ve been phoning it in. Here’s some candy cane-related stuff. Also some candy canes.

One is another box of candy cane flavoured not-Oreos. They’re a different kind of not-Oreo than the other ones from before. I can’t tell you which kind is better because I haven’t tried the other ones yet, but I can tell you that the ones is this picture are not the best. Still pretty good, but a far cry from legit Oreos.

We also have a box of candy cane coffee packets for the Keurig. Or maybe they’re intended for a Tassimo? They come in weird little meshy packs, not plastic cups like I’m used to. Anyway, they work just fine in the Keurig, and they taste like every other kind of flavoured coffee does: exactly like normal coffee. Well, it’s the thought that counts, and I love the thought of coffee that tastes like candy canes. So, win?

Here’s the standard package from my paternal grandparents. Pretty much the same every year, with a few twists. The free oil change and movie gift cards are regular inclusions, but the Super Lube tuque is only seeing its second year. I think that the chocolate bars are new.

There was also a cheque in there. I won’t tell you how much it was for, but I will tell you that I got up and did a little dance when I saw it.

Wifey picked out three movies for me, and I have to say that she did a bang-up job. Of course, it’s pretty easy for me because I don’t buy a lot of movies anymore, and I gaze longingly at the ones I want whenever we’re out shopping.

Star Trek happened because we both enjoyed it, but never bought it for some reason. Now that I’ve watched it again, I’ve gotta admit that skipping it was a huge oversight. Man, I really love that Star Trek movie. The only problem is that now I have to go out and get Into Darkness, because that one is even better. Or hope that it’s given to me as a Christmas gift in 2016.

It’s kinda funny that she got me both GI Joe Retaliation and the Evil Dead reboot, because we actually went out and saw both of those on the same night as our own little double feature. Now that I think about it, I guess maybe she did that on purpose. If you need further insight into either of these movies, Retaliation is a better movie and much more grounded than the first GI Joe movie, but ti’s still a very dumb kind of fun. Evil Dead is nothing at all like its inspiration, and is basically just about seeing how much pain they could inflict on their five characters in two hours. Spoiler: a whole lot. I really liked it, but you’ll need a strong stomach for this one.

Oh look! It’s more candy! I told you that other pile wouldn’t be the end of it. But this is. We really are nearing the home stretch here. Usually that means things are winding down, but I think that what’s left is just as good as all the great stuff that came before it.

I’ll first draw your attention to the stack of Mike & Ikes, topped by some Hot Tamales. Mike & Ike has been my favourite family of candy for as long as I can remember, and my wife knows this well, as I always get a box for any occasion where she would be giving me a gift. For this, I am thankful. I am also thankful that she knows that Red Rageous are my favourite. Some people still buy me the original ones in the green box, and they get a disdainful stare instead of a thank-you. God help them if they get me Italian Ice or even worse, Tangy Twister. Blue’s pretty great too, and I don’t think I’ve ever had Tropical Typhoon yet.

Also there are Spider-Man candy canes, which are so awesome I don’t even need to type words about them. The box on the right contains chocolate balls which are full of Smarties. These would have doubled as Christmas tree ornaments, had I not gobbled them all up right away. And then there’s the chocolate bear “sucker.” I put sucker in quotations because is it really a sucker if it’s made of chocolate? No, not really. My mouth, at least, is trained to chomp on chocolate, not to suck on it.

A Ninja Turtles alarm clock! This is great! We have a wall clock in our room and I use my phone as an alarm but who cares because THIS IS SUPER COOL.

Whatever, man. Turtles swag: if you’ve got it, I want it.

I really can’t think of anything else to type about a clock.

And the final gift on the “fun” side is this: a Nintendo eShop card. Wifey went out like two days before Christmas to pick this up for me, even though she was already done shopping, because I was going on and on about how disappointing Christmas would be if I didn’t get one.

I may have been exaggerating a bit, but in all honesty this is the absolute best gift that someone could get me. Period. There is always going to be something on one of the eShops that I want, and getting a prepaid card like this is great for when I want to take a gamble on something I want to try but am not sure about. In this case, I put it toward Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara and Wii Sports Club Golf.

An Xbox Dollars card would have also been acceptable. God knows I’m not going to buy Xbox Minecraft with my own money.

The very last gifts are from Bro 2: a metal shovel and an ice breaker. Technically, I already owned a metal shovel, but it’s old and crappy. Not like this new one. It’s so nice and great. And also the shaft isn’t made of wood, so I don’t have to worry about splinters if I’m shoveling without gloves on.

I didn’t already own an ice breaker, and man is this one ever a Godsend. I said I’d use the backscratcher the most of all these gifts, but now I’m thinking that the ice breaker might give it a run for its money. I’ve already had to bust the thing out four or five times in the two weeks since Christmas, so it’s definitely earned the right to be called an awesome gift.

Not pictured here are another cheque from my maternal grandparents, a whole bundle of movie gift cards and gift certificates from various other people, and a mall gift card from my other boss. There’s really not a lot to say about all that stuff, so I won’t really bother. All that I really need to say is that I’m thankful for it all.

What I’m a little less thankful for, was the HBC gift card that I got from work. It’s the same every year, and I never complained about it before because I could take it to Zellers and get something I actually wanted. But now Zellers is as good as extinct, and my only options for it were The Bay (where I’ve never shopped in my life, and has nothing for me) and Home Outfitters. Luckily, Home Outfitters carries K-cups, so I spent it on a wealth of coffee and tea. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

Lastly, I have a Festivus package on the way from the annual Talking Time gift exchange, but I haven’t got a hot clue when that’s going to arrive. So maybe I’ll make a blog post about it when it shows up and then splice it in here later. Maybe.

That’s the end of the road though, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy the ride. It was a wonderful Christmas for so many reasons other than the gifts, but I sure did love all those gifts. My life isn’t quite as easy as I’d like it to be, but I’m a very lucky fella, with a super wife, and an excellent set of families.

If I seemed at all negative or ungrateful at any point in this article, just assume it was me trying to be funny. I’m super appreciative of every gift I was given, and there was not a thing that I didn’t like. Course, I’m really easy to shop for. I’m an open freakin’ book. And if you really can’t figure it out there’s always the infallible Nintendo eShop card approach.


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