Wading through holiday catalogs
Honey, do you like to look at slick publications featuring photos of beautiful women in various stages of undress? I nonchalantly asked Husband-Head while he was watching TV the other evening.Husband-Head was silent for a few moments, clearly believing that this was a trick question that would get him in trouble.Why dont you just ask me if I like the Green Bay Packers? he said tentatively. Thats not a fair question. And why do you want to know, anyway?Because I have a job for you, I informed him.Husband-Heads eyes lit up.I dont know what youre talking about, but I think Im going to like it! he said hopefully, rubbing his hands together.I went over to the coffee table and dumped about 50 different catalogs on the coffee table.You need to go through these and find some gifts for our families, I instructed. Im busy writing all the Christmas cards and I need your help. Husband-Head looked confused.You want me to order from this for our mothers? he asked, holding up a Victorias Secret catalog. Dont you think these items are a little, ummm, inappropriate?I snatched the catalog out of his hand.Not THAT one, the others, I said, bringing in another load from the kitchen and dumping more on the table. Try the food and gadgets catalogs those are usually the best bets.In my mind, food, flowers, novelty items and services like massages and facials are usually good choices because most parents already have about every thing they could ever want or need in this lifetime or even someone elses.That could be a good or bad thing if youre the one whos inheriting all their stuff. Good, if the items include things like sterling silver, expensive China and priceless Italian paintings, but bad if its a lifetime collection of cheesy Christmas snow globes and dime-store porcelain figurines.At this point, Im thinking that I should give my mom things that I like, I rationalized to Husband Head. Because in the future, Im just going to end up with them, anyway.And there were endless choices of products to go along with the endless numbers of catalogs that arrived in the mail every day.There was Williams-Sonoma, Harry & David, Red Envelope, Eddie Bauer, Sees Candies, L.L. Bean, Domestications, Stone-wall Kitchen, Coldwater Creek, Crate & Barrel, Hammacher Schlemmer, Sur La Table, Zingermans, Omaha Steaks, Domestications, Fingerhut and Plow & Hearth just to name a few. Dont deliver them anymore! I ran out to the mail box and begged our nice carrier recently. Do you HAVE to? Cant you give them to someone who needs something to start a fire and keep warm?Honey, Im not allowed to screw around with the mail, she smiled, patting me on the shoulder as she handed over yet another stack of catalogs.Maybe we wouldnt get as many of these if you didnt order so much stuff during the rest of the year, Husband-Head suggested. And along with saving money on producing these catalogs, Ill bet companies would save money, we wouldnt be in a recession and wed have a lot more trees. …But catalogs sent via e-mail on the computer were just as popular as the printed ones, coming from companies such as Sears, Kay Jewelers, Zales, Fragrance. Net, eBags, Neiman Marcus, Hewlett-Packard and Fredericks of Hollywood.What in the world have you ordered without telling me? Husband-Head demanded to know. I understand a few catalogs, but this is ridiculous!I patted his head and tried to get him to calm down.You just pick out some nice things for our families you know, like something someone would want if they were about to enroll in a religious organization, I said in a soothing voice. And when youre done, Ill let you look at the catalogs you like.In the end, he did pick a fruit tower from Harry & David for his parents, a German Christmas Stollen from Williams-Sonoma for my mom and breads from Zingermans of Michigan.OK, Im done, he announced, throwing the last of the magazines on the floor. So now I want dinner, the Packers Pro Shop catalog and Victorias Secret. …Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. She recently published a book called Skully Says Shut It! Life, Love and Laughter with Husband-Head, a 60-column collection of previously published columns. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.
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