So, it’s Christmas! As always, there’s so much to celebrate and do, involving lots of work and lots of fun. Right now, my daughter is playing with a lazer tag set that her friend got. They are about to shoot at each other in our back yard.
I don’t have a lot to say this Christmas in relation to the day itself, but I like to post something here, so I thought I’d share one of quirkier Christmas-related stories that I have experienced, just to highlight a situation where Christmas, well, didn’t exactly go wrong, but just got a bit weird.
Back in…I think it was 2009…I was looking for presents for my friends. I was trying to think of what to get for my good friend Nathan, and when I stumbled across an inexpensive DVD of some episodes of SCTV (a Canadian comedy sketch show which featured the likes of John Candy and Rick Moranis), I thought, Aaah, here’s the thing! This was based on the fact that Nathan is Canadian, and enjoys a good laugh. Beyond that, it was a wild guess.
Anyway, he got my gift, but I didn’t have a chance to find out right away what he thought. Even with it being Christmas time, the Christian missions community that we were both part of stays pretty busy. And right around then, our mutual friend Jason came back from wherever he was, and he and I right away connected up because we were about to work on a sizable project together.
So, on Christmas or right after it, I was driving Jason somewhere, and he had his bag down by his feet in the car. I looked over as he was fiddling with it, and I saw in his bag the very same SCTV DVD that I had given Nathan!
I was a bit shocked, but I kept casual, and asked him what the DVD was. And he said it was a DVD that Nathan had just given him…for Christmas.
Now, the reality is that Nathan had every right to do with that DVD whatever he wanted to. I’d given it to him as a gift, no strings attached, and he was under no obligation to like it or keep it. And in fact, my wife and I had re-gifted more than our fair share of things over the years. And not only because we hadn’t liked something–more often than not it was just because we felt like we didn’t have space to actually keep everything.
All of this went through my head at the time, but I have to confess I was still quite disappointed, a bit sad, and maybe a little angry. After all, even if I’d re-gifted things before, I’d usually be careful to make sure I didn’t give thing to people who were also good friends with the original giver. And I wouldn’t do it after only having the item for one day or less!
But I bit my lip, and avoided making any of these sorts of comments to Jason. And I never even brought it up with Nathan, deciding that it was unnecessary and a bit petty for me to make a thing out of it. Still, I had to walk through a bit of an internal spiritual mechanism to avoid getting offended a number of times.
Fast forward…well, I’m not sure how long. Some time. Maybe a year or more. I’m hanging out with Nathan at his apartment, and I see the SCTV DVD on his shelf. Now I’m really confused. What’s going on? Did Nathan, by coincidence, buy the same DVD for Jason that I had bought for him, at the same time? Improbable, but not impossible.
Now, I can’t remember how I found this out–I must have just asked him–but it turns out that what happened, according to Nathan, is that Nathan showed the DVD to Jason when Jason first got back, and that Jason misunderstood and thought he was being given it as a Christmas present. So he just took it, and kept it when they finished talking. In Jason’s defense, he was probably massively jet-lagged: like me, he’s from New York, but like me, was working in Perth–about as far away from New York as you can get without going into space.
So anyway, apparently Jason was confused and took the DVD, thinking it was gift rather than just something that Nathan was just showing him. I don’t know how much later it was that Nathan came to Jason and asked for the DVD back. Only then did Jason realize his error. Neither of them knew that in the background of all of this, I’d seen Jason with the DVD and thought that Nathan had regifted it to him, and was working really hard not to get offended that he’d given my gift to our closest mutual friend on the very day he’d received it from me!
As Nathan put it later, So awkward!
Anyway, it all came out well. We’re all friends to this day. I don’t know if anyone ever actually watched that DVD, though.