Gift of the Magi

December 26, 2009

Several weeks ago, I asked my roommate if he wanted to exchange gifts this Christmas. I had a really great idea of what I wanted to get him, so regardless of if he was going to get me something, I had a plan. “I’m not good at giving gifts,” he said. “I don’t know how.” Glenn and I did our best to describe the gift exchange process, but for a boy who has never celebrated a traditional Christmas, he seemed awfully confused.

Christmas rolled around and my roommate had made last minute plans to fly home; he got a cheap ticket – I couldn’t blame him – I would have done the same thing. We had originally planned to have a “Jewish Christmas” – Christmas Eve we would get Chinese food. On Christmas, we’d go see a movie.

After the plan was modified, I figured it would be okay. We both worked Christmas Eve and by the time my roommate got home, we were both a little buzzed and ready to celebrate. He walked out of his room, holding a bag from the wonderful cooking store in Williamsburg and said “How do you do this? Do we just do this now?” I figured now was as good a time as any… I ran to my room and grabbed his gift. We unwrapped in the living room – me first – as soon as I took it out of the bag, I knew exactly what it was. It was like that Peyton Manning commercial where he gives a guy a football and says “YOURE NEVER GONNA GUESS WHAT THAT IS!” I unwrapped it an almost cried – my roommate has seen me bake several times, and somehow remembered me taking the giant empty wine bottle I keep on the mantle and use it as a rolling pin. It was something I didn’t need, but he knew I would use it. He nailed it.

He opened his gift from me – a french press – he’s been using mine for the last few months, and I figured when he moved he’d want his own. He was so thrilled; I was so glad he was so pleased. Gifts we didn’t need, but wanted and didn’t even know it.

It was a perfect Christmas Eve. After gifts, we walked a block to Fiore, and then grabbed drinks all over town. Went into the city, caught up with some of his friends, and spent the night laughing and carrying on. We both slept late Christmas morning, and he left that afternoon to fly home. I thought Christmas was going to be such a bummer by myself, but the people who I really consider friends have come through for me. A friend staying up late and talking me through some stress. A friend making me laugh when he knew I needed it most. And a friend who bought me the perfect gift without even knowing it.

I hope you enjoyed your first Christmas as much as I did, AJ.
Merry Christmas.

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