Why Won’t You Die, Secret Santa? Or, My Craptacular Suckitude In Gift Buying


This is ridiculous.  Who has hair in a jump suit shape?  Other than that, I'm on board, baby.  It'll give me time to hone my straight edge technique.  I hope this isn't the bleeding version.
This is ridiculous. Who has hair in a jump suit shape? Other than that, I’m on board, baby. It’ll give me a chance to hone my straight edge razor technique.  I can’t wait for the bleeding and weeping 2.0 version.

When I was about 16 years old, I had a dish washing job at a local Mexican restaurant.  Not a single Mexican worked in there, but they reckoned that tossing a jalapeno into something sort of made it south-of-borderlicious. Nonetheless, it was fun, and the staff liked to party.  I got strong armed into going to one of their little fêtes and got knee-wobbling, tongue-swollen flat out drunk.  I remember trying to ride my bike home in the middle of winter, a robust endeavour in the best of conditions, but I needed taxi-like help to get me home.  As the room spun like a diesel-powered dreidel, I decided that I wouldn’t do that again for a long time.  And I didn’t.  Well, at least until I thought I could get a handle on it next time.  We know how that story ended.

Now, there was a Secret Santa that also went on there on that same holiday season at the restaurant.  You know these things – the dirge of the dungeon we call the workplace, the cancer of Christmas, the scourge of the sacred time of year.  Pull a name from the hat and you are entirely responsible for making or breaking that person’s entire holiday season.  No pressure, of course.  I recall asking the dude I picked what he wanted.  He said a six-pack of beer.  Done, I said.  And done it was.  I somehow forged and fibbed my way in getting a sextet of ale at that young age. I don’t remember if I wrapped it or not. (The sweat would have torn the paper, probably, yes?) I also recall the same dude asking if I wanted to go out with them for a beer.  I said no thank you, I have beer at home.  He said he did too, but still wanted to go out.  I said no thank you again and washed a pot that I already had washed to scrape away the inanity and uncomfortableness of that conversation.

Crap - look at the time!  See? kill two birds with one stone with this snazzy stocking stuffer.
Crap – look at the time! See? Kill two birds with one stone with this snazzy stocking stuffer.

In looking back at that, I can now see two things that would play out in my life for a long time.  One, that I was already an isolator.  My preference for hanging out in my basement and drinking alone clearly yanked the “Override” switch in my brain when it came to options in how I spent my time.  Even at that young age, I can see that I already had one foot in the vat of Vladmir’s Iron Gut Vodka (Commemorative Loner’s distillation).   The other thing was, and is still, a glaring issue of mine: I suck at buying gifts.  I knew it even then, and hence I wasn’t shy in asking anyone exactly what they wanted.  No hints.  No clues.  No innuendo.  Give me a page number in a catalogue, or scrawl down the address of the store you want me to go to, or send me the URL of what you want.  Even better, just get thing damned thing yourself, and I will give you a reimbursement cheque, plus an additional five dollars.  Maybe I’ll toss in a card while I’m at it.  You know, get all festive and stuff on you.

Fast forward – in the almost nineteen years I have been married, I have probably given two or three good gifts to my wife.  I am talking gifts that surprised her – and surprised her not so much that I got what I got, but that I took time to think about it before getting it.  That’s a poor batting average, considering that’s nineteen years worth of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You see, the whole deal is this – I am not usually thinking of others and their happiness as much as I think I am.  Or, not in the material sense at least.  Maybe it’s a guy thing.  Perhaps that XY gene dancing partnership I have took away that ability to not window shop with others in mind.  My wife, sister-in-law, neighbours, mother (all females) are magical at this.  They can be in the middle of the jungle, getting eaten by a dengue fever-ravaged jaguar, all the while looking at some plants laying next to their severed arm thinking “Wow, those Poincianas would look great next to Debbie’s new couch”.  Chomp. Chomp. Dead.

Awesome.  This was a dude's idea, guaranteed.
This was a dude’s idea, guaranteed. It’s never too late, is it?  Awesome.

Now that I think about it, I actually don’t have a problem in buying gifts.  I am a wizard at it.  I have a credit card, a debit card, and on occasion, cash.  So I am covered there.  Chip, swipe, change.  I have it all ready to go when the till lights up and whistles and ding-a-lings for monies owed.  That’s not the issue. It’s in choosing gifts that things immediately go pear shaped.  It’s my mind that shuts down and turns me into a gravy boat of contempt and confusion when I walk into a store wondering what to get the birthday boy or girl.  Or my folks.  Or the neighbour.  I am reduced to trying to rehash ideas that have already been rehashed and worn down and rather useless.  But I have a credit card, and I plan on using it.  On what, I don’t know.

This is frustrating, as you can imagine.  I dread when someone opens a gift I bought them, rather than being excited for them.  I just don’t want them to hate it on sight, or look at me to see if I have contracted Idiotus Majora.  I present gifts as if I were lobbing a hand grenade to Charlie.  Toss and duck.  Wait for the shrapnel to hit collateral objects then come up for air and survey the damage.  I remember going half way across the world on a trip, Hong Kong to be exact, and bought a souvenir for my mother that you could buy at 7-11 (Tiger balm, to be exact).  D’uh.  That’s how I rolled then, that is how I roll now.

So why mention all this?  I am certainly not alone.  Right guys? <crickets chirping> I consider myself an empathetic person, someone who is in tune with others, someone who can almost feel another person’s spirit, someone who can look into your eyes and sense the hurt or joy or indifference emanating from you.  Probably came from the journey from active alcoholic to recovered alcoholic.  But when it comes to finding one little thing that would speak to you on any level?  Useless.  I am in awe of those who go beyond the tried and true.  The type who will gladly and boldly give you something off center – like an archery course or a Barney Miller boxed set or a hot pink ukelele.  Things that are clearly not you, and that you would never buy for yourself, but somehow these people know that you will enjoy them.  What audacity.  What brass ones.  And I will never that person, although I enjoy watching that sort of magic in action.

Is this in the "so bad it's good" category, or is this just not even have a category?
Is this in the “so bad it’s good” category, or is this just not even have a category?

As an alcoholic, this whole thing used to put me in a tail spin.  I would have been jealous of all those “normal” people buying gifts for one another with seemingly glib impunity.  I would have gotten angry at myself for not knowing anything, for being dumb, for being so lame.  I would have chastised myself for not knowing what brings joy to the lives of those close to me.  I would have worried myself into a grand mal seizure-type sickness wondering what people would think of me. It was yet just another yardstick to measure myself against and come up short.

And this brings me to yet deeper territory – like when you step into what you think is firm snow in a small bank and watch your leg plunge in all the way, and finding one self with a sudden and acute case of crotch freeze.  This little sleepy backwater of a town type issue of not being able to get groovy gifts for others gets tethered to some other things going on. And those things are naturally ego-based.  What else is new?  Anything that has traction in ego is bound to run me over zamboni-style – slowly and painfully.  It’s been proven my ego has it in for me, and this is no exception.

videotape
It just is what it is, ya know?

The idea that I need to read others in a profound and “magical” way is absurd.  Not that I shouldn’t pay more attention to gently dropped hints, or to investigate through enquiry more about someone or their current interests or to perhaps come to the day with a little less selfishness.  But the deep seated need to bring someone utter joy and wonder is something that isn’t my job, per se.  My desire to bring about their desire in happiness and excitement is great, but can be a detriment to my own mental and emotional health.  Sounds like I am squirming out of this one, or finding a loophole.  Not at all.  This is one of those combination – “don’t be so hard on yourself / pay more attention, dummy” kind of deals. The first part of this thing is realizing that while I love watching someone get a kick out of a gift, it’s also knowing that people will also be disappointed at times.  And that’s important to understand.

Expectations are set ups for resentment and/or disappointment.  That happens with someone putting expectations on me, or when I put expectations on others.  And that includes myself.  So when I put an expectation on you, and it is not fulfilled to my 80-proof strength and will, I get bummed out.  And pissed off.  For some reason, I am much easier on others in that department these days.  I don’t mind getting any sort of gift.  Really, I don’t care what it is.  I’m easy, as I am quick to recognize the other person’s time and money and thought spent in getting me that gift.  But for some reason, I won’t let myself off the hook in trying to give some Mr. Roarke-style lavish and mind-blowing present and knowing that it’s not going to happen – again.  Bring out the wet linguine and start lashing myself – on Donner, on Blitzen, et al.

Clearly this is something I would need.  I just worry about nesting birds and bathroom breaks.
Clearly this is something I need – ask my wife. I just worry about nesting birds and bathroom breaks.

Seems a bit extreme to put such lofty expectations on myself, and hope to jump over those suckers like an Andalusian Mega Queen show jumping over boxes of ‘tater tots at the Royal Winter Fair.  That sort of perfectionism screams ego and yet again I am the crap end of that power struggle.  I certainly don’t win anything, other than my own scorn, and a package of stale pretzels for some unsuspecting recipient who had nothing to do with me other than knowing me.  (On the record, I have probably given much worse than that.  I am the type to run out of my car and pick up those emergency flowers off the side of the highway exit ramp.  The wilted ones with the scent of unleaded gasoline).

Fear is also another thing that lends itself to this runny slushie of failure.  Fear of looking bad, fear of disappointing someone, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of not living up to expectations, fear of success even.  Just another case of fears ripping me apart on something as silly as giving a small parcel to someone I love or at least enjoy their company.  For those of you in the “gloriously ESP-enchanted” category of gift buyers, you are probably casting an arched eyebrow at this whole autopsy of my inept gift choosing.  Welcome to my inner world.  Alcoholism / my ego likes to try and work me over, even at holiday time.

This is nothing to sneeze at, you know? I don't know what is more disturbing - that the gel is green, or that it's a dude there with a loofah sponge.
This is nothing to sneeze at, you know? I don’t know what is more disturbing – that the gel is green, or that it’s a dude there with a loofah sponge.

Now the other part to this whole shindig is the getting out of self part. That’s been my entire journey so far in this recovery process.  Not thinking of myself 24/7 is a pretty daunting job.  Seeking perfection in this isn’t the point, it’s the process. It’s the “pay attention, jerky” part that I need to work on.  Get into a different mindset.  Play a new role sometimes.  Realize that I am not the be all end all of my own little bubble of an existence.  See things through other people’s eyes.  Pie in the sky stuff to a selfish, self-centered being like myself, but it’s more than doable.  I’d like to think I’ve stumbled forward a centimetre or two in the last few years in terms of thinking less of self.  Who knows.  Maybe this whole thing is what “big mike” around here calls mental masturbation.  Over thinking it all.  Keep it simple, they say. I am glad Santa is not one of us.  We’d all get copies of his passive-aggressive teen angst-like poetry, bound in tear and nacho cheese stained parchment.

When it comes to gift giving, or any sort of interaction with my fellows, I am willing to give more of myself.  Easy to say, hard to do at times.  Sometimes I have to ask for the willingness to be more willing.  Some additional Kung Fu to bolster the program a bit.  But in the end, even with all this rhetorical yip yap and navel gazing, it in of itself is nothing worth selling the house and moving to the farm.  Like all the positives and negatives in my life, it’s something that can change or fluctuate.  It’s fluid, unattached to anything unless I anchor it myself.  In the end, it’s about understanding and tackling these fears and self-centered compulsions and impulses.  Allowing the Creator to do His thing.  My job is to remain open to it all.  And if I remain a lousy gift chooser, so be it.  I can make it up in other ways.  I have other methods of showing love and appreciation.

Now THIS - this is something I would kill to have.  Are you kidding me? Its BACON!  Wow.  Just sayin', just in case someone has me in a Secret Santa? hint hint
Now THIS – this is something I would kill to have. Are you kidding me? Its BACON! Wow. Just sayin’, just in case someone has me in a Secret Santa? hint hint

What I have learned in my short time is that while in the past I may have ramped up the stress quotient on holidays, or turned a blind eye to stress via booze or just let poor self-esteem run me into the ground and wait it all out, these days I am releasing the pressure valves.  Staying still in the quiet and just being.  Getting my cues from Santa’s boss there, the Divine. Learning that it’s my thinking that gets me in these messes, and nothing else.  Relieving the thinking and boom – out go the lights.  No pressure.  And so while I still need to be practical and festive and pick up gifts and do that deal, it’s not done out of a place of trying to impress or to fill some need to be acknowledged or appreciated.  That’s inside stuff.  No frilly paper will do that for me, or the newest i-Blappity Blap.  I do those things because I like to and whether others appreciate it or not, that’s none of my business.

I may not have gift purchasing prowess, but I do have cranberry maple walnut vinaigrette that I make.  The folks seem to ask for it every year, so I oblige.  That is something I can do, and love to do.  No pressure.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. warmginger says:

    I am terrible at buying presents too, but then so is my husband. For my 40th birthday he got me a juicer/blender which did not go down well! Fortunately at Christmas we carry on a tradition from the early years of our marriage when we were very strapped for cash – a fine bone china mug and a book.

    1. A juicer / blender. Wow, impressed. Better than I would have done…lol. I am sure you use it now, yes? Just had to wait out the storm of disappointment before it’s functionality came to play. Fine bone china and book? I’m in. We never have exchanged gifts at Xmas, so that’s one less disaster to worry about…ha ha.

      Have a wonderful holidays, my dear friend!!

      Hugs
      Paul

      1. warmginger says:

        Well, I had such a strop about getting a household appliance, that Mr WG took it back to the store. And yes, I would really be making good use of it now, so serves me right for being ungrateful! 😉 Enjoy Christmas. It’s been so good connecting with you in 2013 and I’m looking forward to more of your words in 2014. xx

  2. OMG, I am dying laughing! I am an ENT doc, and totally neeeeed that soap-dispensing nose for hand sanitizer in my office, lolol!!!

    1. Hi Carrie – thanks for swinging by! Glad you got a chuckle or two out of it. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Sounds like you have some pretty interesting tales to tell, from the POV of what you do for a living.

      Have a wonderful holidays!

      Paul

  3. big mike says:

    Hey Paul

    Your writing should be linked to the Grapevine. It would be a wonderful present for a whole bunch of “like minded” people.

    The worst present I ever gave my family and those in my sphere was uncertainty fear and worry.

    The best present I ever gave my family was getting sober.

    The rest is icing on the cake.

    And the run up to Christmas can be very emotionally turbulent. It is for a lot of people-not just us.

    I have a friend that says: Yo! Are you enjoying your present? Then he’ll come back with ‘practice happiness”! He used to say that stuff right up to his dying deathbed days from cancer. That dude was loved. He was a testament to the sober life and AA. He made a difference- in the world of AA and the world around him. Just like you are doing with this blog.

    Merry Christmas Bro,

    1. Mike,

      I have to say that I love your comments, kind sir. You clearly have a strong sense of the program and practice it. You’re the kind of dude I seek at when I am in the rooms. Meeting last night was great – guys like you talking about hope, talking about the solution and not just the problem, looking towards the newcomer and how to help them.

      You are right about this time of year being turbulent for all, not just us. For me, it’s about practising principles in all our affairs, so that covers this time of year too. It sounds like your friend did the same to the end. I can only wish to be like that. Thank you for sharing that, and sharing of yourself too, Mike.

      You make this blog a better space.

      Blessings and Merry Christmas
      Paul

  4. Sharon says:

    Another wonderful post and your vinaigrette sounds divine.

    1. Thank you Sharon – so glad you enjoyed it. I was half tempted to put the recipe for it. The only problem is that I never measure, so I would have to go through the process of doing all that. I have another batch to make, so I might measure it out and post it 🙂

      Blessings and have a wonderful holiday season!

      Paul

    1. Thanks! Perhaps one day I can get into the Morrissey stratosphere of insane and bizarre and humourous titles. Until then, I will keep practising. I hope you guys are staying off the ice rinks out by your corner of the world. Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers,
      Paul

      1. lyn says:

        I would love the vinaigrette recipe – don’t even need the measurements. It sounds lovely. Great post as always Paul. This year I received a knife block – beats the crap out of the mini vacuum cleaner I got last year! Happy Holidays.

        1. Hi Lyn – I just posted the recipe in a new post

          https://messageinabottleblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/cranberry-maple-vinaigrette-recipe/

          Hope you enjoy…and yes! Use those knives up…chop, chop, chop… 🙂

          Blessings,
          Paul

  5. First off, Ole’! Manolete. Your cape work deserves a shower of roses. I’m kind of like hating you right now. In that good way. Impressed to the point of envy. Your writing has gotten so thoroughbred sleek, it’s an awesome beast to watch gallop.
    Oh man. Where to start?
    The topic. That whole trip about gift giving and receiving. Such a well-spring of material. Especially from the runny red eyes of an alcoholic. Can so relate, And on all Star Trek levels of the chess game.
    You had me nodding along. And along. At least you threw the grenade then ducked. I ducked and rolled it under me. The Tiger Balm bomb. (I’ll get back to that) I so (yes, even a little still) NEEDED my gifts, to not just be appreciated for the token they were, but to somehow propel the recipient into a dizzying euphoria that lasts for years. Is that to much to ask for? I think not. The key, as you pointed out, is to be able to peer deeply enough into a person’s soul, see what they need most, and find it for under 25 bucks.
    What you call unreasonable expectations, I call visionary ambition. And probably a good recipe for resentment stew, Cookie. So yeah. And you’re right, the whole thing wouldn’t be so stressful if the ego wasn’t driving this mule train.
    The fear. Please God, don’t let me catch the slightest visual cue that the gift-getter isn’t giddy with glee! Not a single vibelet of politeness on their part!
    Because that would mean (insert any combination of self-condemning conclusions) and I’d rather die. And that’s why it’s so important. Hahahahaha. And there’s no other way to process it.
    “And so while I still need to be practical and festive and pick up gifts and do that deal, it’s not done out of a place of trying to impress or to fill some need to be acknowledged or appreciated. That’s inside stuff. No frilly paper will do that for me, or the newest i-Blappity Blap”
    Okay. Maybe that way. If you’re unfortunate enough to not have been born with Gift Sight. Not me. My Dr. Caligari eyes will bore a hole in your soul and let the sap run right out.
    Then this-“My job is to remain open to it all. And if I remain a lousy gift chooser, so be it.”
    You’re talking total liberation, Pauly. I mean, that’s some serious crux stuff. And it’s amazing when you do let go that completely. What eventually reveals itself.
    Which brings me to the Tiger Balm. As I read your account, it hit me that Tiger Balm is still a good gift, regardless of the Hong Kong- Toronto 7-11 thing. It’s all that mental stuff we garland around the event that colors it a fail. The fact is that we don’t know what the perfect gift is, other than the one that was given. It may not serve to delight the person. It might wind up being an essential element to finish some significant tableaux to be re-enacted for the delight of the gods. The toilet seat heater representing something deeper in the whole Jungian myth that’s unspooling around us. Maybe the sublime spiritual symbolism only sussed when reviewing our life in the Hall of Akashic Records. Who knows?
    But it’s probably not a good idea to base our entire self-worth on a bunch of arbitrarily arrived at negative conclusions. Certainly not if you want to have any chance at comfortable sobriety.
    Ah, what the Frankenfurter do I know?
    All I can say is that if I got some Cranberry sauce from Canada, the mason jar would sit by my keyboard forever. As a beloved and cherished memento.
    In the meantime, this brilliant piece of yours, is gift enough. It sure brightened my blighted holiday. A real highlight. All thanks to you.
    And thanks for all the other great stuff you’ve given me all year. You really are the gift that keeps giving.

    Manger at midnight peace to you and yours, Mr. S for Santa’s helper.

    Marius

    PS From now on do all your gift shopping here http://www.mcphee.com/ And you’ll never go wrong.

    1. I ate bowlfuls of resentment stew with a side of crusty Piss Off rolls and a major dollop of sour grapes cream. But you speak good speak. Your words are like a young James Joyce with a bit of mid-form Lenny Bruce and just a whiff of Danny Glover. Irreverent, relevant and with dead-pan panache. You had me dusting myself off the floor with some of your insight and wisdom…and hilarity. You’re the Woody Allen / James Dean crossover of commentary out here in the wild western Manhattan.

      What you say about the perfect gift is the one that is given. Kudos for blowing my head off. I have heard others here say that here too, and collectively, that seems to almost be a reversal of fortune. You mean no matter I give, it’s ok? I don’t need cartwheels and high fives and sparklers as a reaction to make it *good*? What voodoo are you preaching, Herr G? I didn’t know all that kind of stuff. I guess I was too busy not trying to get goose-faced at the local publican’s table whilst not soiling myself. Ms. Emily Post didn’t rove into my sphere during the war time, so even the simplest of exchanges have always been laden with expectations of the TNT kind.

      “But it’s probably not a good idea to base our entire self-worth on a bunch of arbitrarily arrived at negative conclusions.” See, now you’ve ruined my Xmas fun. This is what I was going to do after the turkey being sliced by crusading ninjas from one of the Northern prefectures. instead I did that whole serenity thing and just chilled and let things run it’s course. Damn that fine mindfulness and not counting other people’s blessings. Focus on the now. Put away the brass knuckles. Eat seconds helpings of Mamma Maria’s lasagna.

      And glad that you’re on the mend there, young man. Can’t keep a good man down. Hope you used that heated toilet seat during your Battle of the Bountiful Fluids, 2014. Put that as your new banner in your corner of the world. Bring in the dysentery demographic. or not. Perhaps a bit brusque even for us to discuss with so many fine citizens reading. We’ll pass.

      Thank you for the kind words, and I keep my eye on your space there. It’s always a pleasure reading your words. Let me know when the book comes out, I will fly down to get my personalized copy. Make it two. I’ll leave one on the coffee table for company (note to self: buy coffee table).

      Big cranberry squish to you and yours

      Paul

  6. Paul, if there is one thing that no one will ever say about you it is this: no one will ever say that you don’t think an issue through. I will start a post and think, “alright, this is the one, I will have nothing in common with this topic!” And then I will read and realize that you’ve led me down the path to complete familiarity.

    Having said all of that, I consider myself an excellent gift giver (so, obviously, this is the type of post that, at the outset, I thought, nothing to do with me!). But as I read, I really related to the idea of the ego-driven. Whether I am a genius or mentally retarded at gift-giving, at the end of the day, who is it about… me or the recipient? The fact that I have identified myself as a creative gift-giver pretty much gives that answer away.

    The bad news: the bulk of my gifts have been given for this particular holiday. The good news: there are still a few left, and there is the rest of my life to take this valuable lesson with me and apply it.

    So much wisdom, in so little time… I am doing a Paul-athon right now, and I am loving it!

    1. Oh Josie – love when you comment as you show me things that I didn’t see in my first scribblings. Yes – the question is who is it about? I think we do delight in watching the young ones open with reckless abandon and who are enchanted by the magic of it all. Those are the ones we don’t worry about. It’s the neighbour, the boss, the person you sort of know but don’t really know, the spouse, the sister-in-law who is a fab gift giver like you. So what’s the deeper thing? Or is it reading too much into it all? I don’t know. I know it’s common to stress about it…but I guess that I question all these stressors. I question because we know what stressors are like to people like us – magnified way out of proportion.

      I am envious of your Jedi-like way of purchasing gifts. But that’s okay. I’ll take it. And so should you. Nothing boastful about being good at that, Josie. Enjoy it. Don’t play small. I mention all that in a more playful jab at myself. I wish I could be like you in that regard (well, in many regards too!). So run with it (but don’t run with scissors).

      Thanks again for being here, Josie 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  7. The best parts about this blessed gift-giving season are the reactions I don’t have to see when my boss and her children are opening the presents I have reluctantly chosen for them. I simply hide my gifts as far back under the tree as I possibly can in hopes they don’t discover them until I am long gone and have returned after the New Year. When it comes to buying stuff for others, I sometimes cringe at the thought, but I’ve learned that this only happens when it comes to people I have to impress (mostly at the workplace because my boss’s family is quite wealthy).
    But my own family and Felix (my beau) are much easier on the heart. It sounds cliché, but Christmas is about giving. I don’t care what I get; as long as I continue to get a hefty bonus from my boss, my family can give me a dreidel for all I care (I’m Catholic=). It’s the thought that counts, right?
    Great post as always, Paul! Felix forgot to write on my Christmas card this year so that was a big party fowl on his part. He’s still suffering the repercussions.

    1. Ah poor Felix! ha ha…I feel for him. I hope you let him out of the dog house soon 🙂

      I too really don’t care what I get. This year my haul was some socks, a toothbrush, a coffee card and some lotto scratchy tickets. That’s all. I don’t care – it’s really for the kids, yes? it’s watching them get excited and the excitement building up over the days preceding Christmas morning. Everything after that is gravy.

      But I get what you say about trying to impress. The hardest is trying to impress someone who we feel is hard to impress. That’s usually when I would dial it down. Take the pressure off from inside. But then again, I have never given a gift to a boss. In my industry, we don’t normally do that – it’s not expected. Or, if we do, it was always (and I mean always) a bottle of something. Glug glug material.

      Thanks for being here, as usual, Gina. Love your presence here and on the ol Twitter – always a friendly face out there 🙂

      Have a wonderful New Year’s too 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

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