Technically speaking, this is a Christmas story that was posted by Yrsa Sigurdardottir on MURDER IS EVERYWHERE last December.  I am preparing this blog entry on November 15, my son’s birthday.

There is nothing my son would have loved more than receiving a skull when he was 13 or 14.  So in his honor, and in gratitude that he has grown out of that phase, I offer Yrsa’s very funny and oh so familiar take on holiday shopping.

Shopping (with gusto)

I have just returned from the States where I managed in most part to finalise my Christmas shopping. Unfortunately the trip left me a tad tired and almost unable to type, although this has nothing to with jet lag or anything respectable as my fingers are simply dulled from all of the credit card swipes involved. Thankfully however, I am a pro at this, as practice is said to make perfect and our Christmas present list has been way too long for way too long. In all we hand out about 60 presents, please note that the exact figure will not be presented in the case my husband reads this. He has enough ammunition in his arsenal at the moment, having accompanied me on my USA mission and partaken in the five day frenzy, albeit less enthusiastic and a whole lot less inspired than I was. At the low-point, having spent seven and a half consecutive hours in the same mall, he threatened to renounce our religion, join the legion of Hare Kristna monks and simply give everything we own away in one shot. This was avoided by our stepping outside for a brief moment to smoke a couple of cigarettes, before going back inside to continue buying. 

I wish I could say that our inflated Christmas list is my sister’s fault, seeing that she has eight children. Although this is part of the explanation there are other aspects which do nothing to lessen the effect of her fertility, the largest contributor being our three pets that began to give presents as well, somewhere along the line. As these animals have no taste at all, not to mention money, credit card or other means of paying for anything, the chore of selecting and buying the presents they are going to give lands in my lap – and more unwillingly, my husband’s. This pet present thing might seem strange to some but in our defence we have to date thwarted all attempts of the stray cat we feed to enter into the same deal and will firmly stand our ground when it comes to this critter.

Anyway, the trip was a huge success as we only have a handful of presents left. My husband is slowly regaining his senses, basically at the same pace as the blood returns to my fingertips. So as not to seem cold I should point out that I fully understand his annual physiological difficulty in dealing with this money-burning exercise. I personally recall having gone insane on the same sort of trip a few years ago; on the penultimate day when I had filled all of the suitcases I had brought along. Standing over them in the hotel room with a whole day of buying left, I seriously considered throwing away some of the stuff I bought at the onset of the trip to make room for new stuff I had yet to buy. By some miracle I came to my senses and solved the dilemma by purchasing another suitcase.

There is only one thing I regret from the trip we just got back from and that is a roll of candy striped wrapping paper that I was forced to leave behind at the luggage carousel at the Keflavík airport, after having carried it gently through the various security checks and carefully storing it in the overhead bin during the plane ride as it was supersized and too large to fit into any of our suitcases. Begrudgingly I gave in to my husband’s refusal to walk past the customs officials, pushing two luggage trolleys with the eight humongous bags we brought over, if I was going to add insult to injury by waving the roll around. He said I might as well install a battery powered neon sign on my head saying: “Crazy Christmas shopper coming through”. With no wrapping paper the customs guys might think we were circus or Vaudeville performers on tour, travelling with costumes that involved big hats, clown shoes or something to that effect. He was probably right seeing that we got past customs without any complications, but I still feel a pang of pain when I recall the lonely roll going round and around in the hope that someone would pick it up and put it to good use. Seeing that every single passenger that got off the plane was also importing way more that allowed and thus in the same situation as us, this is unlikely to have occurred.

So, being the seasoned present giver that I am, you might wonder, dear reader, what is the best present I have ever handed out. Then again you might not, but I am going to tell you anyway. The present I believe most successful is a human skull that I gave my husband for Christmas, long enough ago for the statue of limitations of the offense involved to have kicked in and thus making it safe for me to divulge the info on a public website. The skull was about one thousand years old so no murdering was involved, at least not present day murder. I got it in Canada and smuggled it into Iceland, dying of stress when passing the same customs guys that get all hawkeyed in the presence of wrapping paper. If the bag containing the skull had been thrown onto the x-ray belt used to peek into suspicious bags I would have had some serious explaining to do and would most likely have been thrown in jail and incarcerated for the time it took to conduct the age testing that would have proven me a non-murderer. But luckily the bag got through and the skull as well, along with a couple of teeth that came with it and had become dislodged while the bones were in the possession of the previous owner. Once back home I took the skull to a dentist who lodged the teeth back in place, phoning me shortly after joyously admitting this unusual patient, to tell me that the missing front tooth had not been among the loose teeth I had given him. He suggested he wait for a front tooth to become available or putting in a prostate if this did not come to fruition. Luckily, albit weirdly, enough someone did show up to have their front tooth pulled out and the skull now proudly smiles to all passing our CD cabinet – although I moved it to a sofa for the purpose of the photograph accompanying this text. Why? Because the CD cabinet is now littered with the partial contents of our suitcases, as is every other vertical flat surface in the house.

I then leave it up to you to figure out which of the two prominent front teeth (no lips to minimize the protusion) is Icelandic and which ancient Canadian

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  1. kathy d. says:

    That is hilarious. Thanks for posting that.
    I can’t figure out why her spouse would have been happy with a human skull as her gift to him. What is that about? Oh, well, can’t figure out other people’s relationships nor taste.
    Glad your son passed his yearning-for-skulls’ years.

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