1. Did you receive any unexpected gifts over the Christmas holiday?
Well, my mother put crucifixes in the kids’ Christmas stockings. That was unexpected. I know she’s fearful for my children’s souls because they live in the house of heathens but she said the real reason was that she wanted to teach the kids that Christmas meant more than Santa. They’re 3 and 2. They know Linus’ soliloquy by heart, that’s good enough for me and it should be for everyone else. To keep the peace, I gently suggested that perhaps a Baby Jesus doll swaddled in some cute sheep pajamas would have been a better route than a gruesome image of the crucifixion. Besides, isn’t that Easter? Fortunately, Nana had many other lovely gifts on hand to distract them from Jesus’ painful death. Good grief.
2. Who was the easiest person on your list to buy presents for?
Vito. I slipped him some chicken jerky and a new stuffed gorilla and he was so happy he was humping throw pillows. While the kids were very specific about what they wanted, many of the toys were so aggressively marketed in the post-Diego, pre-Wonder Pets slot that they were unfindable. And then there's James. I've known him for 10 years so I'm used to his anal, often eccentric, high-maintenance preferences. In the late 90s, he handpicked and pointed out a pair of windpants he wanted. I purchased them and wrapped them up a few weeks later for his birthday. He unwrapped them, only to find upon closer inspection that they had tiny zippers in places he deemed "odd." That said, I've known what I've been up against for many years. But when he requested a new pair of jeans and some ties this Christmas, I decided to go all out. I got him a few Brioni ties and a nice pair of Citizens jeans. He loved the ties. He tried on the jeans and they looked fantastic on him. BUT!!!! While he found the modern cut of the jean "a bit girlish," the barely there swish on the back pockets was the true dealbreaker. They're being returned for a new hockey stick.
3. Your favorite holiday noshes?
JAL’s Christmas cookies. And, as BG put it, an “Eastie Feastie:" a big nosh in EB featuring beef tenderloin & shrimp, proscuitto & stuffed artichokes, tiramisu & Italian cookies, and vino vino vino.
4. Did you send Christmas cards this year?
Yes. Trying to get a photo of the kids and Vito has always been an exercise in futility. Our card this year was supposed to be this photo of the kids running on the beach in Scituate, with an inset photo of Vito sitting on our front stairs. But at the last minute, we realized that Boulos had a big ol’ smash in his pants in the first picture and Vito had a lipstick woody in the second.
Luckily, some genuis at Hallmark created the three-photo option. Thank you.
5. What are you doing New Years Eve?
Chilling. Making the South Shore rounds. Chilling some more. Then banging on some pots and pans at midnight.