Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mrs. Bootleg's (Christmas) Booty

Hope everyone had a nice holiday.

My Christmas season didn't really begin in earnest until Christmas Eve. Y'see, I'd spent the previous three weeks giving my last few paychecks directly to the Disney-Pixar Cars conglomerate. The movie came out 18 months ago, but the moi-chandising continues unabated.

How grotesque did it get?

I actually purchased not one, but two unauthorized bootleg(!) Cars toys from eBay depicting characters that aren't even out yet. Trust me…none of you really want to know how much we spent on the boy. Let's just say the amount of swag that Jalen had under the tree was directly proportional to the amount of attention he spent on the first…gift…he…opened.

Jalen's Parents: "Don't you want to open your other presents?"

Jalen: "No."

We thought it would be cool to have him first open the ONE car he wanted more than any other. With camcorder rolling and me handling the still photography, Jalen took his car and left the festive living room to race his toy around circular track of our dining room table.

So, with the knowledge that just $3.99 could've made our son's Christmas, the wife and I proceeded to exchange our own gifts. Here's her haul:

Victoria's Secret Gift Card: The gift card has become the longest-running in-joke of our relationship. I have friends and co-workers, male and female, who can't believe I buy them for anyone other than a casual acquaintance whose birthday I forgot. I buy gift cards now to spite these people. Anyways, Mrs. Bootleg is one of the few women on earth – outside of WWE Diva bra n' panty matches – who insists that her bra n' panty matches, so there ya go. (Hmm, was that clever bit of wordplay worth the revelation of my wife's underwear routine? YES!)

Ann Taylor's Loft Gift Card: See above. Oddly enough, I'd sooner buy draws for Mrs. Bootleg than a blouse (or whatever "shirts for girls" are called these days).

Digital Picture Frame: There was a recent issue of Consumer Reports that featured a story (and product rankings) of this newest gadget fad. Just take the memory card from your digital camera and insert it into the frame. Boom! Instant slideshow for your wall or nightstand. Let's hope this gift doesn't meet the same neglected fate of her 30GB iPod with all of 80 songs.

Ceramic Hair Curlers: Amazingly, this would only be the third most embarrassing gift that I purchased this Christmas. Read on.

Day Spa Gift Card: For years, I'd made the mistake of buying full day-long packages for the wife. In reality, all Mrs. Bootleg sees is a "get out of mothering for free" furlough. I could put $5 on it and she'd still use it as soon as possible, happy to pay the exorbitant difference.

San Diego State Apparel: The wife wanted an SDSU sweatshirt from the Aztec Shop – an official licenser, which means the consumer is paying anywhere from 2-4 times more than you'd expect for a regular ol' red sweatshirt. Why? Cuz it's got "SDSU" across the front in big block letters. Fortunately, I was able to save $42.95, since the only sweatshirts they had were hoodies (I'm barely able to still pull those off – figuratively and literally, while the wife at three years my senior is officially too old for them). She ended up with a SDSU warm-up suit, instead. For the soccer mom-in-training.

Winnie the Pooh Xmas Ornament: Among the items in an awesome holiday package from That Nick'a Family (which included the clear winner in "Aaron's Favorite Xmas Gift – 2007") were a pair of colorful ornaments. Mrs. Bootleg tried to guilt me by noting that they had bought more for our Christmas tree in one day than I ever had in 100 years of dating/marriage. So, since the wife opted to talk out of turn so brazenly, she sacrificed another gift from me with one for the tree. It could've been jewelry. I hope she's learned her lesson.

Stocking Stuffers: MORE gift cards from assorted vendors and some kind of coconut butter facial wash "sampler" that still cost me $10/container. Doesn't "sample" imply that it's free? When did this change? And, you had to be there when I axed the lady on the sales floor for this item as she tried to sell me the $50 "gift set". Second most embarrassing item I bought this Xmas.

All in all, I'd say she made out like a bandit. And, that's even considering that she made me buy a gift – on her behalf – for the daughter of one of her girlfriends. It was a frilly princess gown from the Enchanted movie that I held under my arm for almost 30 minutes while waiting in line at Toys R Us. Worse than all the tampons and panty liners I've picked up over the years, combined.

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