On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I undergo the ritual metamorphosis into a month-long embodiment of Buddy the Elf. With candy canes, lollipops and glitter galore, I out-holiday cheer even the jolliest of souls. I’ll dedicate my ipod and television to Bing Crosby, devour a daily dose of candy and maple syrup and read the Polar Express at least 25 times.
Yes, I am one of those. Get over it.
As we toured the Yellowstone trails for the last time yesterday, my teammates and I shared with each other all of our quirky family traditions for this time of year. At first, the talk got me completely amped, but as it went on, a creeping feeling of anxiety began to flood my veins.
Presents. I don’t have any yet. For anyone. I don’t even have ideas. We established yesterday that presents are the least important part of the holidays, but even with all the Disney family feeling speak, to the giver, presents take some priority.
As I’ve begun my panicked search for the perfect gifts for my parents, brothers, teammates, friends and boyfriend (who I know is reading this and who should rest assured a present will be found and it will be magnificent!), I wondered if anyone was feeling the same stress in my name. I wondered if anyone thought, “Gee, what do you get the person who has everything, but actually has nothing, but thinks they have everything?”
Fear not, my friends. What follows is a how-to on holiday shopping for the travelling athlete. Refer to these DOs and DON’Ts (ok, mostly DON’Ts) on how to instill merriment in your favorite neighborhood skier.
DON’T get us gear.
Unless we specifically ask for a specific device that we specifically cannot afford or get from a sponsor, allow us a reprieve from ski paraphernalia. Like hats. Please, not another hat.
DON’T give us anything that requires any responsibility whatsoever.
Even the most devout animal lover spells disaster for a baby shitzu on the road. Watering plants is certainly not an option. Even a cactus could end up the victim of a wayward sidedish in a snowstorm. I’m still having trouble registering my heart rate monitor online. In a nutshell, if it requires extraneous effort on our part, it likely won’t make it to the start line.
DON’T give us anything heavy or dense.
“Wow, I’ve always wanted a granite orb!” If it’s going to make our duffles over 50lbs, that means we’ll have to carry it through airports. If we have to carry it through airports, that means our arms will get tired. If our arms get tired, we won’t pull ourselves up hills quite as fast. Then we’ll be grumpy.
DON’T give us anything wieldy.
Same rule that applies to density, if it doesn’t fit in our pack, we’ll have to carry it, everywhere. In packed vans, overhead compartments, hotel rooms and carrier lines, that surfboard could end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
So, what does that leave us? Amongst the list are inflatable furniture, plastic animal figurines, socks and underwear. I would never turn down jewelry or a travel donation, but these items still leave more to be desired.
This year, I realize more than ever that what skiers want most at the holidays is a little bit of home. To me, that could be a photograph or a pillowcase, it could be a bag of huckleberries or a box of chocolate roll. On the longest nights of the year when we are so far away from those we love, anything, however small, that will bring us home is the perfect present. In the immortal words of Mariah Carey, all I want for Christmas is you, and if I can’t have that all the time, a simple reminder will suffice.
That or an all inclusive resort stay in Brazil. You know. Whichever.