I have been racking my brains trying to come up with a gift for Willy from the lils for Father’s day. It’s not that we couldn’t just buy him practical stuff that he will use, or make him something crafty from the lils, I just like to buy him something that I think he will want and NOT buy for himself. In my list book, one of the lists is the gift idea list, and there is a big fat nothing associated with him. Father’s day is less than a week away, and now, more than anything, I am afraid that we will pick a “steamer”.
The steamer has a long tradition in my family, one that I was part of from the beginning. Over fifteen years ago I was frantically looking for gift ideas for my brother-in-law. His birthday falls on Christmas day, and I was two ideas short with only a few shopping days left. I consulted my sister, and she gave me a couple of ideas, including a kitchen appliance. I ran out to Consumer’s Distributing to pick it up, grabbing the extended warranty. I wasn’t even going to tell him this, because I *knew* it would die days after the warranty would expired. He has my luck that way, and this would be a lovely surprise when it did die!
Christmas day rolled around, and the birthday gifts were last. I watched his face in anticipation, hoping that it would reveal his happiness at my choice. Instead I got a puzzled look, followed by him saying “This is really nice, but why did you buy it for me?” I think he thought that I had given him the wrong person’s gift. This started off a humourous discussion between my sister and BIL about whether or not he had said he wanted it. Regardless of who had misinterpreted who, it was clear that he didn’t need a vegetable steamer. It was returned and a tradition born.
It is not uncommon to hear one family member say to another, just prior to presenting a gift, “I am not sure, this might be a steamer”. Or to have a recipient, upon contemplating a gift that they have received, look up and say, “I am sorry, but it’s a steamer”. It’s actually really helpful, in my opinion. You can let the giver know that it is not appropriate for you without really hurting feelings. It’s absolutely clear when you call it a steamer.
Even though he wasn’t in the family when the original steamer was gifted, Willy and I have adopted the practice. We range between the blunt approach, when you open the package and just say “steamer” before moving on to the next, and the more delicate dance around the issue before finally admitting that a gift is a steamer. He favours the latter, and sometimes takes a while to admit that something is a steamer. I usually have to call him on it, and even then he will try to make an item work for him before finally admitting defeat.
Here I am. It’s not the gift that I purchase, but the associated the gift of time to play with something new, or an opportunity for exploring something with the lils that I am shooting for here. I so don’t want to give a steamer this year!!