welcome to winterfest

Today, I think I finally discovered the True Meaning of Christmas.

My ex-with-benefits was in a pretty bad mood. Feeling alone, unloved, detached, all that wonderful stuff that can easily spiral down into doing terrible things to yourself. I tried to console and cheer them up, but this was a strong bout of that sort of thing. And then I remembered: last week I’d stumbled across some cute merch for one of their favorite video games, and impulsively ordered a little figure of their favorite character. (Robot, from Nuclear Throne, if you’re curious.) It’d been sitting on my drawing board for a couple days, waiting for me to get around to finding a little toy shovel (Nick’s main weapon in the game) and wrap it up nicely.

But screw that. I gave it to Nick, and it cheered them way the hell up. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things – it’s a twelve-dollar piece of injection-molded plastic – but it’s a symbol that I care enough to know that this is the Right Toy. And that’s maybe what all these midwinter holidays are supposed to do: give you a chance to make it obvious, one way or another, that you give enough of a shit about someone to know some of the obscure things they love, and maybe encapsulate that in a physical totem so they have something to remind them that someone gives a flying fuck when the dark, dreary tail end of an already-shitty year rises up and smacks them in the face with suicidal thoughts.

And yeah, maybe this isn’t new to you, maybe you’ve been doing this half your adult life, maybe you have a rich collection of little totems of your social network – but this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, after all the Family Togetherness holidays degenerated into me and my mom and my grandmother sitting around and lamenting how many people in our lives were dead, over the Ceremonial Turkey.

Anyway. Small random gifts around winter, but well away from the Obligatory Gift Holiday. It’s a nice idea.

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