Monday, February 1, 2010

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Not a new car. Not a piece of electronic equipment. Not jewelry or crystal or fragrance. Not music, or even books. No, the best Christmas present I have ever gotten is a pair of slippers.

I’d been asking Santa for slippers for years. Probably since we replaced the carpet with laminate. We keep our house pretty cool overnight in the winter and the temperature difference between our bedroom with the door closed and the rest of the house (largely open) is significant. The worst, of course, is the floor which, at 5:45 in the morning and 62 degrees Fahrenheit is a rude, daily reminder that I’m no longer unconscious.

Each year as the days grew shorter and the mornings became more chilly, I reiterated my desire for a pair of slippers. But in typical fashion, I never remembered to actually go and get any, nor to ask Santa for them with reasonable time left before Christmas. So every year I got great gifts (I’m on my third Bruegger’s bottomless mug, thanks to my wonderful husband) but no relief for my poor, frozen soles. And, of course, I would whine to Dan about how I hadn’t gotten what I’d really wanted and he would feel bad and then I would feel bad and then my feet would still be cold.

This year I remembered earlier, and made a pointed request for a pair of Lands’ End shearling slippers. I’d seen them in a catalog once. They looked warm. However, when Dan and I hopped out on line and found some, they were RIDICULOUSLY expensive! I hope it doesn’t make me sound cheap, or anything, but FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS for a pair of SLIPPERS?!? I threatened Dan to within an inch of his life that he was not to buy those slippers for me. He just rolled his eyes. Maybe Santa would take care of it.

By a few days before Christmas, Santa still hadn’t had a moment to find slippers for me, so he wandered into a Lands End Inlet. The supply of everything was pretty much decimated, but there was a big bin of “clearance” items and, upon digging through, Santa found one pair of navy blue, fleece slippers in a size XL. He was pretty sure they would be too big, but considering the state of the inventory, he thought it would be prudent to hang on to them. Originally more than $30, they’d been marked down to $14.50, so, bonus on the price. A helpful salesman confirmed that there were absolutely no slippers in the Land’s End online inventory in my size. He did suggest that Sears at the Mall of America carried their merchandise and offered to hold the XL pair until 9:00pm.

Off Santa went to The Mall, where he spent three hours parking, surveying that pathetic leftovers in the Sears slipper department, and wandering the miles of other shops, never finding quite what he was looking for. At last, he returned to the Inlet, resigned to purchasing not exactly what he wanted.

He was graced with a reassuring sign when, upon his return to the Inlet, he found the exact same parking spot from which he’d departed four hours earlier, vacant—just for him. The slippers were waiting at the check-out counter and, with growing certainty, Santa said he’d take them. In another Retail Christmas Miracle they rang up at an additional 40% off, bringing the total cost to just eight dollars and seventy cents. It was meant to be.

On Christmas Eve, Santa wrapped the gift in his trademark brown paper and tucked it under the tree alongside presents for each of the slumbering Moirs. He still wasn’t one hundred percent convinced, but knew he’d done his level best and that I would appreciate the effort. Back in his sleigh, he called to the team and headed off to the next house.

Christmas morning was a blur of bright packages, cheerful stuffed animals, and exuberant, pajama-clad anticipation. There were treasures for everyone, even the dog and the cats, and I received some lovely gifts from family and friends. Nothing, however, was as joyous as the moment I tore the brown paper off those slippers. Navy and not brown. Fleece and not shearling. Extra-large and not large. And absolutely perfect in every way.

My feet couldn’t be happier.

1 comment:

  1. I thought exactly the same thing when I got my Land's End shearling slippers: $45?! You must be joking! No way.

    Yes, way. And worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. Five years and 10 warm toes later, my feel STILL delight in my super-warm, toasty-cozy slippers. Ahh.