Every year, my mom asks what I want for Christmas, and every year I reply with “nothing.” But does she listen? No. She’s a mom, and there’s no way she’s not buying her oldest child something for the holidays. This yearly conversation (which often happens just before Halloween) makes me uncomfortable because I’d rather not have her—or anyone—buy me anything for Christmas, my birthday, or whenever. That’s not to say I don’t want things, but often my wish list is filled with non-tangible items not found at the mall. Unfortunately, my mom can’t wrap “everyone go vegan” with a bow or stuff “end world hunger” into a stocking, which means I have to come up with something she can present to me in gift-form.
Thankfully, this year I found a loophole. I’m a bit upset that it took me so long to think of this, but I decided to give my mother a list of items so expensive that she’d never buy them for me mixed with things no one can purchase. It’s going to be the best Christmas yet!
Perhaps a $40 spiralizer is within my mother’s budget, but tack on the $99.95 spiralizer attachments from Williams-Sonoma, and I’m getting a can opener from Target.
2. An avocado tree
Giving me avocado seeds wouldn’t be that difficult, but I don’t want seeds—I want an avocado tree. A fully-producing, already-mature tree. And, because it’s Christmas, I want her to plant it. I could live to be 136, and there’d be no chance she’d ever do this.
3. Tweed denim-style jacket from Brave GentleMan
I think I’d look pretty good in this jacket made from Brazilian recycled cotton and recycled poly. My mom would agree, seeing as how I could wear only a lei and ankle socks to a job interview and she’d say they complement my hazel eyes. Then she’d see the $375 price tag, turn around, and never again acknowledge the coat.
4. A time machine
Do you know how frustrating it is not to remember the date of the most important decision you ever made? I do. You see, I gave up meat on Thanksgiving 1997, but I don’t remember when I went vegan because it was a process that took a few years. However, if I had a time machine, I’d go back to that day when I was standing with the refrigerator door open in my Long Beach, CA apartment and, to my then-girlfriend, said, “Hey, I think we’re vegan.” That way, whenever people ask me how long I’ve been vegan, I’d have a definitive answer and not “well, I think it’s been about 12 years. Could be 13. Maybe 14.”
5. A flat stomach
At 37, I’d like to think I’m in pretty decent shape. For once in my life, I have definition in my upper body, my calf muscles are on fleek, and I can do a pull-up. However, I’ve got a stomach, and all the crunches, step-ups, squats, and farmers’ walks in the world aren’t getting rid of it. Come to think of it, my father has one, too. If my mom comes through with the time machine, maybe I’ll ask her to have my dad do some planks just before conceiving me.
6. Xyrena 66
My poor mom. I’m sure she wants grandchildren, but look at the example I’m setting for my two younger brothers. I’m 37, I don’t want to procreate, and my recent definition of “romance” is when my cat snuggles me in bed. And here I am, asking for a cologne called Xyrena 66. Made by Los Angeles-based cruelty-free fragrance line Xyrena, this new scent is described as being “reminiscent of a gas station.” Sorry mom, but I think I’m going to be alone forever.
7. This Shirt in a Men’s Design
The “Cow Hugger” design from Herbivore Clothing Co has been my favorite vegan t-shirt for years. Sadly, I’ve never owned it because the closest it’s been produced in a style I could wear was a deep v-neck, and, trust me, no one needs to see me in a deep v-neck. I’ve inquired numerous times about Herbivore making this in a men’s style that doesn’t show my pale, sparsely-hairy chest, but so far I’ve had no luck. I’m guessing my mom won’t fare much better. But a boy can dream.
8. Bi-fold wallet by SIDONIEYANG
Forget the fact that this wallet is $68. The fact that my mom would have to sign up for Etsy makes this gift as unattainable as me growing seven inches overnight. Still, if anyone else wants to buy me something, my current wallet is falling apart.
9. An apple
Or cookies. Or brownies. Ice cream. Beer. Any dessert, really, because if two endocrinologists, two primary care physicians, two nutritionists, and two dieticians can’t regulate my type one diabetes, then good luck, mom.
10. Dinner with my grandfather
Unless my mom has super powers of which I’m yet unaware, this definitely isn’t happening because my grandfather passed away the summer before I entered sixth grade. Before I was old enough to go to school, my grandmother would watch me during the day, and I’d run to the door whenever he came home from work. I’d wrap my pudgy little arms around his legs and squeeze, and we’d flash smiles the size of California across both of our faces. As a Scotsman, he never said no when I asked to kick a ball back and forth, and he’d let me win when we played cards. I remember the way it felt to rub my cheeks against the stubble on his sunken face. I can see the look in his eyes when, after he got sick, I’d run into his room, where he was lying on his side, waiting for me in bed. I still hear his accent, and there are times when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and get startled at how I resemble him. For more than two decades, seeing him again is what I’ve really wanted for Christmas.
Ryan Ritchie is a digital editor at VegNews.
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