I never know what I want for Christmas. In my family, Christmas Wish Lists usually start circulating around at the beginning of November. Everyone likes to have their shopping done by the time we all congregate at Thanksgiving but I'm historically known to be lucky if I get mine e-mailed out to everyone before December 20.
It's not that I'm lazy or procrastinate (well, I mean I don't procrastinate in this particular area), it's just that for the past five years or so, there's just not been a whole lot of material things that I've wanted. When I was a kid, a G.I. Joe tank, a Lego set, or a video game was all I needed under the Christmas tree but I've obviously outgrown those things (except of course for the video games) and now my Wish List contains more, shall we say, "expensive" items like a six figure salary or a brand new Jeep Wrangler.
Try and fit those into your little sack, Santa.
I already have all the newest electronics that I've wanted and I've never been too big on asking for clothes as a gift because I'm the guy that's still trying to get sweatshirts included as a legitimate option of "Dressy Casual" to catch on.
A couple of months ago I honestly had no idea what I wanted for Christmas and was beginning to think that this might be the first year that I just didn't ask for anything. I didn't want any of my family or friends to waste time and money on me for things I didn't really want or need.
And then a buddy of mine gave me the greatest idea ever.
He said that every year he just has his family go in together to purchase him the entire NFL football package on satellite TV; and even though he sacrifices opening a gift on Christmas morning, he gets to watch every pro football game that is televised for the entire football season
How did I not think of this first?
I was surprised how receptive my family was to the idea (I think they're just tired of waiting for me to come up with something) but they kept reminding me that if I did decide on the football package, that would be it; there would be nothing else from them come December 25.
Willing to try anything once, I rolled the dice and took the plunge. I was sacrificing my right as a middle-class American to open gifts on Christmas morning for television and football? Two of my favorite things, mind you, but still a risk.
What pushed me over the top was really just one factor. I can't stand being stuck with the games that the local affiliates air based on what they consider to have the most regional interest. There has been absolutely nothing more annoying to me than having to decide whether to go plunk $25 down at a restaurant to watch the best game of the week or just follow the score online at home because the only choice I have is the Redskins-Panthers on one channel or the Ravens-Jets on the other.
Um? I'll take: C) There are no winners here.
On the first Sunday of the season, I just spent the afternoon in awe. I wasn't just a kid in a candy shop, I had the keys to the whole factory. It was almost too overwhelming because I didn't know how long to stay with one game and then I felt like I wasn't staying long enough because I wound up missing some big plays.
After telling my parents how much I enjoyed the day, my thoughtful mom couldn't help but continue to worry that I would eventually regret the decision. It probably wasn't until about week four when she asked again that I realized that this really was the perfect Christmas present.
Usually on Christmas morning you receive a gift, appreciate it, enjoy it, and begin to use it or wear it or whatever; but you really only have that one initial moment of opening it and experiencing it for the first time. Having the football TV package this year has been like having that moment every Sunday for 17 weeks.
And I wasn't even ready for the most amazing added bonus of all. Beyond getting to see every good game and not having to sit through a bad one each week, I have yet to see a commercial all season long. When the game I'm watching goes to a break, I'm off to another channel. I've even gotten to the point where I don't really even sit through a team huddle anymore. As soon as the current play is whistled dead, I've mastered the timing to where I can check in with at least two more match-ups before the team lines up for their next play.
I am now the poster child for Attention Deficit Disorder.
For the first time in my life I've seen every key game, every big play, and every overtime thriller of the season, all in the comfort of my own home. I'm proud to say that my gamble has paid off epically and even though I will have nothing to unwrap on Christmas morning, I'm not worried. I will still be basking in the glow of the greatest present I've ever received.
And if nothing else, at least I already know what I want for Christmas next year.