The high point of my family's Christmas celebration is the Yankee Swap. We've been doing one for a while now - since that glorious moment when we came to the collective realization that the adults don't really need to exchange present-presents.
So we started doing a Yankee Swap. There's a $20 limit, but if you keep your eyes open in the Brookfield Orchard "antique room", you can get a swell swap item - e.g., a monkey made out of a coconut - for a lot less than $20.
As is typical, our swap items were a combination of things that someone might actually want (as in the rate-busting $25 Border's gift card that my brother Rich, who can generally be counted on to bring something in the "actually want" category), and things that nobody would actually want (as in the Elvis Presley clock that Rich "won" and left behind). The Elvis clock would have made a good repeat Yankee Swap gift, but we instituted a rule that only the item voted the worst can be re-gifted the next year.
We had an initial three-way tie for worst this year. The coconut monkey was an early contender, but didn't get voted in as the worst. I'm not sure what did. Was it the statue of Winnie-the-Pooh in the mint green bunny outfit, an exceedingly heinous product of the amateur ceramics movement, or the "Purple Passion" shadow box, an exceedingly heinous product of the amateur art movement? (By the way, the "Purple Passion" is not our name for this work, it's the artist's.)
On Christmas Eve, once the Swap was over, someone mentioned that we'd all missed the opportunity to have purchased a Snuggie, which would have made a perfect Yankee Swap item.
Not familiar with the Snuggie? I'm not sure if this video will play, but if you want to see the ad, or, indeed, order up a few Snuggies for you and your loved ones, then head on over to Snuggie-ville. Oddly, the word "flare" appears in the URL - odd because it strikes me that if that Snuggie fleece got anywhere near an open flame it might, in fact, turn into a flare, or melt, like napalm, onto your skin. And I'll bet is some marshmallow goo drips on the Snuggie, it washes out real nice.
The Snuggie is basically a cheap fleece blank et with sleeves, or in their words, a super soft, luxurious fleece. The marketing message suggests that it is far easier to don a blanket with sleeves than a plain old blanket when one is a bit chilled, yet wants to get on with life as usual - reading, knitting, channel cruising, eating popcorn, toasting marshmallows.
I'm a New Englander. Make that a New Englander who lives in a building that was constructed in the 1860's. Make that a New Englander who lives in a building that was constructed in 1860's, and has 12 foot ceilings (hot air does rise, by the way) and four, double-wide 10 foot windows in the living room.
Baby, when it's cold outside, it's often drafty inside.
When it's drafty and cool, I have an easy-peasy way to handle it.
I put on a sweater. Or a Polarfleece. Or a snuggly bathrobe.
Or I throw an afghan - there's at least one per room, save for the kitchen and bathrooms - over my shoulders or lap.
And, even if I do have that afghan draped around my shoulders, I can still manage to read, knit, channel cruise, or eat popcorn. I suppose if we ever used our fireplace, I could also toast marshmallows while I'm wrapped in an afghan.
So what do I need a Snuggie for?
In fact, since I like to have my neck and back warm, I would think that the Snuggie would, in fact, have a major drawback: no back.
Those folks at the football game? Wouldn't they be better served by a warm coat, a scarf, and a lap blanket?
I also like the fact that the ad shows a range of ages - and both sexes - wearing a Snuggie.
Try as I might, I'm having difficulty picturing anyone I know in a Snuggie. But I'm especially having difficulty picturing any man I know.
Which I'm hoping will not prevent some member of my family of Yankee Swappers from ordering one up for next year's event. I'm not wild about any of the colors, but please no green: it looks really lame - not so much on the website, but definitely in the TV ad.
By the way, the Elvis clock didn't remain unclaimed for very long. On the Sunday after Christmas, it was swept up by our virtual nephew Sam when spotted it in the bathroom. I'm assuming it will grace some wall or other of his apartment in Brooklyn.
And, by the way, the topic of the Snuggie also came up on Sunday. As Sam pointed out, isn't a sweater a blanket with sleeves already? In fact, a more attractive and less cumbersome one.