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Tis the season to be spendy

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POSTED December 1, 2010 2:45 a.m.
My cousin got booted from the Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez title fight a few weeks back for trying to break up a girl-fight in the stands moments before the main event.

During breakfast Thanksgiving morning he told us the details, between our fits of laughter, with an incredulous tone and a touch of embarrassment.

That story never got stale, so the joke provided leftovers for days.

As for the Thanksgiving event itself, we discussed miscellany from football to chickens, McMenamins in Portland to catfish ponds in Kansas and the obviousness of toys in the happy meals being the unhealthy choice, not parents taking kids to McDonald’s in the first place.

When it was time to shovel the 50 pounds of turkey carved by the doctor host and veterinarian cousin, the twenty-some of us grabbed hands and gave took turns giving thanks. It was certainly the antithesis of what many come to dread with regards to holidays.

There was no familial rebellion or bickering here.

We were instead thankful for health, family, friends, time with loved ones that have passed into the intangible, our soldiers, good food and someone even mentioned salmon.

Food and football digested, the transition from poignant words to monetary gifts began. There was Black Friday, Small Business Saturday in which people spend whatever change is left in their pockets once they wake up and Robin Hood-inspired Cyber Monday, in which people steal work time to give to their friends.

It is the most wonderful time of year.

Noted philosopher Michael Scott articulates this best: “Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say, ‘Hey man, I love you this many dollars worth’.”

It’s a wildly popular mantra, as Black Friday seemingly brings more people together than Thanksgiving and Christmas themselves. I heard rumors of people paying for hotels so they could be closer to the savings. Hopefully there was a sale on common-sense.

I did my own little Black Friday, but it was on Sunday and the gift was only $16.

I figured my nine week old nephew was old enough for his first bow and quiver of sharp arrows, but my brother didn’t, so I went the clothing route. Benjamin has a ton of little-little kid stuff to wear, so just little kid clothes would work.

He’ll have to wait about ten months until he grows into the items I send to Guam, but it will be worth it.

My family has never been really big on gifts. I usually request a delay on mine; asking for gas money, frequent flyer miles or lures for the summer in Alaska, because there is no greater gift than the gift of Alaska in summer.

This waiting thing is ironic, because I used to be horribly impatient with gifts. My brother once put chains and rocks in a big box and wrapped it. I checked its dimensions against catalogs and even cautiously shook it.

Upon tearing in to it I found the worthless contents and proceeded to lecture my brother about how much I had spent, and how it was the equivalent of six months allowance for a fifth grader. It was a Dunder-Mifflin Christmas until he pointed out the gift card at the bottom.


It makes for a funny holiday story at my expense now. It’s not as good as dodging haymakers from hammered chicks at a UFC fight, but not too bad.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail
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