One of the items on my wish list for Christmas this year was new slippers. My old ones, that I absolutely LOVE, are falling apart. I thought ‘Santa’ might like to pick out a new pair for me.
On Christmas morning, low and behold, I got new slippers. I opened them all excitedly because I couldn’t wait to see what my new slippers looked like. I couldn’t wait to see what ‘Santa’ chose.
When I opened them I was grinning, but when all the wrapping paper was gone, I was stunned. They were UGLY. I didn’t know if ‘Santa’ had played a bad joke on me or what, but the slippers are not me at all. Of course I smiled and acted all thrilled in front of my kids, but I wasn’t going to pretend to like them just for ‘Santa’s’ sake in case he asked me later.
‘Santa’ didn’t pick up on my disdain, so I didn’t bother to voice it. I set the slippers aside and we kept opening gifts. After we cleaned up the wrapping paper I set them on the coffee table and stared at them. Maybe I could learn to like them, I thought.
But they were just SO different from my old ones. My comfy, familiar plaid flannel scuffs from L.L. Bean that I’d had for years. The new ones looked like they were the last ones on the clearance rack from a department store.
I was truly befuddled. Did ‘Santa’ not know my sense of style? Is this what ‘Santa’ thought I’d like? I just couldn’t understand it.
I stared at them some more as I drank my coffee. Then I got the scissors, I cut off the tags, and I put them on. I put them on. Just like that, I put them on.
Terrible, I thought. These are fucking terrible.
Later ‘Santa’ acknowledged that I was wearing my new slippers.
“How do they fit?”
I opted not to tell ‘Santa’ that I didn’t like them because I felt like I hadn’t given the slippers a fair chance yet. I wanted to embrace the fact that Christmas is about giving and a gift is a gift and I should like this gift because ‘Santa’ picked it out for me. I decided I’d be grateful for that.
They are relatively comfortable, but they are just so… just so… UGLY. But I need to get to know the new ones better. The sole isn’t as hardy as my old ones and they have ridiculous fur around the ankles. The more I studied them the more I thought they looked part Eskimo and part Native American. I wasn’t into the union.
Later in the day I caught myself slipping them off and shoving them aside when my mom took a picture of me sitting on the fireplace. I don’t want these godforsaken slippers in the picture, I thought. I could already imagine the excuses I’d make for them when I had visitors.
But I put them back on and kept shuffling around the house and looking down at the imposters on my feet. Then it hit me: I was acting like an old person. Like an old person that can’t adapt to change. So I decided a few things right then and there:
- I am going to give them a chance.
- I am going to get to know them better over time.
- I am going to learn to like them because ‘Santa’ picked them out.
- I am going to accept the fact that ‘Santa’ does not know my style at all.
It’s been a week, and I am still wearing them. Still staring at them from time to time with a sigh, but I have to admit I am getting used to them. Maybe I have to view them from different eyes. Maybe I need to be open to the idea that there’s more out there than my old slippers. Maybe I can embrace this new style.
And I’m trying not to view my decisions as ‘settling’ even though I know there are other slippers out there (hint: L.L. Bean) that I’d like better. Instead of settling, I am trying to let go of my original vision to see what these new slippers have in store.
If ‘Santa’ ever asks me if I like them, I’ll tell him the truth, but if slipper talk does not come up I am not brining it up. Why bother. A gift is a gift and my feet are warm. For that I am grateful.
For ‘Santa’ too.