Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dreaming of a Black Christmas

My mother has always had a very specific idea in her mind of how I should dress and what I should look like—right down to the length and color of my hair, which in her view should be long, layered and loaded with caramel-tinted highlights. (If you’ve ever met an Iranian American middle-aged mom, this will be of no surprise to you.) Unfortunately for her, my personal style as a teen was heavily influenced by grunge, punk rock, riot grrl and indie aesthetics, which typically led to hairstyles that were short, uneven and multicolored. As you might imagine, this led to years of mutual frustration, clashes over personal taste and loads of awful holiday gifts. It didn’t matter how many times I told her I wasn’t ever, ever, ever going to wear anything pink or covered in rhinestones. I still got bedazzled shirts, gold jewelry, knock-off Fendi purses and other items more suited to my cheerleading peers than to me—a young Kathleen Hannah wannabe.

So how did we solve this? Well, we didn’t…but the short answer is: BLACK.

I realized one day that half of the stuff she got me wouldn’t be so bad if it was much plainer or all black, so I told her and it kind of worked. I still get weird gifts here and there, but I think she’s gotten the hang of it. Pictured above are a couple of cute items she’s blessed me with recently. She still wishes I’d grow my hair out longer, but there’s no more crying over holiday gifts.

If you have a picky person in your life (I admit I’m picky!), I recommend keeping it simple and considering their favorite colors and brands. I would stay away from jewelry unless you are confident they’ll like it. I think the most important thing, however, is putting some honest-to-goodness thought into what will make them happy, and giving yourself enough time to seek it out. I’d rather give something as simple as a handwritten letter over some silly tchotchke any day of the year.

Good luck out there with giving and getting presents this year!

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