Attire for the Fire

Dearly Beloved is making noises about finally sifting through the closets and drawers containing his too-large wardrobe.   As I’ve mentioned before, it isn’t that he’s a clothes horse.  He spent years working in the coldest parts of the Midwest, the steamiest parts of the south, and New York City, and since he has maintained the same size for decades, the clothes kept getting jammed into closets and drawers.

The first round of elimination will be simple:  get rid of the fireside wardrobe.

If you’re picturing sweaters with suede patches on the sleeves and corduroy pants,  you’re not even close.  This is an assemblage of clothing he has received as gifts and never used over the years.   They don’t fit, are not his style, or are just plain ugly.

He started identifying them “by the fire” clothing during the years the children were growing up.  Our Christmas gift-opening ritual was to assemble a tray of cookies and fudge, hot chocolate, coffee, or spiced cider, and munch while we took turns, going in birth order, with each person opening one gift.  That way  we could see each present and watch the recipient’s reaction.   Everyone reserved the right to ham it up or prolong their  turn–shaking the box…taking time to carefully fold the paper before looking to see what was inside.  It drove the youngest nuts.

Inevitably, someone would come to a clunker.   More often than not, it was DB’s gift from his mother.  With four sons, she prided herself on knowing  each son’s style preference,  favorite color, and correct size.  He never had the heart to tell her no, he’s not the one who likes his sweaters tight or that he prefers button-down collared shirts.  Our children knew though, so whenever he opened one of those gifts he would hold it up,  look it over, and pronounce gently, “This will be good to wear by the fire.”

Not that his mother was the only contributor to the fireside wardrobe.  There was the white running suit I found at such a good price that I convinced myself,  “He won’t even care that it’s white.” He did.  Let’s not even talk about the denim shirt I embroidered sports figures on in abundance, not wanting to leave any sport he enjoyed unrepresented.

A shirt with one sleeve longer than the other was a gift from Daughter Boo, a “find”  from a clearance rack.   There was also an unfortunate Hawaiian print shirt that Button-down Dad was relieved to find was too small.

Son’s gifts have sometimes had to go through the ripening factor, meaning that his gifts are often so cool or cutting edge that his dad is behind the learning curve on exactly what they are.  For instance, a pair of MBT’s sat unused for a period before he started wearing them and found that they helped his plantar fasciitis.   (Since DB had been quite vocal about his plantar fasciitis,  the shoes turned out to be a gift to mankind.  He no longer stops people on the street to talk foot pain.)  The same with his iPod Shuffle.  It sat for weeks, perhaps months, while he maintained he’d rather listen to the sounds of nature on walks.  Now he listens to music AND nature.  Ah, the simple joy of the Off touch!

Pogo gives him gifts she knows he’ll like and even that is a problem.  He doesn’t wear or use them because he wants to save them.  Boxes of golf balls crowd his sock drawer.  He can SEE the balls there,  but doesn’t want to USE them for fear of an errant shot.  Golf balls to use by the fire.

Wonder what it will be this year?  There is no more closet space.

Hey kids, if you want to give him a flat screen TV, he can hold the remote close to his heart.  Best of all, there IS a cable outlet near the fire.


14 thoughts on “Attire for the Fire

  1. Penny

    He He. send the fireside jumpers over here as ‘im out of doors has hardly any clothes & wears his favourites to death.

    What is it with plantar fascitis sufferers ? they think we want all the gorey details ! We don’t .

    I love your present opening ceremony …we nominate a postman – my son ! to give each person a present to open and enjoy seeing what everyone has. It drives my mother in law mad !!!

  2. My mother-in-law did the whole Slow-Opening-Fold-the-Paper-Be-Careful-Not-to-Tear-Anything schtick too. Mainly because she’s a Leo and enjoys the attention. We all wanted to snatch it out of her hands and shred the paper to bits by the time she was done.

    And don’t get me started on how she peeled a potato—pick, pick, pick at the microscopic brown spots left over after using the peeler. Agony…..

  3. We LOVE (ok, maybe it’s only me) the tradition of opening gifts, one at a time, savoring the joy of giving and receiving. It will take us 3 hours to open presents and we (ok, again, maybe it’s only *I*) don’t care! Nice to see someone else out there enjoys it, too!

  4. We do the one at a time opening thing too!
    I like the festive blog banner and snowfall. Virtual snow is way better than the real thing.

  5. For more than 20 years, my husband’s brother gave him a dress shirt with the wrong neck size. And for 20 years my husband didn’t have the nerve to tell him it wasn’t the right size. To dear husband’s credit, he never put it in the closet but took it straight to the Goodwill Store. Tell DB they would love to have his “fireside” clothing.

    BTW: This Christmas get DB a full-sized iPod. So much better than the shuffle.

  6. ” he has maintained the same size for decades”. Is it possible to dislike someone you have never met from one sentence?? I’m sure that is unfair of me:))
    Still laughing over the “fireside” golf balls.
    As usual, a very amusing post and your “snow” is appreciated. We don’t get much in Ar and I will take it anyway I can get it. Thanks.

  7. The last paragraph? Clever, very clever. 😉 We open our gifts one at a time too. It takes so long we usually need a break in between. But we do allow the kids to open up the presents from Santa first. This way they get to play with whatever so they don’t get too anxious and die from anticipation. My mother saves the “good stuff” too. Even cosmetics. ugh.

  8. raletourn50

    Like the new look… very sit by the fire…. miss the old…. Remember…. make new friends… keep the old… one is silver…. the other is gold

  9. Isn’t it fun to have a family “signal” or sign that makes awkward things polite? What a great gift to pass along to your children.
    I see you changed up your blog look– me, too! I just did it yesterday. Easy, too!
    -A. Woz.

  10. Very pretty & festive decor on your blog today Marylee! After a few years of presents no one wanted or liked our families decided to give presents only to the children under a certain age. It made the holiday a lot more enjoyable for all!

  11. You know what ? I wish I had found your blog sooner, too.
    Our family christmas procedures are very much like that, only that we celebrate christmas on the evening of the 24th, so it’s church first (six pm), then dinner (until about ten these days, might have been shorter while we were little), then singing all the repertoire of christmas songs (greatly improved and grown during all those years), and then gift opening, one person going to the tree, looking bewildered, then ‘finding’ just the right gift he or she will present to another with so many words.
    Needless to say that it takes us far beyond midnight and that these days we’re usually fairly drunk by the time everyone goes to bed.
    (…It’s not because our Christmasses look a bit similar thought, that I like your blog…)

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