[Husband is on stage looking through his calendar on his phone as wife hurries in carrying several loaded shopping bags]
H: Hey Hon, I’m looking at the calendar. We’ve got a ton of stuff going on in the next few weeks. When are we going to find the time to shop for everyone?
Wife: Don’t worry, I got some done today [she holds up the bags] and I have calculated the amount of time we can spend looking for each gift to be approximately 4.7 minutes. I’ve even added some extra time in this year so we can make everyone’s gift a bit more meaningful. That is really important to me you know.
H: Good thinking. (continues to look at phone naming his calendar engagements quickly and out loud) Office Christmas party, School play, Cookie exchange, Bake sale, Blood drive, food drive, Block party, Christmas Cantata, Shop for presents, Concert, Hockey tournament, Sports banquet, Decorate office, Decorate house, Decorate yard, [sighs to catch breath] progressive dinner
W: And don’t forget about the gift certificates for the letter carrier, and the UPS driver, and the garbage guys, and the landscapers. Oh, and we need to get those packages sent to your aunt and uncle in Florida or they won’t make it before Christmas. Let’s not forget those replacement bulbs for the outdoor lights… Can you go through the junk mail there and see if we got Christmas cards from anyone we need to add to our list. I don’t want to waste a card on anyone who won’t reciprocate!
H: [Roots through the mail and then looks again at list and calendar] Are we going to Church for Christmas?
W: I don’t think we have scheduled that yet. (notices his look of concern) What’s wrong?
H: I don’t know, I love this time of year, but something just does not seem right, (pause)… it is as if (continues to look through mail) something’s missing.
W: I know, it’s that card from the Johnsons. Keep looking
H: (Husband continues to look in the mail and finds flyer on alternative giving) What’s this?
W: Not another bill I hope!
H: No, this flyer on gift giving. [Holding up catalog from Heifer Project]
W: I don’t know, what does it say?
H: This is great! It says, “Simplify your gift giving this year!” I like the sound of that! (Opens flyer) This would be great for your brother… “Because you want to get someone’s goat.”
W: You want to get my brother a goat?
H: I don’t want to get your brother a goat, I want to buy one in his name for someone living in Rwanda. It says here, a goat provides milk to drink and sell. One goat can do more good for people who really need it than that combination universal TV remote/ hair trimmer we were planning on getting your brother.
W: You may have a point there, let me see that. (Woman looks through flyer and stops excitedly) How about this idea? “Because you are warm and caring.”
(Husband pumps himself up, thinking she is talking about him.)
W: This would be great for my mother!
(Husband pantomimes shaking head and saying a big NO. Wife gives him a dirty look)
H: I mean yes dear!
W: (continues reading) Give someone a warm fuzzy feeling with a blanket, providing warmth, comfort and most importantly the feeling that someone cares. 2 blankets for 10 dollars.
How much was that deluxe anniversary edition of The History of Chia Pets we were going to get your Aunt Mable?
W: (shakes head) Wow, we could change our gift giving habits and do a lot of good this year, for not much money. Your Aunt always gives to charities, and she would be the first to say she doesn’t really need anything. She would love this idea…and I bet other people on our list would too.
H: Great idea!
(Wife hurriedly starts grabbing all the bags)
H: What are you doing?
W: If I hurry I can return this stuff before the Mall closes. [She exits]
H: [Pause and walk to Advent Wreath] Our Advent prayer for all of us this year is that we find the true Joy of Christmas by worshiping fully and giving more gifts that bring real peace and joy. As I light the 3rd Advent Candle, the Candle of Joy, please join in singing the first three verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
[Jerome UMC, December 15, 2013, with thanks to my friend, Kathryn Manecke, co-author of this skit]