Once I got past wanting a Ken doll for Christmas (an item I never received since my somewhat feminist mother was convinced that Barbie was much happier living in her Dream House alone), I always had a Christmas Wish List that was set in stone: new boots, sweaters and a nice bathrobe. Maybe a few books and a bottle of Shalimar but my main objective each Christmas was to go back to school after the holiday break wearing something new and stylish as only 1970’s fashion could be.
After I got married and had children, I pretty much dropped the whole wish list idea and for several years everything I asked Santa to bring was for our kids. Such self sacrifice ended once our sons no longer had wish lists that required second mortgages and I happily returned to writing one out for myself and leaving it on the mantle for Santa every December. My list hasn’t changed all that much. I’d still like new boots, sweaters, a bathrobe and books along with a few extras but the items themselves are vastly different.
When a person is growing up, function definitely follows form. By that I mean that the boots on my list had to look great even if they pinched my toes and made my insteps ache. The sweaters I wanted didn’t have to be warm but they did have to be fashionable and I preferred that they come from one of the nicer department stores. My wish list bathrobe had to be glamorous instead of warm and the books I requested were invariably lurid bestsellers. That was when I was young and shallow.
Now that I’m not-so-young but still pretty shallow my Christmas list reflects items that have gone from looking good to making me feel good. The boots I want can make me look like I’m walking around on a couple of U-boats as long as they aren’t tight in the toe box and keep my tootsies dry. I no longer care if sweaters are “cute.” Now my Christmas sweaters can resemble a woolly mammoth’s outerwear as long as they’re warm and don’t itch. Robes? Forget glamour. I’ll take something plush and washable, thank you very much and purchasing it at Sears or Walmart is just dandy with me. Why pay for a fancy pants name when I’m the only one seeing it? Oh, and books no longer need bestsellers. Now I’m far more interested in self-help tomes that might explain to me just why I’m so amazingly shallow.
Of course, this whole form follow function idea isn’t restricted solely to clothing and reading materials. It extends far deeper than that, all the way to my very favorite Christmas catalog—the one sent out by the people at Harriet Carter.
My earliest recollection of reading the Harriet Carter catalog goes back to high school when I used to glance at my grandmother’s copy. Thumbing through and gazing with horror at things such as chinstraps, age spot remover cream and bunion straighteners, I was shocked that such items actually existed and that people apparently bought them.
“Eeew!” I thought as I quickly tossed the catalog down and reached for the one from Marshall Field’s, “Who would ever want to wear bunion straighteners? I hope I NEVER get a gift from the Harriet Carter catalogue!”
Time and tide wait for no man. I could add to that expression, “Time, tide and Harriet Carter wait for no man,” because now I think most of the items from Ms. Carter’s catalog would make simply dandy Christmas presents. Such as “Ouchy Butter—a soothing butter for all of life’s ouchie’s.” Or a Hot ‘n Cold Gel Support backpack for that annoying lower back pain that arrives—and sets up permanent residence—after childbirth. How about a deluxe De-Tox Foot Spa? Are you kidding me? Please, Santa, send that one my way!
Not being a completely self-centered person, I also think about my husband as I circle items in my Harriet Carter catalog. My hubby too could benefit from a few of Harriet’s gift suggestions such as a Magnetic Knee Brace, Therapy Gloves and the Original Sciatica Saddle. I have a pal who might appreciate the Melatonin Sleep Cream and I’m fairly certain that my sister would love the Grande Face Lift Serum. Our sons are too young to qualify as recipients of Harriet Carter inspired gifts but just wait. They’ll get there.
So I’m working on that list for Santa. Boots-check. Sweaters-check. Robe-check. And a gift card for the Harriet Carter catalog, please, because I’ve been—for the most part—a fairly good girl and I could most definitely use some Ouchy Butter.