What I want for Christmas is the dumbest ever.

Here is a conversation I had with my husband, recently. And you know what? I feel for the guy. I really do. He works so hard. And it can’t be easy. I’m not….well, I’m not the easiest person to be married to. I fully accept this. And I get it that he wants to give me thing, and holy smokes do I appreciate it. But honestly? I feel like I’m past the point in my life when holiday gifts make much sense. I have too much stuff. And the things that would actually make my life easier? Well, they’re a little out of reach, at present. Because all of our available funds are tied up in the kids and the house. But mostly the kids. So I told him that I really didn’t want anything in lieu of holiday gifts.

He did not accept this. At all.

HIM: We have to figure out what you’re getting.

ME: I don’t want anything. Seriously.

HIM: Seriously, nothing. What do you want for Christmas? Like wanting things.

ME: I’m not even going to tell you because it’s too expensive.

HIM: I don’t care. I just want to know what it is.

ME: Just get me socks or a subscription to One Story or something.


ME: It’s dumb. What I want is the dumbest ever. But I still want it. But I want not to want it so I’m not telling you.


ME: FINE. What I really want, more than anything else, is a Roomba.

HIM: No way.

ME: It’s true.

HIM: ….
ME: I know.

HIM: You mean the thing that scoots around and pretends to clean.

ME: It doesn’t pretend. It cleans. Not very well, I’ll grant you, but probably better than I’m doing right now. So. Yeah. That’s what I want.

HIM: You’re kidding, right?

ME: Alas, no.

HIM: You’ve got all of Western Civilization before you, with its centuries of perfecting the machine of the marketplace. We’ve got the art of making and marketing and buying and selling to a science so exquisite it deserves its own University system …. and on this, the season in which we slaughter yearling calves on our altars erected in temples dedicated to the gods of consumerism ….. and you want a vacuum cleaner?

(Author’s note: I might be elaborating here. I can’t quite remember)

ME: Yes.

HIM: And you don’t mind that it’s, like, housewifey and stuff.

ME: I don’t care. I want it. I want something to clean instead of me cleaning. I want ONE THING IN THIS HOUSE that does whatever I ask it to, because god knows the kids are hopeless with their books and their independent thinkings. I want something to devour the dog hair and attack the piles of sand that inexplicably appear on the living room floor. I want something to suck the dust away while I’m writing. I also want self-cleaning laundry and a macrobiotic chef and electric slippers. But mostly I want a robot. A best friend robot. A cheerful, always wants to help robot. A hard-working robot servant/family member/mostly a servant to clean my floors and look silly carrying unlikely objects across the floor like martinis and doughnuts and do what I ask and I shall name him Algernon. But I shall call him Ernest.

HIM: That’s a compelling argument.

ME: I know, right?

HIM: Hmmm. Well. How much are they?

ME: Like four hundred bucks.

HIM: Ah.

ME: Yeah.

HIM: So. Socks, then?

Which is fine. I made sure to send him a picture of these:

26 thoughts on “What I want for Christmas is the dumbest ever.

    • Yeah, that was pretty blessed great. It’s wonderful to read an author that includes the references that you’ve made to zombie-stares. It makes you feel like you were justified in writing that story that no one got, and that the reason you haven’t made millions is that your poor, pathetic audience lives is a world of devalued education and crumbling schools, but it certainly isn’t your tendency to rant on only the esoteric topics that interest you…

      …or have I said too much?

  1. Hilarious. Since I am married to a Woman Who Will Not Buy Anything For Herself, I feel for your husband. Basically we both gave up on presents for each other. It easier that way.

    About a billion years ago (okay, closer to 1990) I came up with the idea for an automatic vacuum like the Roomba. It was shelved mostly by my lack of understanding of electronics, that and the wherewithal to see the project through. But I had the best product name EVER (YarnShark), and a really cool logo. Sigh.

    And my robot’s name will be Cadbury, and he will speak with a very posh British accent.

  2. I heartily sympathise with the “thing to clean instead of ME cleaning” heart-cry, and so I must ask … have you considered asking for one visit from a cleaning service? Finding one that’s running a special shouldn’t be too terrible, and I would further suggest that the day they come in is the day you should plan a nice bubble bath for yourself after they have gone. There’s nothing quite like a bubble bath in a tub that someone else scrubbed.

  3. Every year, for the last few years, I have looked around on line for robotic vaccum cleaners. I am waiting for that next step of evolution where they empty themselves. But what I really want is a central vac system. They make a little slot for under the kitchen counter where you can just sweep the stuff away into neverland. Right now, I am going to go put “central vac” onto my major life goal list.

  4. I found your blog through your feminism and silence article and was blown away by your eloquence and intelligence. Then I read this piece and basically went into crush status – because yes! I don’t care if the damn thing misses spots. I am outraged that TV lied to me and I don’t have my own Rosie the Robot to make my life easier. So if all I can get is the Roomba, bring it. 😀

  5. I want ONE THING IN THIS HOUSE that does whatever I ask it to, because god knows the kids are hopeless … But mostly I want a robot. A best friend robot. … A hard-working robot servant/family member/mostly a servant

    So much win it was hard to pick out just these bits, but there you are. Probably says something about me, but let’s pretend really hard that it doesn’t and this is just objectively full of win.

  6. I thought the whole point of appliances was to liberate women – so wanting a vaccuum cleaner? Not all that backwards, at all, especially if it’s one that is doing the vaccuuming for you!! I feel your pain, though. After the kids and the house, anything spent on myself feels… superfluous. And unaffordable. sigh I hope that one day you get what you want!

  7. This is where I’m at and have been for years – I really don’t need anything (apart from knickers and no-one wants to buy me those :() – it seems that the kids and my partner in crime can’t do without getting me something that I might use (unless it was a voucher for new books). So I’m stuck with things that I or we don’t want – you just have to smile sweetly and say “Thanks very much” .
    Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope that the New Year brings nothing but happiness, health and peace to us all.
    Love and hugs,

  8. So many desires…I wish one thing in my life – to be alive and feel anything in this world, without machines and greedy people. Materalists are not my favorite category of people 🙂 Be Happy, mrs. Kelly and keep your husband near!!!

  9. Why couldn’t your husband say “Well, I’ll be your roomba for one day if it makes you happy” ? Isn’t Christmas about being there for each other and showing our love? There hasn’t always to be anything that you can buy…

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