I was sitting with a group of people last week and the question was posed: “What is your favorite Christmas tradition.”
Most everyone else at the table had an answer, whether it was opening presents on Christmas Eve, or decorating the tree, or cooking stuff, or something.
I passed on the question. My tradition used to be Ihop breakfast with my former roomies Heckle and Jekyll. But I don’t think there’s ever been one over-reaching tradition that has stayed with me from little girl to semi-grown up. My new place isn’t big enough to host a tree, and if I really wanted to go look at one, I’d go down to the Grove, or the Americana, because you know they’re gonna have massively huge decorated trees that you don’t have to help tear down after the holidays.
But this week I decided that I was gonna start a new tradition, and I’m ignoring the fact that you can still call it a “tradition” even if it’s the first time out.
So my new tradition is that I’m going to give blood the Sunday before Christmas from now on until the end of time. Because I like the idea of giving that kind of gift. I didn’t have to spend money, I didn’t have to sign up for the Amazon Prime trial membership in order to get free shipping to make sure Agatha, Mr, Agatha and Bug’s presents get to Orlando in time (and then I’ll be canceling that trial membership next week, ho ho ho.) I don’t need to know who it’s going to, but I do know that it will be greatly appreciated by whoever gets it.
For someone who badgers her church relentlessly to host blood drives, this was not my best year in terms of giving blood myself. If I count today’s adventure, I’ve given twice this year. You can give a maximum of six times a year. So I’ve got some ground to cover in 2010.
But today’s blood drive was over at The Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. How can you NOT go, right? Though I was really hoping for warm up comics to entertain us either in person or on a TV screen, there was no such thing, just Jingle, my nurse. Yep. Her name is honestly Jingle, and she had a beautiful smile, and an unexpected sense of humor: after doing the pinprick stick on my finger for the initial sample, she kept squeezing and wiping, squeezing and wiping, and then saying, “Oops, we gotta do it again. Just kidding!”
And though my heart seized up for two seconds when the first round with the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death apparently didn’t go well, to the point where Jingle wouldn’t tell me what the reading was, we did it again, and it came back a 13.1. Yep, my blood pressure is low, my pulse rate is low, I’m two degrees below normal in body temperature, and this was my lowest passing score yet on the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death but I can STILL beat it. And I’m not dead. I have to say that for the benefit of my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much, because she will look at the above paragraph and only see the words “death” , “low” , “lowest” , “below normal” and assume that I am a walking corpse.
So as I’m filling up the bag (takes me 6 minutes and 38 seconds, not my fastest time, but oh well) I chatted with Jingle the nurse, giving her ideas about what to get her nephews for Christmas, I say hello to Kyra the nurse, who remembered me from my blood drive in September, possibly because I’m the only one taking pictures with the camera, I chat with the organizers about when my church is going to hold their blood drive for 2010...
I get my coupon for my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that was the FIRST thing I zeroed in on when the Red Cross sent me the pleading email to donate before the holidays. Sure, I spun it to the idea of This Is My New Christmas Tradition, and isn’t it cool and nifty and great. But chiefly, I wanted my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. I wanted it more than the two free Laugh Factory tickets to a future show (though I got those anyway.)
The plan was to stop by the one on my way home, pick up cake batter ice cream, or maybe that new chocolate Jell-o pudding flavored ice cream, with an add in of chopped up Twix bars, take it home and eat it while watching the documentary Every Little Step, which I have on Netflix DVD.
I was so excited, I was so happy, I started my new tradition, I helped people who I will never meet, I met a nurse with the cutest name I’ve ever heard of, I was going to get my free Coldstone Ice Cream!
But apparently, the one Coldstone Creamery store closest to my house is not honoring the Red Cross coupon DESPITE THE FACT IT SAYS ON THE BACK THAT IT’S VALID AT ALL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOCATIONS.
It doesn’t say “valid at all participating Southern California locations.” It says ALL.
So don’t anyone ever visit the Coldstone Creamery location on 5455 Hollywood Blvd., LA CA 90027, because despite what their corporate parents say, it is my opinion that they don’t want to reward folks who give blood, and that makes them not very nice people.
I will be getting my Coldstone eventually, once I can locate a convenient location. But I’m sticking with my new tradition, regardless of what free stuff I get in the future.