The Giving Season
As you read this, we are officially one week away from Christmas. The holiday spirit is in the air, and everyone is racking their brains for thoughtful gift ideas. Well, I suppose if you were really that thoughtful you would have racked your brain a bit earlier, but the point stands. Gift giving is a wonderful way to show somebody what they mean to you, and flex your own creative muscles in the process. But no matter how good your idea is, I assure you that it won’t top what my roommate and I are giving to our friends.
The two of us share five close friends in Boston, making us a coherent group of seven who do everything together. And this Christmas, the two of us decided to reward our friends with the greatest multimedia art project of all time.
For the past month, we have spent two hours every night making lists. And not the kind that Santa makes. We set out to make a book of lists that rank the seven friends (including ourselves) on every possible criteria known to man. We have made every list from “Most Likely to Succeed” to “Most Likely to Attend an Uncle Kracker Concert” and everything in between. A few favorites include:
- “Most Similar To A Tree”
- “Most Likely To Have A Son Named Shaun”
- “Most Likely To Have A Son Named Sean”
- “Most Calypso”
- “Most Likely To Become a Sea Captain”
And we have several hundred more. Our nightly routine looks something like this. We get home from our classes and rehearsals around 11, and think of 10-30 categories on which to rank our friends. Then we write the numbers one through seven on our refrigerator, and start the deliberation process. Some of them are incredibly easy. When we did “Most Likely To Be Described as ‘Floppy,’” we both instinctively knew the order and completed the list in under 30 seconds. Others, such as “Most Merry,” take over 20 minutes. We often have to come up with a mathematical way to break ties. When we were debating everyone’s similarity to Ringo Starr, we had to write out the five traits that define the legendary Beatles drummer, and then determine who had the most of each trait. That allowed us to develop a point system by which we could determine each friend’s amount of Ringo-ness.
This started out as a stupid hobby, but it has really evolved into a stupid art form. When you sit down and read the entire book, it’s actually an incredibly entertaining experience. The categories are often funny, and the lists are very well thought-out. I like to think we have the right balance of serious and ludicrous, and we’ve even begun to incorporate some video lists into the program.
Some people buy their friends books or gift cards, but we’ve taken Christmas to the next level. We’re giving our friends the greatest gift of all: assigning them numerical values and ranking them in ways that will absolutely divide the group and start countless fights. Hopefully everyone can take a leaf out of our book and find something equally poignant to give your loved ones.