Skip to main content


December 14, 2010

Holly McQueen on Camouflaged Christmas Miracles

Posted by Anonymous
HollyMcQueen.jpgHolly McQueen --- author of FABULOUSLY FASHIONABLE and the forthcoming novel CONFETTI CONFIDENTIAL --- reflects on the importance of letting go this holiday season…and tells the story of the camouflaged Christmas gift that literally turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
On Christmas morning last year, I opened my gift from my husband and decided that he was obviously having an affair.
Of all the horrible, clichéd ways to discover infidelity, opening up a Christmas parcel containing slutty lingerie two sizes too small has to be up there with the worst of them.
And this was the set of slutty lingerie to end all slutty lingerie: a scrap of a babydoll nightie in a cheeky camouflage print, designed only for a woman with the body of a supermodel and the inhibitions of a porn star.
Somewhere across town, I assumed, my husband’s secret girlfriend was sitting in her boudoir, opening up the Christmas gift meant for me: the new iPod I’d asked for, or the little silver charm bracelet. Or possibly, to her abject horror, the cosy flannel men’s pajamas I’d specifically requested after wearing out the pair I’d asked for last Christmas.
So why, then, was my husband grinning at me? Shouldn’t he have been looking panic-stricken, and fleeing the room to make an urgent phone call, before returning with a lifetime’s worth of desperate apologies? Not sitting there looking like an eager Labrador who’s just come within sniffing distance of dinner. Looking like this gift was absolutely intended for me.
The thing is, when it comes to gifts --- when it comes to pretty much everything in my life --- I’ve always been a total control freak. This is why, right up until the moment I opened the World’s Sluttiest Nightie, I knew exactly what my husband was going to give me for Christmas. The iPod; that charm bracelet; last year’s pajamas. Because this is what I’d asked him to get me. OK --- this is what I’d told him to get me. I’ve picked out --- hell, sometimes I’ve even bought --- my own gifts from my husband for the last decade. The Celine handbag (on pre-Christmas sale!) that he “gave” me the year before last. The turquoise necklace three Christmases back. Countless birthday and anniversary gifts. I even pre-screened, for heaven’s sake, my diamond solitaire engagement ring. Which kind of took away from the ahhh moment when he got down on one knee and presented me with the ring-box.
Like I say, I’m a control freak. I don’t like surprises. I know what I like, and I like what I know. And what I know is this: I’m not a slutty-babydoll-nightie kind of a girl. I am a men’s-striped-pajamas kind of a girl.
But the expression on his face (that hungry Labrador one) made me feel a little bit sorry for him. He’d gone and chosen this gift, this disastrous and unsuitable gift, with hope in his heart. With a vision of having a wife who had the legs, the butt and the sheer chutzpah to pull off a barely-there, camo-print babydoll.
It was kindest, I decided, to put an end to this misguided delusion and try the nightie on. Knowing that it would never fit. That it would shatter my husband’s illusions that he’d married a non-practicing supermodel with an addiction to the Stairmaster.
The first surprise was that it did fit. In fact, it fit fine, given that its inability to cover crucial parts of one’s anatomy was pretty much its whole reason for existing.
The second surprise was that my husband was still staring at me like a hungry Labrador. Like he still believed he’d married a non-practicing supermodel with an addiction to the Stairmaster.
And the third surprise was that, looking at him looking at me like that, I suddenly wondered if I looked OK after all. Not like a supermodel with an addiction to the Stairmaster, but maybe, just maybe, like a babydoll-nightie kind of a girl. Rather than just a men’s-pajamas kind of a girl.
It’s the danger, I realized, of uptight control freakery when holiday gifts are concerned. Yes, you may get exactly the right charm bracelet, and you may end up with the perfect Celine handbag (on sale!) that will fit perfectly into your perfectly worked-out life. But you won’t get these moments, like I had last Christmas morning, when the man you love suddenly looks at you as if you’re the most beautiful woman on earth, as if you’re 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger than you really are, and as if the sight of you dressed in a scrap of camouflage-print material is some kind of X-rated Christmas miracle.
It was a chance for me to see a fresh version of myself. And it was the best Christmas gift he could possibly have given me.
Tomorrow, award-winning blogger and bestselling author Stephanie O’Dea reminds everyone why we should count our blessings this holiday season by reflecting on the years she spent working with underprivileged children.