Christmas Stuff with Jordan Castillo Price

When I asked Jordan to write a post about her guys and gals who give us nightmares I specifically requested that Chance and Crash be included in this Christmas ‘special’. There was a little something about Chance in the piece but, to my surprise there was no tidbit about Crash, the enigma that I always wanted to know a little better. When I asked Jordan why, she sniggered:

 Ha ha, it was hard enough prying an answer to “what are you getting your significant other for Christmas” out of Chance. If I asked Crash (a very mouthy, single Buddhist) I’d never hear the end of it ;-)”

So in case you were wondering, that’s why there’s no Crash in this post. Here’s Jordan’s ode to holiday gift giving and what her characters are buying for their significant others:


It’s ironic that Wave should ask me to write about Christmas this year, since I’m on a really big “no stuff, no commercialism, no clutter!” kick. This will be the first year I can remember where I am giving no physical presents. I sent out a few cards, and that’s it.

Although I’m currently anti-stuff, I wasn’t always. One particularly cool memory that I treasure was the year my dad bought me a stereo. I must have been 12 or 13. While the stereo itself was of course the coolest thing he could have given a 12- or 13-year-old me, what was really engaging was the way he gifted it. He started out by handing me a card that had a clue inside it, that led to another clue somewhere else in the house, and another, and another, until finally I went down in the basement and found my brand new stereo all set up! (So if you’re reading this, dad, thanks! I always remember how much fun that was.)

Because it’s not necessarily the gifts that make the impressions on us but the stories around them, I asked my characters how they were approaching their holiday gift-giving, and some of the rationale behind it. (This list originally appeared in JCP News last year, but it may be new to many of you! Chance’s answer is new, since he premiered last February.)

Without further ado, here’s what the characters themselves had to say to the question, what did you get your significant other for Christmas?

Wild Bill (Channeling Morpheus, Sweet Oblivion): Piss-in-a-biscuit, do you know how hard it is to figure out which one of them little computers is the right one? Which operating system, they ask me. I didn’t know surgery would be involved, I tell ’em—and they think I’m kidding. I am, but it still don’t change the fact I have no idea what they’re talking about. Even asking which one they would get for themselves if they had their druthers…that landed me in a jumble of meaningless words, gigabytes and megabytes and ram and rom. So I grabbed the most expensive one before Michael got tired of flirting with the kid at the makeup counter and caught me pinned to the electronics counter under a pile of incomprehensible technobabble.

Jacob Marks (PsyCop): I considered getting Vic a suit, a merino wool two-button that actually fit him. I could dope him up and bring him to fitting—I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I could probably snag the jacket that fits him best in the shoulders and see if there’s an off-the-rack size at the Big & Tall shop that would work better than what he’s got, and then have a fitting done at the store afterward. But what would it say to him if I did—that I don’t think he’s capable of dressing himself? It’s hard with him. The last thing I need is for him to think I’m condescending. So I don’t know. Would it be awful to get him a gift card?

Dr. James Harmon (Channeling Morpheus, Sweet Oblivion): We haven’t celebrated Christmas since 1952, when I told Felice that with all the suffering in the world, I wasn’t sure that God even existed. I had convinced myself she’d be devastated. And here she’d been pondering the same thing all along. The relentless jewelry advertisements on television are inescapable, though, and they’ve planted the idea in me that I’d love to see a diamond on her. I picture myself bringing out one of those boxes with a grand flourish, but who’s to say whether I’d get a reaction like the tearful embrace they show on in the commercial, or whether she’d just laugh.

Carolyn Brinkman (PsyCop): I can still remember the look on Doug’s face the year he gave me a pink cashmere sweater, and the nicest thing I could say was, “I don’t really like pink.” I suppose we could have stopped exchanging gifts altogether, but over the years we’ve just decided to be more creative about our situation. We made up our own tradition called the Gift Grab, where any gift we don’t absolutely love gets put into middle of the room, and one of the other family members can steal it. It seems like Libby and Cora end up trading a majority of their presents with each other. They also have a tendency to buy me pink things so they can grab them all, but that’s part of the fun. The neighbors probably wonder what all the screaming’s about during Gift Grab! Which is fine. I’m sure they think we’re all subversive anyway because we actually say what we’re thinking, and also because we don’t believe in putting chemicals on the lawn.

Michael Davies (Channeling Morpheus, Sweet Oblivion): Okay, so I thought it would be cool if I could make some kind of home brew for us to celebrate with. They ferment milk in Russia, don’t they? But at the wine making shop they said that it’s the sugars in milk that create the alcohol during the fermentation process, not the protein. I got the guy to give me a little sample of the culture anyway, and I left my experiment in a locker at the bus station so Bill didn’t smell it and figure out what I was trying to do. Let’s just say it didn’t work. Big time. I kinda threw up in my mouth when I was flushing it down the toilet. Plan B is a Misfits T-shirt from Hot Topic. I don’t need to tell him about the bloodbrew.

Victor Bayne (PsyCop): In retrospect, I should have realized it would be a bad idea to ask Crash what I should get Jacob for Christmas. Cut me a break, if anyone likes to voice their opinion, it’s him. Plus, he’s known Jacob longer than I have. But…yeah. Bad idea. Then I asked Carolyn, and she said she thought Jacob would be thrilled with anything that didn’t look like it had come from a gas station mini-mart. While that’s true, I’d at least like to be in the ballpark of a good gift. I couldn’t see him liking a sweater I’ve picked out, for instance. Which I say just because he almost never wears a sweater, and the ones he does own would probably give me a heart attack if I saw the price tag. So I went to the gourmet shop and fell on the clerk’s mercy, and she set me up with some cheese and imported crackers and—get this—caviar. I hope that’s not too hokey, if send him out to get a newspaper and have the spread in the living room by the time he gets back. I should probably get him a new porno, too. Just in case.

Chance (Petit Morts): Since I’m single and I plan to stay that way, the point is moot.
JCP: Okay, well…what would you like to receive, if, theoretically, you did have a partner, and this partner you have no interest in were to surprise you with something?
Chance: If I absolutely must extrapolate…I can’t. I don’t want anything.
JCP: Everybody wants something.
Chance: Nothing you can cram in a box and tie with a bow.
JCP: That sounds suspiciously like “World Peace.”
Chance: Don’t be absurd. World Peace would be so tedious you’d all die of boredom.
JCP: Help me out, here. If I don’t get you to answer, Wave’s gonna send the hot tub boys to break my kneecaps. Or splash water on me. Do you know how fast water freezes in December in Wisconsin? Even hot water?
Chance: If I must. My ideal gift would be to see a moment of joy reflected back at me. Not pleasure, because pleasure is so fleeting that once it’s gone, it’s gone. Joy is different, somehow. It transforms the recipient. And while I suspect that some of the relationships I’ve massaged into place have resulted in moments of joy, they transpire when I’m no longer there to appreciate them. With my busy schedule I can’t linger around peering in people’s windows to see how they’re getting on, though, so I suppose I’ll need to make do with pleasure. That’s why I became a chocolatier. Watching someone’s face transform as the chocolate melts in their mouth…I suppose it’s as close enough to witnessing joy as I can expect to come.
JCP: It’s hard to say whether he was being sarcastic or not. I think he’s sneering….


What about you—what are your memorable stories behind gifts you’ve given or received?

Thanks for reading, and since I really do like Chance’s idea, despite the fact that he delivered it with a curled lip, I wish you all joy in the year to come.


Jordan, I still think you could have included something about Crash. Now he’ll be pissed.

Jordan’s Contact Information

Website: http://


  • Ooh that was a lovely post to wake up to on Boxing Day 😀

    I can’t think of any memorable stories off the top of my head. So I would have to say, my best Christmas gifting experience was when I got my act together and managed to get out of the country with my partner for xmas, and I didn’t have to open presents in front of random relatives and pretend to be happy to receive another ugly mug.

    Merry Christmas Jordan!

    • G’morning, K!

      Your mug comment reminds me of the time I asked my ex’s sister, “Why do you have a Hanukkah mug?” (she is Catholic) and she said, “You guys got it for me for Christmas last year!”

      Let’s just say *I* was not the one who’d picked it out. How do men get away with giving such weird gifts? At least the Hanukkah mug gave me a good laugh, if a year later.

  • Happy Holidays, Jordan.

    I think for me the funniest and most memorable Christmas present was from my husband. We were still dating at the time and he hinted it was something extra special that I had to pick out myself and have specially fitted. He told me other people could try it on but only I could wear it. Everything he said made me think ‘engagement ring’.

    Imagine my surprise when he took me to get new prescription eyeglasses since I’d broken mine and couldn’t afford new ones. LOL

    • HAHAHA I love it! Only because it sounds like you did eventually get the engagement ring so it ended well.

      That’s a really thoughtful gift, actually…but it’s so bizarrely practical! What a “guy thing” to do 🙂

      • I did get it eventually and we’ve been married for a long time now. I wasn’t quite ready for the ring back then so I wasn’t all that disappointed – more relieved actually. He’s still bizarrely practical though. 😀

  • Great post, Jordan. Now I really want to see Chance getting his comeuppance in love!

    My best presents are always book related. I’ve had two book readers (which have been my most used Christmas presents ever, I think) and I get a quiet joy that non of my family seem to understand when I get a book, or even a book token for Christmas. I’ve asked for three books this Christmas and so far have received none of them :(, although I still have some gifts to collect from my mum and sister so here’s hoping :). This year, I had my main Christmas present in October as it was my trip to Yaoicon in San Francisco – another book related present and very much appreciated!

    • It seems like it’d be so darned easy to buy for you when you ask for specific books! I was thinking about picking up an ereader this year. I should probably own a cheap model of every major brand to test books on. The thought of laying out that much cash makes me shudder!

  • Awwww… Vic and Jacob. I need to go revisit them. What a great couple.

    My most memorable gift (only because it was awful)was the set of steak knives given to me by my then BF. Steak knives? Who gives a vegetarian steak knives? For Christmas? And expects to live? Especially when said vegetarian was hoping for nice, shiny jewelry. For a few minutes, I contemplated using them on him, ’cause I couldn’t for the life of me come up with any other use for the darned things.

    • OMG, that story is itching to get into a story somewhere. It reminds me of the time I got this weird paper flower (about the size of a drink stirrer, like they’d sell at the checkout counter of a gas station) for either my birthday or Valentine’s day, I don’t remember which.

  • The very best gifts for me are watching my kids faces as they hand me their special presents and wait to see how I react. Their gifts are always charming- if not always practical or the best color- and it’s no hardship to be happy and surprised. Their looks of pride and joy are priceless.

    My husband goes the safer route and asks me what I want; invariably it’s book-related. This is a Lanyon Christmas; I received his short story Collections 1 and 2. I also have several gift cards to book stores so I’m in heaven. Now I just need the gift of time! 🙂

    • Patty, I just adore you! I think this year, your friendship has been my Christmas gift. Thank you for everything. **Hugs**

      • Buda, I just got back from seeing the newest Narnia movie, and I cried at the ending (don’t tell my daughter!) Now you’re choking me up again. You’re pretty darn special yourself. I have had an incredible year meeting new people and reading awesome books. Thank you for *your* friendship. 🙂

  • Merry Christmas, Jordan!

    My memory doesn’t have so much to do with gifts as with how indulgent my parents and grandparents were before my brother was born (yup, I was the little princess of the family). I must have been five or six when I saw this old movie on the TV. At the huge Christmas/New Year’s party in the huge ballroom, people were throwing tons of multicolored confetti and ribbons. And, of course, I decided I must have them. In our apartment. Let’s just say we had confetti falling out of the most interesting places for years to come. Even when we moved to another apartment. *laughs*

    • Oh, that’s a wonderful memory. I love the thought of a piece of confetti floating down several months later and letting you re-live the indulgence again!

  • J
    I’m still mad about Crash but I’ll forgive you if you write a story about him SOON. Seriously, your books have given me so much pleasure over the years and I love your characters.

    As for my memories? The best one was giving myself a Doberman puppy named Jesse at Christmas (yes the same Jesse for whom I named this site.):) I had him for 11 1/2 years and although he’s been in the happy hunting grounds for a while, I still miss him. Can’t beat a puppy for happy memories.

    What are some of your memories?

  • “Yeah, at the time I was thrilled.”

    Ha ha, you and Chance could have a sneering contest! 😀

    I have no doubt I’d drop a plate of spaghetti on that sweater if I were wearing it. Right on my boobs.

    Merry Christmas to you, Tam! And especially a happy new year. I have high hopes for 2011.

  • Great post. I got a white cashmere sweater once. Loved it. 🙂 I also got an engagement ring. Yeah, at the time I was thrilled. LOL

    Have a wonderful Christmas Jordan.


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I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports - especially baseball
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