Sometimes a Candle Is More Than a Candle

Photo: Davies + Starr

Scented candle
Doorman: Sometimes the lobby smells a little funky.
Grandmother: Sometimes your house smells a little grandma-y.
Boss: Only 7-Eleven was open on the way to the holiday office party.
Secret Santa: I hope you like it—it’s the same one I got from Curt in the IT department last year.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks: I think we should break up.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months: I think we should have broken up five and a half months ago.

Gift certificate
Doorman:Thanks for a great year!
Grandmother:Please make sure to get yourself something I’ll like when I eventually inherit it.
Boss:All this downsizing must be so stressful. I hope this makes you feel better.
Secret Santa:No, I couldn’t think of anything to get for you either.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks: I wanted to get you something, but I’m not sure yet what you like.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months:I still haven’t figured out what kind of things you like, and I’ve stopped trying.

Expensive Scotch
Doorman:Happy holidays, and if I ever smell booze on your breath I’ll report you immediately.
Grandmother:Just put it in the cabinet where I can find it when I visit.
Boss:At our last client lunch, I noticed your fondness for this brand.
Secret Santa:Hey, Santa, welcome to the office party. Maybe later you can ride my sleigh.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks: Let’s get cozy and sip this together.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months:Let’s use this to get through dinner with my family.

The must-have handbag of the season
Doorman:I’ve recently come into a large amount of illicit money that I need to dispose of quickly.
Grandmother:That handbag you’ve been using is sooo 1957.
Boss:I’m hoping this will go a long way toward helping you overlook certain accounting discrepancies.
Secret Santa:My friend, you have hit the Secret Santa jackpot.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks:What do you mean, “slow things down”?
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months:Happy holidays, and I’m very sorry about that weekend in Denver with my administrative assistant.

Doorman:I wanted to show my appreciation, but with a personal touch.
Grandmother:I know you knit them for me, Grandma, but they look so much better on you.
Boss:Please feel free to exchange these for something you really want.
Secret Santa:You can exchange yours, too, though be warned: I adhered strictly to the $10-or-less limit.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks:I really like where this relationship is going.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months:I really like where this relationship has stalled.

Doorman:I’m not really familiar with the concept of boundaries.
Grandmother:I’m very sorry I haven’t phoned you since 2003.
Boss:I like to think of our office as one big family, with you as my mother.
Secret Santa:My sister-in-law was giving them away, free.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of two weeks:I’m already picking out china patterns.
Girlfriend/boyfriend of six months:When you play with it, I secretly imagine you’re caring for our baby.

Sometimes a Candle Is More Than a Candle