Monday, December 6, 2010

What We Want and Need

by R.M. Gilbert

Asking for what you want and getting what you need are two very different things. Like many, this is a lesson I learned when I was a little girl. A lesson that was never truer than at Christmas.

Thanks to my mom, each year we could count on several things being under our Christmas tree: socks, underwear, sometimes gloves, and the occasional canned spam. (Okay, maybe not the spam). But the other “necessities” were always there.

If you’ve never experienced the excitement of opening a package of underwear at Christmas let me tell you now, there was no greater joy in life than giving Mom a smile with the flicker of thankfulness before tossing the panties aside to tear open the good stuff.

Not until years later as I was weaving my way down the clothing isle did it hit me. While other parents are rushing toward the toy and video games, I’m buying underclothes. That’s right, here’s me in the middle of all the chaos, picking out tighty-whitey’s and socks with the reinforced gray heel to go under our Christmas tree. Just like when I lived at home with Mom and Dad.

With kids of my own, I’m thankful we can give them the things they want. But the necessities under our tree are a wonderful reminder that we also provide for them what they need as well.

In celebration of the season, I’m giving away a copy of my new book, Holiday Headlines to one lucky commenter. But that’s not all…a second one of you will receive a “necessity” gift. By necessity, I of course mean the necessity of your choice. You will receive $10 to one of the following: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Decadent Publishing.

**To Celebrate our '8 Crazy Nights', Decadent Publishing will also be giving the winner one FREE book of their choice from Decadent Publishing**

Before you comment here’s a sneak peek at Holiday Headlines:


“Fire!” People shouted all around her.

Paige fumbled with the recorder. Excitement rang in her ears. Adrenaline pumped through her veins. The majority of onlookers raced away from the small flames, Paige sprinted toward them. “Yes. Yes. Yes.”


Whirled around by a heavy hand with a tight grip, Paige collapsed against the investigator. Again, the room dimmed. Darkness seeped in as the air pressed heavily upon her.

“What are you doing?” She gasped.

“We need to get the hell out of here.”

“No.” She tried to yank away from him. “I need my story.”

“Trust me.” Smith tossed his pie, tin and all, to the floor. He lifted her like a sack of potatoes.

Legs kicking, arms flailing, she pounded on his backside. “Put. Me. Down!”

With each step, his shoulder jabbed uncomfortably into her stomach. For a man with such a lean frame, she could feel Smith’s solid muscles through his clothes. As he rushed past several groups of people and stepped outside, the wind whipped around them. Snow and ice crunched under their weight as he carried her up the east incline. He traversed the ridge with ease. Once they were a good distance from the barn, he returned her feet to the ground. She immediately lost her balance in the snow. Instinctively, Paige reached for Smith to catch herself. His hands gripped firm around her waist as she clung to his shoulders.

It took her all of a second to push out of his grasp.

“What is the matter with you?” she snarled.

Holiday Headlines is part of A Passionate Christmas Series, an anthology written with fellow critique partners (Passionate Critters: ). Be sure and check out our books on the Decadent Publishing Website:

I would love to hear what necessities made it under your holiday tree. Have a blessed holiday and happy reading!


Find R.M:

Her Blog: At the Heart of the Story




  1. Great post! I was so scared you were going to give away underwear as a 'necessity' gift. LOL.

    Congrats on your new release!

  2. This day and age, a Starbucks card is real necessity. Back in the day? Emory boards always seemed to find their way into the stockings! And there also seem to be the one thing I am always looking for! ;-)

  3. This year my hubby got me a kindle & I think he may count it as a necessity since many books are cheap in ebook format and I read so much (like 5 books a week!). He said I needed an ereader just to keep me sane or us out of the poor house (I had spent my book budget by Oct. And that is with going to the library and everything!). Of course the kindle cost enough that I have to wait til after Christmas to get books for it, LOL.

    It's funny that as kids books were under the tree when we wanted more toys & now I want books! I have turned into the reader my mom is...


  4. Oh yeah, teaching kids the difference between wants and needs is tricky--but especially this time fo year.
    My little is getting fun stuff but she's also getting SOCKS. LOL

  5. We have reached the preteen years and I have discovered that with each year it gets harder and harder to get them presents. The one thing however that remains the same is our neccesity gift. It is a book. Every year in our stocking everyone gets a book from their favorite author, and then there are usually at least three books per child under the tree.

  6. Great post, Rachel and great excerpt!
    Don't you think that if you want something enough then it turns into a need?

  7. greta post and I loved that excerpt every year my foplks get us grown children stuff we need be it dishes or warm clothes and most deff socks growing up wegot fruit and clothes and different odds and ends as well as a book or two

  8. @Clarissa: Thanks, I thought about giving away 'socks' but even the one size fits all don't always fit. ;)

    @Maureen: Appreciate you coming by. As for Emory boards...I would have loved to need them growing up. I got in the nasty habit of nail biting as a little girl. I'm glad I grew out of that one.

    @Vicky CK: You may be related to my neighbor. *smiles* I think it's wonderful to read so much. As a writer, I also love to read, but find I read a lot of books 'pre-publication' through various critique groups. Thanks for coming by!

    @Jennifer: I agree it can be tricky. Especially when my 5 year old has such high expectations. He seems to think if you put it on a list Santa WILL bring it to you. He says: "Santa's bringing me a Nintendo DS." With a huge smile. I smile back and in my mind I say, "Oh, no he's not." *sigh. *smiles.* Thanks for coming by.

    @Heather: Books are a great necessity, aren't they. It's funny because though we get our kids their necessity gifts, books are some of the first gifts I buy. For our daughter, it's the "Ink Heart Series" in a nice box. For our son, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series". Books make great gifts. ;) Thanks for coming by!

    @Nina: Appreciate you coming in to comment. I definitely think if you want something bad enough it becomes a need. (I can think of a few things I need right now).

    SiNn: Fantastic that your parents still see to it. Mine are on and off, if they can afford it. Mr. G's folks give us meat for Christmas...That's right, you read correctly. They give us MEAT! I tell you what, they save us a lot on our grocery bill, so no complaints here. Thanks for coming by.

  9. We do that! Every year we get socks and undies from someone like "Spanky - the Underwear elf." My mother always gets bras from Rudolph. Great post!

    necessity for me? Pen/pencil and something to write on. And chocolate, but that's a given. lol

  10. I remember getting some new underpants for christmas when I was a kid. There was a point in my life where I was getting some socks from a friend's grandmother...made me feel very happy that she thought of me as part of the family. My girls are still in diapers (unforntualy) but I do buy them clothes too.
    Congratulations on your book. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!

  11. Wonderful post and excerpt!
    I have always gotten clothes for christmas. When I was growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, and it was still special.
    I remember one year my sister gave my dad a wrapped roll of duct tape for christmas. Doesn't get more utilitarian than that. ;-)

  12. Great post. And since I'm R.M.'s sister I can verify we got lots of undergarments (LOL). There's one outfit in particualr I used to tease my sister about (think washcloth fabric). Our parents were kind of style-impaired.

    Congrats on the release little sis! So VERY proud of you!

  13. Congratulations, Rachel!! This must be such an exciting day for you and no one deserves it more!! You are such a gifted writer and I cherish each opportunity that I get to take a peek at your stories. I wish you much success!! Oh, and it was my aunt and uncle that used to bring the undergarments, five sizes too big. lol. As for the necessites, that's easy. My family together for the holidays and some egg nog!! Heaven.

  14. @Vanessa: "Spanky-the underwear elf." Too funny. Chocolate is a must have in the stockings for our family. Thanks for coming by.

  15. @Cynthia: Thanks for the congratulations and for dropping by, I'm really excited for this release. And so cool that a friends grandma would think to get you some necessities, it does feel like family that way, doesn't it?!

    @jennifer: I hear you on the lack of funds growing up. And duct tape can fix everything but a broken heart, I find. :) Thanks for commenting today!

    @Rebekah: Well sister, am I ever glad I can deny the washcloth outfit. Since as far as I know there are no pics of me wearing it. ;) So glad we can travel this road as writers together. Love ya!!

    @Traci: Egg nog and family is a good way to go, you lovely girl. I'm thrilled you stopped over.

  16. Great post Rachel (and I loved your excerpt!) The one thing my kids - and the husband - can always finding rolled up in their stocking is a pair of flannel sleep pants - in the Northeast, these are definitely a necessity! :)

  17. What, no lump of coal? :)
    I had a very handy grandmother. She knitted. A lot. I always - always - got knitted wooly socks for Christmas, among other things.
    (Believe it or not, I STILL have some of them.)
    When my partner spent his first winter in Germany, way back when my Gran was still alive, she sort of adopted him.
    Little did he know what awaited him come Christmas... he opened the present from my Gran (one of two) and found a pair of wooly socks, handmade, just for him in there.
    (And he still has that pair, too. :))
    I appreciate those socks more now, than ever before. They are warm, comfortable, and never seem to wear out.
    And they remind me of my Gran, every time I put them on -- even though she's been gone for nearly 20 years. (Yes, the socks are lasting THAT long. ;))

  18. Wow, RM--thank you for a lovely post! I do think it's a wonderful reminder of the many sides of love when we share not only desires but needs :)

  19. Necessity gifts this year include clothes, books, a portable drill and a dustbuster. Great column! Thanks.

  20. @Silke: How fantastic to have such a long lasting gift. I've always enjoyed memories like that. My great grandfather gave me an ornament when I was very young. It was one my grandma had when she was growing up. I have it and to this day it goes on our Christmas tree. Thanks for sharing your gran with me.

  21. @flchen1: I appreciate you coming by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Merry Christmas!

  22. I had to laugh when you mentioned getting underwear for Christmas. My mother worked in a sewing factory that made ladies underpants and every Christmas my sister and I each got a dozen pair of underwear. I know we didn't really appreciate the gift at the time, but now so many years later we know the gift was given with love.

  23. My grandmother can always be counted on to give my husband flannel pj pants and me new kitchen towels. We love her for it and she loves shopping for them throughout the year. :D

    Congratulations and best wishes to all this holiday season.

    Miranda ~ Sweet Vernal Zephyr Reviews
    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  24. It's truly the thought that counts (although a child unwrapping underwear doesn't believe it). A favorite gift of mine is a gift card to a specialty store the recipient really likes. In my case, it's a quilt shop! Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. @Joni: I guess the good thing about having a Mom who works in an underwear sewing factory, is that you're always covered. Okay, bad joke. But really great that you realized later it was done out of love.

  26. @Sweet Vernal Zephyr: How fantastic that you still receive such gifts. For the longest time Mr. G's grandma would get all the grandkids the small 'fleece' blankets. When I started running out of room for them, I was glad she switched to popcorn tins. Yummy!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  27. @Sheila: I remember being 'thankful' as a kid, but then moving on to the want stuff pretty quickly. Specialty stores are fabulous! Thanks for coming by.

  28. I'm pretty much practical in my gift giving. I will gift what the person wants and can use.

  29. Wifey's Nook could use some more digital books to gooble up (or so she tells me). I prefer the dead-tree ones personally. Thanks either way!

  30. But you know what the thing is...I beg my kids to take naps and they fight the mere notion. But as an adult, I'd pay money to have time to take a daily nap or better yet--sleep in late! Sigh.

    So, what we got as kids (bummer a new sweater, where's my matchbox garage?) is not as bad as an adult. I love getting new clothes now. Unless, of course, they are terrible and you have to feign excitement. LOL


  31. Ah, yes, but I always need what I want. : )

  32. I broke down and gave the kids their socks last week because they really NEEDED them, but otherwise I store all the clothes I buy from November on for Christmas. I figure they'd rather get a pile of presents, even clothes, on Christmas than get just another boring shirt on any given Wednesday.

    We have an underwear tradition in our family! Started by mom, prolonged by me. I try to get my younger sister either some lacy thong thing or some giant granny panties that she needs to hold up in front of everyone each year. Mom started it, blame it on her. I still remember mom getting me Garfield bikini undies when I was 12 and announcing loudly that I had to show the whole family what I got. Scarred me, so of course I will do the same. Just our twisted sense of humor!

  33. I usually get my nieces and nephew clothes. This year I got them a gift for each of them and one for all three. The basketball goal they had was rusted and it was pretty much a goner, so I bought them a brand new backboard so they could play and I already let them have it so they could play with it before it got too cold. I also got my nephew a skateboard and I got my nieces makeup, since they keep using mine. lol.

  34. Hi RM! I too got those necessaties! One time my hubby and I were talking about that one Christmas and he said something about depending on those necessities each year now, so we look back when we older and they were needed! So our moms were right! His mom passed away a couple years ago and that Christmas I got those necessities for him and we laughed together and bet she is smiling up there! I had a big thing with getting my kids socks! I still do! I love warm feet and still want them as older to have them!

    Wow on Holiday Headlines! So could visualize that scene!

    cathiecaffey @

  35. I am old enough that 'necessities' were the staple of my Christmas. Very seldom got anything else.
    Holiday Headlines sounds like a great read.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  36. @Leni: I'm more practical too when it comes to giving gifts. Mr. G is the one who spends on toys.

    @see above: Thank your wife for me. *smiles* Although, I love to have a paperback too. Hoping someday to have my name on a few. Thanks for coming by, whatever the reason.

    @Carlie Angelus: I'm terribly glad I get to decide what to wear. However, then I can't blame anyone but myself when I look terrible.

    @Leanne Dyck: Ha! Thanks for coming by. Merry Christmas!

  37. @Decadent Publishing: How funny to make the undies a game. Thanks for the opportunity to be here today! I'm having a blast.

    @Amy S: Fantastic! And if I know kids, they must all adore you. Merry Christmas and thanks for coming by!

  38. I have to admit, I feel bad when my kids get so much of what they need rather than what they want....

    but it makes the WANTED stuff so much more precious to them. And that's a bonus. :D

  39. @Caffey: Thanks so much for coming by. Thanks for sharing about your hubby's mom and how he followed through with the necessities. It was a very sweet story. Made me want to cry actually. And thanks also, for your kind words on Holiday Headlines, I hope everyone enjoys it!

    @Estella: Let me reassure you, I'm not terribly old and there were times the necessities were what we got too. But it was truly the thought behind it that made the difference. Thanks for commenting!

  40. @Penny Dune: I agree Penny. I think they do appreciate the wants more when they CAN'T have it ALL. So great of you to come by, Happy Holidays!

  41. I was also a recipient of clothing for Christmas as a child, but I broke the tradition with our own kids. We have a strict no clothing for Christmas rule unless one of our sons asks for something specific!

    My necessary (and also want) gift this Christmas was a new pair of gorgeous black cowboy boots! They're a necessity for the outfit I am wearing to my husband's Christmas party, but also a want because cowboy boots are my guilty pleasure!

  42. my real necessity and much needed gift was my 1st bra, lol, really it was one of my best gifts, lol. I remember my grandma telling me it's ok to be natural, well not when you're just blossoming and in school. ;)

  43. My "necessity" this year is an e-reader :-) I can't wait to get my Nook for Christmas!

    smaccall @

  44. Krispy Kreme doughnuts. More hours in the day. World peace. All three would make me very happy. I would say they're all needs, depending on the day and my mood. :-)

  45. Growing up it seems like our presents were always clothes, which I thought was incredibly boring. Then all of a sudden, I was a teenager and clothes seemed like the greatest gift in the world, doubly so because by then I'd figured out that I could exchange them if I didn't like what I got. Funny how your perspective changes.


  46. Congrats on the release!
    Okay, I'll admit I didn't appreciate the itchy sweaters from Nana as a kid, and I don't want to give my kids clothes for holidays. :) I guess I see clothing as my responsibility as a parent, and birthdays and Christmas as a time for fun.

    That doesn't mean they won't get clothes. I just prefer not to. :P I definitely think it's different for teens than younger kids. BUT, I also never cared for clothes, as a kid, a teen or now as an adult. I'd much rather shiny new gadgets. LOL Yeah, I'm still a kid. :)

  47. Congrats Rachel! So happy for you!

  48. I like your idea of a nexessity. I like getting things I would love to have but would never buy for myself. Enjoy your Christmas

  49. I always buy socks for the boys for Christmas. This way I can get rid of all the mismatched pairs. As for the underwear, I'll pass. I have bad memories of a seven pack with the days of the week on each one.

  50. Now that I'm an adult I love those kinds of gifts. I love gas cards or gift cards for a grocery store. I've even gotten toilet paper that was thought to be a gag gift, but I was actually thrilled to death.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  51. Congrats on the release. Call me lucky but I have a practical 8 yr old who put clothes with a special note to include sock and underwear on her list to santa. It also contains notebooks and pens and pencils and oddly enough they are only allowed to ask for 4 things so half the list is practical. Whoo I'm one happy mom

  52. Funny thing - every year as a kid I got a sweater for Christmas. A 'need', right? Except I don't wear sweaters. I itch when I try. What I realized a LONG time after was that I really love vests. Leather, fabric, whatever, I like vests. I still wear the first vest my mom got me long, long ago, a nice leather one.

    OK, PJ and the Ur-Goth tell me it needs dry-cleaning something fierce, but hey. At any rate, what I need now are work clothes. I batter them pretty fierce what with school every day. And wearing vests over my shirts.

    As for the kids? Sometimes I despair. They play with the 'needs' stuff more than the toys.

  53. Congrats on your release! It looks like a winter wonderland of wonderful stories abound in your Passionate Critters anthology! Way to go! :D

  54. Great post! I totally understand it. Congrats on the new release.


  55. @Kathy: Interesting you have a rule to avoid clothes buying, I always thought I would too, until I realized I was turning into my mother. (mwahahahhaha!) Happy Christmas!

    @Dina: Being a natural blond is different than being 'natural' in other ways. Yay for bras!

    @Sarah: I would LOVE to have an e-reader. Unfortunately, it's not in the budget. Hope you enjoy yours though. What a great gift!

  56. @Valerie Mann: Lovely list of necessities! Thanks for commenting.

    @JenM: So true how perspective changes over the years. Appreciate you coming by.

    @jennbooks: Shiny new gadgets are very good indeed!! Happy Christmas!

  57. @Submissions: Thanks so much for this opportunity! I had a blast being showcased on the 30 Days of Decadence blog!! Merry Christmas!

    @Debby: This makes complete sense. There are a lot of things I'm willing to go without, especially since becoming a mother. But it is wonderful to receive a gift I've wanted, but would never buy for myself. Happy holidays, thanks for stopping by.

    @Kathleen Ann Gallagher's Place to Reflect: Socks with days of the week. lol. Our moms must be related. Happy Holidays.

    @joder: *must add gag gifts to the Christmas list. lol. No truly I understand, there's something about knowing your needs are taken care of when you receive necessity gifts. I love this when my in-laws give us meat for Christmas, it's knowing that our kids will have something in their bellies that makes it perfect. Thanks for sharing and Happy Christmas!

  58. @Jennifer Mathis: That's fantastic. I never really minded these types of gifts either, it was just nice to get a 'want' gift too. I think they are equally important. Merry Christmas!Thanks for coming by.

    @Robert C Roman: How great that you found your clothing niche. Kids definitely need equal play and work time. Our daughter is always busy during the school week, but on weekends she is given lots of free time to catch up on being a kid. Thank you for your comment.

  59. @Deena: Thank you for saying so, I think this is a wonderful anthology. It was definitely a tough to write, but nonetheless we persevered and the Decadent family worked hard along with us to create a fabulous group of stories. Happy Christmas!

    @Ursula Sinclair: Wonderful of you to come by. And thank you for the congratulations. Have a blessed holiday!

  60. Ha! I buy underwear and socks for my kids too! I'm delighted to learn I'm not the only mom who does this.

    Great excerpt and an awesome blog. All the best of success with your new release.