Thanks to my colleague Kelly Conaboy, I know when Christmas is. It’s in a week. As I, sweet and diligent elf that I am, review the heartfelt gifts I have tirelessly fetched for my loved ones, I’m also thinking, finally, reluctantly, of myself. But what do I want?
Then it hits me, like a sudden injection of nog straight to the vein, as soon as I read about a present so wonderfully strange and seasonally appropriate that I have never wanted anything more:
Santa’s finger bone.
Yes, Santa was real; yes, he had fingers; yes, one of his finger bones was given by William the Conqueror to monks at an English abbey in the 11th century, as per its recent discovery on an ancient inventory list by a man who studies abbeys.
Just try to put yourself in these sandals for a second: You and your friends are monks in an abbey. William the Conqueror takes over, and he gives you many relics as gifts, including a literal piece of Saint Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus. You say to each other, “Yessss, we got the finger bone!”
My ideal Christmas gift is one that no one else on the entire planet has and is so singular as to be a famous human’s body part. Is there any item that even comes close to halting the conversation around other people’s presents as Santa’s finger bone does? Nothing compares. See this same exchange: “Oh, Santa gave you that Le Creuset? Interesting, I have his finger bone right here in this small box.”
We don’t know if Santa’s finger bone survived into modernity, but wherever it is — the Queen’s treasure chest, Harrod’s — I must have it. Please, someone, buy it for me.