It’s that time of year again, but instead of telling you where to find great last-minute Law & Order: Organized Crime and/or SVU themed gifts like we did last year, we’re bringing you Elliot Stabler’s
(totally real) Christmas shopping list.
What does the infamously-unbuttoned King of Catholic Guilt need to get for friends, family, colleagues, and that special someone who transcends all of the above? Well, some gifts are going to be thoughtful, and help smooth over his life, while some may be stupidly generic. And others…are just going to be the result of this man having way too many kids and way too little time.
So, buckle up, folks. Because Zaddy Claus is coming to town and these are totally the gifts Stabler’s buying this year. Or not. Who cares? This should be fun either way.
1. A Gift That’s Going to Hurt His Wallet for Reyes
Sorry not sorry to El: It doesn’t matter that his insane throwing arm saved the day. Bobby Reyes’ wife shouldn’t be the one replacing that fancy new phone. And, in fact, Stabler’s going to need to fork over enough cash to get something even better. In the unlikely event that Detective Reyes has insurance that covers “angry old man YEETS phone into the sun” damage, Elliot can always just pay the Reyes family’s phone bill for the next…um…forever sounds like a good length of time.
2. All the Things for Sergeant Bell
Detective Stabler just can’t help himself from being all, “Elliot, yes” whenever his Sergeant-slash-partner is like, “Elliot, no.” So, he’s going to have to do his best to get her all the self-care and overall “Elliot-induced headache” relief money can buy. (Sadly, even an infinite amount of money can’t make that go away, but trying goes a long way.)
Think a gift card that entitles Ayanna to a recurring spa day, very expensive liquor for their next after-work drink, and — yes — a couple of Costco-sized bottles of over-the-counter headache medicine for that intense pain he’s constantly causing.
But, wait! There’s more! You know those aromatherapy neck wraps that you can either nuke for a heating pad or freeze for an ice pack? Stabler needs to buy Bell one of those, too. And if she can’t find that rare, must-have toy of the year for Jackson, Elliot had better be the poor soul calling all the stores, at all hours, and constantly refreshing Amazon to make sure Santa delivers.
Usually, going all out for a boss like this would be seen as sucking up…but this Christmas, Elliot’s basically just trying to undo the damage he’s caused this year. (Before, of course, he causes more in 2023. Again…he just can’t help himself.)
3. Corny Dad Jokes for Jet
Jet’s gift should be painfully easy to figure out, which we bet will make Elliot feel — you guessed it — guilty. As usual.
With all their joking about Elliot being old and Jet being one of the youths, and with the many, many times Elliot has helped himself to a seat on the younger detective’s desk, it just seems fitting to get Jet some “kid” stuff. Because she’s one of Elliot’s kids, just like the other five
Here’s what Detective No-Buttons needs to do: Hop online, use “the Google” to find her a rad glow-in-the-dark reversible octopus plushie to keep her rainbow desk dude company, and throw in a coffee mug with a black cat on it that reminds him of her. (We’re thinking some variety of “ew, people.”)
Then, with a little bit of help from one of the other Stabler kids, Elliot can find a shop online that will make him a customized road crossing sign. “No Old Man Crossing” can easily be attached to Detective Slootmaekers’ workstation, and — you totally know where this is going, right? — we figure the old man in question will make sure to sit exactly where the sign says he shouldn’t.
Most of us would love to have all of that planted right in front of us. Jet…not so much.
Even so, all of the gifts from Baldy Claus will, of course, be a hit. (Just, like, secretly though.)
4. Trip to New York’s Finest Tattoo Parlor for Whelan
Hopefully, Stabler remembers hearing Detective Whelan say something about losing a SpongeBob tattoo after that “last” big case that…wasn’t actually the last. (Thank God.)
So, once Jamie’s arm is healed, it’s time to kill two birds with one stone. El can successfully scratch one more question mark off his Christmas shopping list by footing the bill for whatever Whelan wants inked into his other arm as a replacement, of sorts. While he’s researching the best places in town, Stabler should also do some browsing for ways to get that Brotherhood abomination off his body while he’s at it.
This plan is just plain smart and efficient for a guy who has practically no free time. Also, since everyone keeps saying Jamie Whelan reminds them of a younger Elliot Stabler — though, Elliot doesn’t see it. He was never that much of a pain in the ass! (K. Sure, El.) — the kid should enjoy the gesture.
5. Gift of Nostalgia for Mama Stabler
We’re taking this all the way back to “Swing” because we like to hurt our own feelings. Or, um. Elliot needs to take this all the way back to his childhood because he likes to hurt us. There we go.
At the 2022 Stabler family Christmas get-together, picture Bernie opening up a package of blocks, being completely perplexed, and then bursting into happy tears when her boy builds her “the most amazing buildings” as part of her gift. He just needs “Mama” to know he still has his passions and is himself again, maybe more than ever, after all that time he spent running from himself.
And Bernie will totally get the gesture. Because a mother knows.
6. Coins From The International Bank of Dad for the Stabler Kids & Grandkids
Building a Christmas shopping list for
84 five grown daughters and sons, their significant others, and a couple of grandkids is difficult even for the best shoppers. So, we’re giving Elliot an easy out here since we know he’s far from that. In 2022, it’s ok for Elliot to realize he’s so far out of his depth on this that he might as well just ask everyone what they want. When they all play the “you don’t have to get me anything” card, he can decide that the grown “kids” are all getting gift cards and various practical things they need for home and work.
He must, however, spoil the grandkids rotten, providing every single item on their letters to Santa. And since Eli is somehow in college but seems like he was only 14 or 15 just yesterday, it’s a safe bet to throw his youngest’s Christmas money. The actual adults in the room won’t complain about dear ol’ Dad playing favorites…much.
7. An Actual Partner for Olivia
The things Elliot needs to give Olivia, not just for Christmas but for always, can’t actually be put on some shopping list. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get her something nice. What that should be, though, is anyone’s guess at this point. Anything too personal, and she’ll avoid his invitations to lunch for even longer. But if it’s not enough, she’ll think she doesn’t matter. (Which, let’s be real: She’ll probably always think that no matter what…which is the real crime here.)
El might be tempted to try writing a letter to replace that other abomination, but that’s a terrible idea. No point in reopening that wound. Besides, it’s not like the right words for what EO are to each other really exist. (Hi. I keep trying, and failing, to find them. Can confirm. Words fail in the face of this ship.)
Instead, we suggest that Elliot just starts…showing up for his Olivia. When he hears through the NYPD gossip channels that SVU has caught a rough case and knows Captain Benson will be stuck late at the office, he should drop by with shitty Chinese takeout. If he catches Olivia on TV, seeming like the consummate professional to outside observers but looking like she’s about to murder her Chief with her eyeballs to him, Elliot should treat her to the good coffee…or, perhaps, a bottle of disgustingly expensive wine.
On second thought, scratch the “or” in that last one. Because actually, he should go with both because he has a lot to make up for — and Olivia deserves all the good things in the world.
When Stabler hears Benson is in danger, he had better make excuses to be “in the neighborhood” more often. And speaking of hearing: Elliot is long overdue for not just hearing, but really listening to, Olivia. About everything…all the hurt he caused, all the things he’s missed, and all the feelings that she can’t quite express directly but that he should be able to pick up on as her partner.
Basically, Detective Stabler needs to give Captain Benson all the little things that, eventually, might just add up to all the joy they’re both long overdue for. Bare minimum, after all these years, he needs to give her back her partner — the guy she fell in love with. He needs to rebuild her home.
And yeah, some kind of pampering — like maybe an even fancier spa package than he gets for Bell. Or, perhaps, an extra soft and warm hoodie or something — would probably work for a more quantifiable Christmas gift option.