Okayyyy so New Girl is my new obsession. And I kind of have an itty bitty massive crush on Nick. So it was kind of inevitable that I would write a Nick-centric fic for this fandom...

It's based off the episode The 23rd. Just a little bit of holiday fluffiness. Happy holidays and have a great new year, everyone. :)

x x x

Whenever it came to getting gifts for people, Nick had the habit of buying what he'd want for himself rather than considering what the other person would want. Maybe that's why Winston said he was the worst gift giver ever—maybe he was right.

Though, seriously, that frozen burrito in a bucket thing had been a stroke of genius. Burritos were delicious. Buckets were useful. You could use the bucket to carry the burrito around until you ate it, and then afterwards you could put the wrapper in it, turn it into a trash can. Try telling that to Winston, though. Sheesh. Nick should've just kept it for himself.

Same with those thumb tacks he planned on giving his twelve-year-old nephew. He'd written that note telling the kid not to swallow them, so boom, safety hazard eliminated, and yet Schmidt and Winston still had to go and make such a huge deal about it. Man, what he could do with a 200 pack of thumb tacks—oh. Right. That was the problem, wasn't it? The whole getting the gifts for himself rather than the other person.

But he always started out with every intention to get the perfect gift, and it always seemed like a good idea at the time, and anyway, if it was good enough for him, shouldn't it be good enough for the other person? And all that other stuff, like it's the thought that counts and all that.

He'd tried his best to break his habit when he went shopping with Jess to find a Christmas present for Paul. He resisted recommending the Bob Marley album he'd been dying to get, the duct tape he could use for the rip in one of the living room chairs' cushions. Instead, he tried to pretend he was Jess—oh God, that was a scary thought—and think of what she would want for Paul.

When they found that fuzzy plush toy of the anatomically correct heart, he felt like they'd struck gold. She'd give Paul a heart—her heart. Hah, look at him, getting all metaphorical. But truly, what could top that? Her heart. Her quirky, weird little heart. He couldn't imagine a more perfect gift.

For Paul, that is. Of course. For Paul. From Jess, to Paul, her heart. He'd been happy to help.

But then there was the whole debacle at the party, and Jess broke up with Paul, and Nick felt guilty even though he hadn't done anything. Well, okay, so he'd done something—you know, accidentally telling Paul that Jess didn't love him—but it wasn't that. He meant the heart. He'd told Jess to give Paul her heart, when she obviously wasn't ready to take that step. It didn't seem like either of those two weirdos had actually picked up on his carefully crafted, rather romantic metaphor, but still, he felt like it proved all over again that he really was a terrible gift giver.

So when they stood on Candy Cane Lane later that night—well, two A.M.—surrounded by deflated and unlit lawn ornaments like they'd wound up in some kind of creepy Christmas graveyard, it was like the ultimate failure. God, and it would've been so good, too, if he'd pulled it off. He didn't even care about seeing the damn street lit up himself—it was all for her, one hundred percent.

Why'd she even want something so stupid, anyway, a bunch of sparkly twinkly lights and a couple of blow-up Santas, maybe a flock or a herd or whatever of some reindeer yard decorations? And yet, the disappointment dripping from her head to her toes made him feel like the stupid one.

So yeah, he'd walked up to that door and started pounding on it, started screaming for the lights to come on. It was maybe a little crazy, but it was distinctly possible he'd crossed that line a long time ago, maybe before he even realized it. Maybe it was when he agreed to let the more-than-a-little-crazy-herself Jess become his new roommate.

But when he heard her voice join in too, when he saw her run in circles with her arms waving, shouting along with the rest of them, he didn't care much about his sanity, or his bad fuzzy heart idea, or his imperfect gift for her. And when the lights started coming on, one by one down the block, her smile outshined all of it, and it got him thinking. Maybe, just maybe, this had been a gift for him after all.