Presents for my wife on her birthday…

They say, “It’s the thought that counts…”

CarolI have noted several times that buying presents for my wife is not my favorite thing. Whether it be for her birthday, Christmas, or our anniversary, it’s always been a challenge.

For our last anniversary, I think I agreed to go in on getting a bike rack for our vehicle. I’m not sure because we haven’t actually done so. In any case, it was her idea, not mine, so it’s more difficult for it to stick in the brain.

Last year, as I’ve noted, she had hinted about getting two pieces of jewelry for Christmas. So I bought them in August. In September, she proudly announced she had ordered the self-same pieces herself. I audibly groaned. She said, “You didn’t TELL you bought them…”

I recently discovered in this blog that she did pretty much the same thing circa 2012. She hinted that she really wanted a particular book from National Geographic. I bought it. Then SHE bought it. I grimaced and ended giving it to something else. I don’t know WHAT I ended up getting her that Christmas.


A good friend of my wife has a daughter who is selling Cutco knives. The daughter wanted to make an appointment with my wife; my wife didn’t HAVE to buy anything because the friend’s daughter gets “points” just for doing the presentation.

I’m familiar with this gig. Back in the 1980s, my girlfriend’s daughter was selling Cutco knives. I let her make the pitch to me. My, those knives were expensive! But I bought one because it seemed to be the thing to do.

So my wife ends up buying several pieces of cutlery. It got to be a little pricey, which can happen easily. Hey, for her birthday this year, would I want to go halfsies on the knives? Yeah, sure, I guess. Oh, and the bill is already due.

So I gave her money for her birthday, a prosaic gift, but at least it won’t be something someone will have to return.

And, finally, I think I hit on something that she wants. I’ve ordered it. Allah willing, she won’t have purchased it for herself. Plus, we’ll go out to dinner. 

I kvetch, but she’s otherwise pretty swell. I love you, dear.

BTW, this is a pic of my wife at a restaurant a block from our house, pre-pandemic. You can tell I took it because it’s fuzzy.

All I want for Christmas is…

maybe eggnog, too

Hess Truck 2020When I first got married to my bride of one score and one, she was often buying me “practical” gifts such as shirts, and pants, and socks. I mean, they were nice shirts and comfortable pants and snazzy socks.

But I wanted the “fun” stuff. A Hess truck! Music! Books! Movies, in whatever format we were using at the time! And I tried to buy her fun stuff, such as some time at her spa, or a massage, or candy, or jewelry.

In the nature of things, I discovered that she really likes receiving the “practical” stuff. Baking items? OK! So that’s what she’s getting. And the odd thing is that I’ve developed an appreciation for the pair of warm gloves, or scarf, or the like.

What I REALLY desire…

I’m putting my list out here, OK? All I want for Christmas, what I’d REALLY want:

Real action to slow climate change such as sustainable energy
Ending food insecurity, because there is enough food
Ending housing insecurity and discrimination

Voting rights for all eligible people, ending voter intimidation, suppression, and disenfranchisement
An end of gerrymandering

A fairer immigration policy that will actually make America great, such as a pathway to citizenship for the DACA folks
The beginning of the end of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of xenophobia
Criminal justice reform
Fair labor policies, including the institution of a living wage

A belief in science, with the understanding that the scientific method means learning new things

Is this too much to ask for? I think not. But I suspect that no guy wearing a red suit, utilizing eight or nine flying reindeer is going to put these items under my tree. We have to continue to bring these things ourselves by demanding fairness and – dare I say – love to the process as we engage with our various levels of government.

But I still want the Hess truck! Do I have to offer it up to the  Christmas creature?

Holiday links

Christmas ads in New Zealand

Maybe Next Year On The Mistletoe – Freezepop.

Coverville 1338: The Christmas Cover Show 2020.

The Dream Isaiah Saw by composer Glenn Rudolph, sung by the Alma (MI) College Choirs (2011). The First Presbyterian choir sang this piece in 2016, which was played for our December 20, 2020 service. We were good! I miss choral singing. Maybe next year…

Presents for Mom

She was a tactful woman, but it was quite evident that she did not particularly enjoy my selection.

When my sisters and I were growing up, buying presents for my mother was not exactly easy. But for either her birthday or Christmas and occasionally both, she would receive some product from Jean Naté. It was “her” product line. I didn’t even know it was still being made until I looked it up; it’s now owned by Revlon.

When she, my father, and baby sister moved down to Charlotte, she started collecting decorative bells. There are LOTS of bells out there, so this made purchasing easy.

Still, I wanted to go off-script, and in 1981, I decided to buy her an LP, Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive, based on my understanding that she liked some of the original Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway songs. She was a tactful woman, but it was quite evident that she did not particularly enjoy my selection. I went back to the bells.

Then around 2000, she decided the bells were just dust collectors and got rid of all but a handful of them, indicating that she didn’t want any more. Suddenly, I didn’t have a gift for which to be on the lookout. I would ask my mother outright, and she’d always say something useless, such as “You don’t need to get me anything.” Yeah, Mom, but I WANT to. Ultimately, I’d just ask my baby sister, who lived with her.

For either her birthday or Christmas 2010, I found this just perfect sweater – warm, the right color purple. Plus I got her those word puzzles that she liked to do to keep her mind sharp.

Today would have been Mom’s 85th birthday. I wish I still had to struggle with what to buy her.

The Rules: Christmas Gifts

thought we had an implied contract. I hint about gifts, she buys, and if there’s something that I want – that I really, really want – that I didn’t get, I’ll buy it myself.

We’ve been married for over 13 years. You’d think The Wife would have figured out the rules about Christmas gifts by now. Maybe I’m too subtle.

Back in September, she made a passing remark about some of the things she might want for Christmas. One of them was a health book; she actually has an earlier iteration, from the 1970s, but it’s now up to the ninth edition.

In October, she comes home from the bookstore with that very book! She says, “Look at what I got!” I harrumphed; I had just ordered it on Amazon that week, and it was too late to cancel. She didn’t see this as a big deal; I did, because she’s not always the easiest person to shop for, and I don’t have an infinite amount of inspiration.

It was especially tricky because we weren’t going to the Medieval Faire this year, that event, where I often buy her a nice wool sweater that she has coveted, fell on the same day I had an extra choir rehearsal, a family birthday party, the daughter’s soccer game, and her first ballet rehearsal for the Nutcracker. Not to mention picking up our repaired vacuum cleaner and taking stuff to the shredding events – we have several bags, and it only takes place periodically.

Moreover, I thought we had an implied contract. I hint about gifts, she buys, and if there’s something that I want – that I really, really want – that I didn’t get, I’ll buy it myself. So when she broadly gives hints before Christmas, I don’t expect her to come home with the item a month later. She claims that she didn’t think I heard her; I almost ALWAYS hear her, though I may have REACTED as though I didn’t, which I attribute to my fine thespian skills.

She said, “Well, it’s no big deal; I’ll return it and get something else.” Well, no, then she’d know precisely what I got her, and there’d be less fun in that. Ultimately, I gave the book I bought to someone else, as a VERY early Christmas present, and bought The Wife ANOTHER book, which, I hope, she doesn’t go out and purchase herself. Because I’m starting to run out of ideas…

Want/Give for Christmas? QUESTIONS

What do you want for Christmas? What are you giving?

I’ve gotten pretty narrow with my Christmas want list, year after year. I always want a new Hess truck and a World Almanac. Every two or three years, a Leonard Maltin Movie Guide. And then I put a bunch of CDs on the Amazon list from which people select one or two; I’ve just added a couple of albums by Florence + the Machine, so it’s not ALL 20th Century artists.

As for what I’m giving, except for the wife and daughter, I’m usually utilizing the gift card.

What do you want for Christmas? What are you giving?
Christmas Eve in San Diego
The Tick Loves Santa!
What Shooting Parrots hates about Christmas; see my comment for related disdain.


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