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…