I'm not being rhetorical here. I need help, people. What do you get the man who has every electronic gadget, device, musical instrument, CD, DVD, wine accessory, wine, article of clothing, and even neon-colored sneakers? This happens every December, the time of year I'm handed one of my biggest life tasks...
I must buy a Christmas present for my husband Randy. I can sense the raised eyebrows of more creative and resourceful women. But you must understand, ladies. Buying Randy a Christmas gift is really, really hard for these six reasons...
First, he's a master gift giver. It's like trying to out-cook Jacques Pepin. Randy loves buying presents. He loves the hunt, trying to find that perfect shirt, or just the right trinket. He matches personality and hobbies and favorite colors. Each year I get things I didn't know I wanted, but when I get them.... they're perfect. I love them.
(Of course this has also come in handy over the years. I quickly learned Randy's the one to go to for buying our sons' Christmas gifts. From tricycles and Pokeman cards when they were little, to guitar amps in modern times, this Dad knew what he was doing. And I was happy to let him do it).
Second, he loves to shop. Yes, we have a mixed marriage. Randy has the fastest keyboard hands I've ever seen. He knows his way around Amazon, Ebay and Etsy in ways that would shock Jeff Bezos. Christmas feeds his gift-giving and buying passions. He has the patience of a duck hunter. He'll sit and wait for the perfect gift at the right price at the most opportune time and then pounce.
Me? I don't like shopping, even online. I get frustrated. If I don't find the perfect item in ten minutes, I walk away.
Third, he already has everything. Like many people in this part of the world (including myself) Randy lacks for nothing materially. I seriously can't think of another object he could use. So, this has led me to a more creative approach. Recently I've switched to giving him experiences over the material. Except, there's a problem...
Fourth, what I like to buy him he's "meh" about -- I've given Randy tickets to Broadway shows and gift certificates to Manhattan restaurants. What could go wrong? Yet I never understood his polite but restrained response. Then he explained it. Manhattan means work to him. Manhattan is hurrying in the rain and not finding a cab. Manhattan is crowded trains. Manhattan is loud, sprawled out and expensive. I finally got that. And it made sense, but its one more category to cross off my list.
Fifth, the stuff he does likes, I don't understand. Randy could always use another doohickey for his P.A. system in the basement. I know he welcomes electronic gizmos for his bass and musical stuff. But I might as well be assigned purchasing medical equipment for an operating room. It's not my bag, baby. And on the few occasions I've tried to get him a techie gift he already had it... in a better version.
Sixth, he gets a kick more from giving than receiving - He'll deny this, but I know its true. My husband loves to give. He presides over Christmas like a master of ceremonies, doling out each present, watching our faces while we pull back the wrapping. He gets joy from making people happy. I sit back, sipping my coffee, knowing I'll always be playing for second in the Yuletide sweepstakes. My husband is a pro.
However, that doesn't mean I give up. I've just learned where to channel my holiday energies.
If I can't find the perfect gift for my husband, I do the next best thing. I give him a happy Christmas. He has a cheerful, decorated home. We have good food in the fridge and family around the table. We have a pretty Christmas tree and Poinsettias and stockings hung over the fireplace.
If I can't be as good in the gift-giving department, then I decided I'll be good in the Christmas-making department. And that is the one area I excel over him.
Meanwhile, time is ticking. I'll keep searching. And who knows? Maybe I'll hit it right this year. Maybe I'll find that perfect gift for my husband. In the meantime, there's always neon-colored sneakers.
Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, CT. Come visit her blog, "Musings, Rants & Scribbles" where she shares thoughts on growing up, growing older and (hopefully) growing wiser.