Thoughtless Gifts Quick Tips
With Christmas so close I find myself once again struggling to find a gift for my wife. She already bought herself the Treo she’s been begging for, assuring me that it can count as her Christmas gift and that I don’t need to get her anything. Now, even a donkey like me knows that you should never believe your wife when she says you don’t need to get her anything. But, as many of you husbands know–imagining up a gift can be a nightmare. If your wife is like mine—claiming that giving me a wishlist would eliminate the element of surprise—then you are in real trouble.
During our second Christmas together, I somehow convinced my wife to give me a list of items she would like. She identified 3 categories: clothing, office supplies, and household stuff. I decided to ignore the clothing idea and went for the office supplies and household stuff–thankfully she gave me a few ideas within each of these categories. I went to Wal-Mart and raided the office supplies aisle–20 packages of 3×5 cards, a dozen folders, 10 packs of pens, some lined paper for good measure, plus a couple other random things like staples and tape refills. I then went to the household aisle and picked up a griddle. What a job I did! Christmas shopping for my wife took less than 20 minutes! I didn’t really know how to wrap anything, which has been a recurring problem over the years (thank goodness for plastic shopping bags), so I just piled everything up into a couple packing boxes and taped some wrapping paper to the sides and tops of the boxes.
Christmas morning came and I was excited to see my wife’s reaction, but what a bust it turned out to be (the gift-giving, not her face). Apparently my wife assumed that the office supplies would be used to stuff her stocking (was that my job too?), not as her main gifts. She looked shocked as she surveyed the sea of note cards, pens, and paper.
“You aren’t happy?” I asked.
“Not really,” she said, “I really wanted the clothes I told you about.”
“Well,” I said, “that was too hard to figure out. What if I guessed a size that was too big? I would be in a lot of trouble. I decided to avoid that drama. Besides, you wrote this other stuff down too.”
We discussed the situation for a while, but this really went nowhere, and although I didn’t get into a lot of trouble, I didn’t make Christmas very good that year. Years have passed, and I still hate spending a lot of time trying to figure out what she wants, so I have devised a few methods that enable me to provide a nice gift without spending a lot of time or thought.
So, I am dubbing December Thoughtless Gift Month, and providing tips on getting holiday gifts for your wife without spending much time or thought.
The Santa’s Little Helper method
Although shopping from a list can prove to be disastrous (see above), it can be successful if you delegate the purchasing duties to a female who can interpret the code. Like a cryptanalyst working for the government, your sister, mother, or female friend can understand what your wife really meant to write. You might need to sell your little helper on this idea, but just tell her that you are desperate to provide a good Christmas this year, and she is the only one capable of doing it. After you have buttered her up, let her know that she has free reign to purchase whatever she thinks it is your wife wants. Of course you should provide a budget. I suggest 20 percent below what you actually want to spend–hopefully this way you will only end up 20 percent over. Although the female helper will spend a bit more than you would have, you will be on your way to a successful and pain free Christmas, without much thought. Nice work!