My horse husband can be a little tricky to buy presents for. He is passionate about many activities ranging from mountain biking to the stock market and technology to waffle making. And swing dancing. And Soul Train. Oh, yeah, and riding horses. Kinda.
On top of that, he likes to research for THE best possible deal.
And read product reviews.
And research endlessly.
It is rude to confess sometimes this analytical style of purchasing drives me a little crazy?
The Christmas Gift Dilemma
I don’t know the brand of the best mountain biking socks (apparently there is such a thing–socks made for mountain biking–let that sink in for a minute). And we already own five waffle makers. They are all different because you know waffle making is an art and requires a certain type of waffle maker depending on the type of waffle you desire.
Usually if there’s something Mark really wants/needs, he’ll order it via Amazon Prime or just head to Costco. He adores both stores. There goes my gifting opportunity.
Or he’ll say, “I don’t need anything. I’m viewing XYZ swing dancing event in the future/skiing/the gift I already bought myself (shirt, underwear, etc.) as my Christmas gift.”
Way to make Christmas shopping hard for a gal.
Do you know anyone like this or am I alone?
Well, about two weeks ago we embarked on a family fun night and took a cooking class featuring an Italian menu. The blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon were easy and heavenly. The lemon garlic broccolini was so delicious you could almost forget it was a vegetable. And even though I seldom eat meat–and rarely pork–the pork tenderloin was scrumptious to the point of making my vegetarian-ish self think, “Why don’t we eat pork more often?”
I completely blocked out how cute pigs are with their little curly tails.
The crowning glory of this meal was the amaretto gelato. And so when I noticed a gelato maker was ON SALE (about half off) and because of my participation in the class I would get an additional 10% off that night, I thought, “What a perfect surprise Christmas gift!”
My husband is a gelato fiend. While we traveled through Italy this summer Mark ate gelato at least twice a day and once he ate it three times a day. How could this “gelateria” not be meant for him?
“She’s telling me she’ll give me 20% off!” Mark caught my attention on a different aisle of the store. He was holding a liege waffle maker standing next to a store employee. “This can be a family Christmas gift.” He looked like a hopeful little boy.
“Sounds good. You’ve wanted one for a while.” As I said the words I thought, “If I ask for 20% off the gelato maker and she says yes, I should just buy it.”
I proceeded to try to get the attention of the store associate without drawing Mark’s attention. It wasn’t that hard because he likes to talk to everyone and he had found out another couple also in the cooking class had just been to Italy. So he was in the thick of a vacation conversation.
Making the Christmas Gift Deal
I’m not really a wheeler dealer, but I confidently said, “If you give me 20% off this gelato maker, I’ll buy it too, but it has to be a secret. I’ll give you my credit card now.” I was pleasantly surprised when the lady agreed to my terms.
The box containing the gelato maker was huge and I had to figure out how to get it in the car while our class resumed and how to conceal it once in the car–he’d have his own bag with the waffle maker. I sneaked out of the store into the darkness and stashed it in the very back of my car under a layer of saddlepads and newly-laundered polo wraps. He would never find it.
When I returned to the cooking class he made a comment about what took me so long and I brushed it off saying the transaction was slow because of the discount we got on the wafflemaker. And the fancy balsamic vinegars which were also discounted. And the extra large spatula for turning pancakes.
All of these baking and cooking items were his idea except for the potato peeler and garlic skin remover. I didn’t know such a miracle existed.
When the class was over and we walked toward the car with the large bag containing the waffle maker booty, I said, “You’ll have to put the bag in the back seat. There’s too much horse stuff in the way back.” My lie went over as smooth as silk.
Smuggling the Surprise
The next day while he was still at work, I grabbed the surprise gift and placed it in my antique trunk at the foot of our bed. There was a certain smugness to my activities. I thought it was hilarious the gelato maker would literally be under his nose and for the next month he’d be walking past it, possibly sitting on it, etc.
I was pretty proud of myself for being such a thoughtful and sneaky wife. I could totally work for Santa if he needed some especially clever elves.
And then it all came crashing down about days later, circa Cyber Monday. Dum, dum, dum.
“Don’t buy me an ice cream maker for Christmas. I found one at a good price online. I got it as a gift for the family, but it’s really for us.”
I didn’t know what to say. Did he have a suspicion? Was he playing me? Had he seen my Visa statement online?
I didn’t say much, but later decided I needed to come clean so that we would not miss any return deadlines if they were necessary.
“So there’s something I need to show you in the bedroom. Come with me.”
I paused ceremoniously in front of the trunk and made a little speech about how I planned the perfect gift and he would love it and he was walking right past it every day, it was such a great surprise (I’m good at affirming myself if I feel like my cleverness will be overlooked).
I opened the trunk and he laughed, “No way!”
Great minds think alike.
“How much was yours?” (of course)
“I think yours is better than mine. But it hasn’t arrived yet. I guess we’ll have to compare them (of course) when it comes. So that’s why it took you so long when you were checking out at the store.”
I reflected on the meaning of ice cream maker debacle and was reminded of the story The Gift of the Magi. You probably read this as a kid (if you haven’t or it’s been a while you really should check it out). It’s a beautiful tale of a young husband and wife who sacrifice deeply to surprise each other with a perfect Christmas gift.
That story is way more meaningful than ours and I don’t want to spoil the surprise if you haven’t read it or it’s been so long you forgot what happened.
What is similar is that as a couple we’re both doing our best to try to bring a little joy/fun/delight to each other. And maybe it doesn’t really matter which ice cream maker we keep.
Whether meticulously researched or purchased on a whim, maybe the real gift is not the gelato maker, but the love behind the search for the perfect gift.
Perhaps my Christmas surprise being found out was not a fail after all.
Thank you for reading, and because some of you have asked, Knight is doing much better. He should come home Tuesday.