Have you ever noticed that human propensity to mind other’s business? Very interesting and I’m sure a hold-over from a more cave-like-existence when it probably came in handy…both to keep your neighbor safe as well as to get first dibs on his stuff when he met with his demise. And really, we haven’t evolved much since then aside from argyle socks. Case in point, folks love to comment on gifts given and received. (And a whole bunch more stuff, but I’ll limit myself because I have a long list of things to get done today.)
One year my husband sent me to Cook’s of Crocus Hill for a class. No one batted an eye. But you should have heard the hullabaloo when his response to the “whatcha get the wifey for Christmas?” was a set of Wusthof knives in a block which I’d seen at my cooking class.
“WHAT?!? Are you crazy man? You’ll be sleeping on the couch for a month!”
Now, I don’t consider my husband and I to have really that unusual of a relationship, except that my husband only sleeps on the couch when my, ahem, deep breathing keeps him awake. So a gift, lovingly picked out with a nod to my interests, would never land my husband on the couch of marital discord.
But after I tweeted that my 40th birthday present of new Calphalon pots and pans a few years ago was still a great gift, a gentleman was aghast over my husband’s gift-giving choice. Which got me to thinking.
Why is it that women should get “certain” gifts for holidays and men a different list of “certain” gifts? Shouldn’t gifts reflect the interests of the people receiving them, more than what is deemed appropriate? Am I really to believe that men are only interested in power tools and women are only interested in jewelry? Because I’m not buying that.
If you look at the circulars/flyers that coincide with holidays, you might be led to believe that men like to receive newer and more advanced tools to improve their experience while working on a task but that women are more receptive to improving their appearance.
Hello? Don’t men like to look “fancy” or “nice”? Don’t women like to have an easier job of it while working on the tasks of life?
I guess the real eye-opener here is how lucky my husband and I are to be well-matched in our approach to gift-giving because it sounds like there would be some marital discord if I wanted new earrings for every occasion and he wanted to get me gadgets.
Or maybe the lucky thing is that we talk to one another and listen to what the other says. So when I hear my husband casually mention that he’d really like a new power strip, I know just what to wrap up and put under the tree. Likewise, when I covet a new vacuum, he knows that I’ll be happy to receive one. And since neither of us has bought into the advertising and commercial gimmick that holiday gift-giving should be only about giving “extras” instead of things that make the everyday better, he and I have happy holidays, each and every time. Because, really, isn’t it nice to receive a pair of argyle socks that you would never actually buy for yourself because they are so stinking expensive that you’d just lovingly fondle them a bit before picking up a more practical choice? Or in my case, a sauce pan that costs a ridiculous amount of money but makes me want to stroke it. And since I use that sauce pan nearly every day, I am reminded daily just how much my husband loves me. Oh sure, I think that whenever I get out the pearls he gave me years ago, but that’s once in a blue-moon. A daily reminder just might be a better thing.
So as we approach the holiday gift-giving heydays, try this concept: get folks stuff what they like and don’t worry so much about whether sauce pans and screw drivers make good gifts. For this girl, at least, a new sauce pan really brings out my saucy side. Luckily, my husband knows that.
Or perhaps a safer approach would be this: if you really want something for a holiday, let the folks in your life know that. It’s the expectation that folks will just know because they live with us that usually leads to trouble. So whether you’ve lived together for years or if this is a new thing, be open about your desires (ahem, take that as you will). It is through dialogue that we humans just might evolve into something more amazing than mere argyle sock wearing Neanderthals.