Who of us has not given a gift to a friend, family member or spouse just to never see the gift again? Over the years my wife and I have spent countless hours painfully searching for the perfect gift for people. Unfortunately, many of these supposed perfect gifts find their new homes the closest or even the garage. This unwanted/unappreciated gift phenomenon is not unique but commonly exists in most families or friendships.
But, what about marriages? Have you ever heard an individual say that they just wished they were given cash so that they could just get what they truly wanted? If a wife were to make this statement, should the husband ever acknowledge it? It was acknowledged by one husband – which will forever be known as the Cash Christmas of 2001.
During the holiday season, most couples attend holiday parties. Although they may enter and exit the party together, often the majority of the time spent at the party results in the guest naturally segregating into gender groups. One frequent conversation among the men is the gifts that they purchased for their wives that year. Ironically, the frequent laughs emanating from the women’s conversation is the spontaneous response from hearing about the gifts the various husbands gave the previous year.
Men cannot understand why their wives do not like their gifts and are often panicked when shopping for their spouse. This is with good reason…..with every gift, there is a risk of offending. For example, it takes the average husband ten years before realizing that they should never purchase clothing for their spouse. If the husband purchases too large of a size, it will be interpreted that the husband views his wife as grossly overweight. If he purchases a size too small, he is subconsciously implying that his wife needs to lose weight.
The novice husband may believe that he is safe because he conducted a recon mission to obtain all of his wife’s actual sizes from her clothes in the closet. This level of arrogance is pathetically ignorant. This poor fool has not learned that a size 4 in one store may be dramatically different than a size 4 in a different store. Regardless of the label, the husband should know and is ultimately at risk.
The year was 2001. It was about two hours and several bottles of wine into a holiday party. The men were discussing the various gift fiascos from the previous year before transitioning into the gift topics for the current year. The conversation came to an abrupt halt when one of the guys proudly said that he was giving his wife cash for Christmas. Silence immediately came upon the group.
There were about six guys in the group. Not one of these men thought it was a good idea. But, he proudly defended his position. He went year-by-year, gift-by-gift before stating that each year his wife says that it would be so much easier if he just gave her cash so that she could get what she wanted. Again….every man present cautioned him of the potential repercussions of his actions. However, he held the position that he was giving her what she wanted – A Cash Christmas.
I think before noon on Christmas Day, every person in our zip code probably heard about the Cash Christmas of 2001. While he had plenty of thoughtful gifts from his loving wife to unwrap, she had a plain white envelope with a stick on bow open. One person spent time traveling to the various stores, obtaining boxes and meticulously wrapping each gift with love while the other went to the ATM.
Whether it be a man or a woman……we don’t always mean what we say. In addition, it may be a cliché but……..it often truly is the thought that counts.
As previously stated, men cannot understand why their wives do not like their gifts – especially when the men typically love the gifts that they receive from their wives. Yet at the same time, wives cannot understand why their husbands often give such horrible gifts when they consistently give their husbands exactly what they want. The answer is simply……women are better listeners than men. When men mention various things that they would like throughout the year, women make a mental note. When women mention the various things that they would like, the average man can only retain the memory for about 45 minutes before it is gone forever.
Whether one receives the perfect gift or not, the gift should be given with love and effort – which means a Cash Christmas is never acceptable regardless of the year.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.