I adore wrapping presents. I get a contact high when I walk into tiny boutiques that exclusively sell wrapping supplies. I love elegant wrapping paper, thick silky ribbons, and handmade cards. If it has to do with making the gift look pretty on the outside, I want it. Wrapping paper is sort of the lipstick and eye-shadow of the present. Sure, it’s what’s inside that counts, but a little mascara never hurt anyone.I also enjoy receiving gifts. I love the idea that someone thought about me enough to go out and find something that they thought reflected my personality.
Sometimes people buy me something that I already have, like a green and blue sea-glass necklace from Nordstrom or a new hardback book that I have just finished reading. In that situation, I am grateful that they know me so well that they are that familiar with my exact taste to buy me an identical item to one that currently resides on my coffee table or in my jewelry box.The Husband does not share my love of all things gift. When an anniversary approaches, he cringes. When my birthday is a week away, he panics. When the kids’ birthdays are upon us, he hands me his credit card and says, “Please buy them something they’ll like.”
Is it any surprise that The Husband and I do not exchange gifts?It happened slowly, it’s not like after a year of dating he said, I will never buy you a box of Godiva chocolates so get over it. He was very good about gifts in the beginning.
But the next thing you know, you are buying a house and having a baby and you have enough money to buy what you need, so extra gifts become superfluous. Who gets the gifts, then? The house gets the gifts.“No, Sweetie, we just got a new stove—I don’t need a present.”
“New air conditioning was expensive. We don’t really have money for gifts now.”“I’d rather have a new tile backsplash. Let’s install that and not do gifts this time.”
Before you know it, you have been married a dozen years with no Tiffany jewelry to show for it. No cashmere sweaters wrapped in silver Nordstrom boxes, no leather purses from Coach under the Christmas tree, no box of handpicked candy in an adult-sized Easter basket.Sometimes I get wistful, thinking how nice it would be if The Husband surprised me with flowers or a gold bracelet or a pretty picture frame.
But then I look out the kitchen window while I am putting away the dinner dishes, and I see him playing soccer with our boys. They run, they jump, they kick. They high-five each other and cheer.I receive gifts every day. Not the kind to display on my coffee table, the kind to keep safe in my heart.