Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gifts

In the spirit of this holiday season, I thought I would share a memory of a special gift my husband got for me one year.  He has always supported my writing habit, and this year was no exception.

They say - whoever "they" are - that when it comes to gift-giving, it's the thought that counts. While I don't always agree with everything "they" have to say, I have to give them this one.

My husband puts a great deal of thought into not only the present but the presentation. It isn't enough to merely hand over a package for some occasion, he has to somehow turn it into an event and over the years we've been together he's devised numerous, and often complicated, ways of surprising me.

Once he initiated his Christmas charade the week after Thanksgiving. It began with the announcement that this year he was going to be practical about my gift. Perhaps he'd build the bench in the kitchen I'd been wanting. Since I really liked the bench when he finished it, unlike the feelings I had toward the green stool I'd received a few years before that, I was delighted to accept the bench.

A week later, a friend told me that she knew what I was getting for Christmas. I tried to act nonchalant as I explained that I already had my present. She just grinned in response, and I started to wonder if my husband was up to something.

Then another friend mentioned that she, too, knew what I was getting for Christmas. I wondered some more but didn't know what to even anticipate as I'd not expressed a desire for anything specific. At least not anything within the realm of possibility. There had been a brief mention of emeralds, a new wardrobe, or a cruise, but I knew they were out of the question.

About a week before Christmas, my husband finally admitted that all the excitement was over an electric paint-brush. Knowing there was no such thing, I immediately dismissed his comment, but trying to figure out what he and my friends were so excited about was about to give me ulcers.

Finally, Christmas morning arrived. We opened our gifts and my present turned out to be an electric pencil sharpener. Still suspecting that there might be something else - a pencil sharpener just didn't measure up to the previous excitement - I waited for my husband to launch the big surprise. We continued with our usual holiday morning routine of breakfast, phone calls to out-of-town relatives, and playing with new toys. Part of me was still on alert for the "big surprise," but nothing happened.

About mid-afternoon when I'd about decided my friends were nuts to be so excited about an electric pencil sharpener, I went into my office to put the instrument away. There was a large box on my desk. I stood for a moment, stunned, then heard my husband behind me. "Merry Christmas," he said.

The top of the box had been set loosely over something and I lifted it to see a new typewriter. (Keep in mind that this was a long time ago and you will understand why I was thrilled. I wasn't too far removed from my old 1940's vintage manual and this new machine was electric. Plus it had a correction cartridge!)

I had that typewriter for a long time, keeping it even when I got my first computer and glad that I had it when the computer was down for repairs. When I finally accepted the fact that the old machine needed to go, the parting was wrenching. Not so much for what it was, an object that had served me well for so many years, but for what its presence reminded me of.

Yes, it really is the thought that counts.

Posted by Maryann Miller who loves to give and receive gifts, and thinks her new book, Open Season, would make a wonderful Holiday gift.


  1. What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this story! Thank you so much for sharing it, and congratulations to your husband for his ingenuity.

    Write on!

  3. Glad you liked the story Meika and Sharon. This is just one of the many ways my husband has surprised me with gifts and he was always quite creative in the games.

  4. Maryann: When you're done with your husband, can I have him?

  5. Hubster once gave me a Swiss Army Knife. I loved it, not for what it was, but for what it represented. I'd been watching MacGyver, and mumbled, "Why don't I have one of those" when he worked his magic with his SAK. I wasn't aware Hubster was listening, as he was doing something else at the time, and most of the time he doesn't hear me even when I'm talking directly at him!

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  6. What a heartwarming story Maryann! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. Nice surprise you got.

    Once I bought my wife an electric grinder for Christmas present. The year after she got her revenge when I got a steam iron >:D

    Cold As Heaven

  8. My dad used to do things like that. The year he replaced my mother's inexpensive and worn-thin wedding band after about 15 years, he got a huge TV tray box from somewhere, then wrapped the ring in boxes inside boxes and stuck that package clear at the bottom of the big box, then stuffed it full of newspapers. By the time Mom got to the ring, she was in tears because she finally figured out what he'd done. It was a great moment.

  9. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. This is so much fun. Sorry Kathryn, I'm keeping my guy.

    Terry, I love that you wanted a Swiss army knife. Last year I got an electric drill and it was exactly what I wanted. Went out and made a rack to hang my tomato cages in my barn the day after Christmas. Felt just like Tim the tool man. LOL

  10. Ta-Da! Here's 8 insane blogs YOU may steal/plagiarize to thy heart's content; however, be warned, Upstairs in Heaven Above, my 8 blogs of wisdom and avant-garde-efficaciousness will be attributed to moi, aussi. Though, I don't think you'll care in the Great Beyond fulla kick-assness. God bless.

  11. And I remember typwriters and the new fangled (or is it fanggled)electric. I stll like a good pencil sharpener but no one ever gave me one. Last year the big TV from my wife was nice.

  12. That reminds me, Old Guy, I need a new pencil sharpener. There are times I still use that old NO 2 pencil.


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