The serious business of gift giving

I take gifts very seriously. Not for me — I just want socks and alcohol — but for other people. I should retire from the newspaper business and shop for busy people. I don’t want to do boring grocery and clothing shopping — I love finding great gifts that are unusual and reflect something about the person and their interests.

There’s no one harder to shop for then my very own Long Suffering Husband. We’ve been together for 20 years, I’m probably closer to him than anyone else, other then our children, and he is insanely hard to shop for. He’s not much of a collector, hobbyist or fan of many things. He appreciates practical things and those are … well, they are boring.

I don’t want boring. I want the person’s face to light up when they open it. I want them to squeal with delight or to say “I love it.” The LSH wants his gifts to be useful. He wants to see the recipient using it regularly or meeting a need. In this way we diverge and reveal our true selves: He is dependable and I am frivolous.

We finally came to an agreement when it came to buying gifts. We only would buy gifts for our birthdays and Christmas. Birthday gifts must be small, and Christmas gifts may not exceed $50. We have a houseful of things, don’t really need any more and buy ourselves what we want or need when we want or need it.

Of course, he is always doing things to make me look bad like buying me an anniversary gift and correctly remembering our anniversary date. Then I have to scramble. He does it to mess with me. This Christmas, I was determined to get the perfect gift — and I did find something under our agreed-upon price limit he would enjoy. I was proud of myself and excited to give him the gift.

It took him six weeks — because he waits until the next-to-last-minute, which drives me crazy and is another reason I do the majority of the gift shopping — to go shopping so I could elicit information from the kids. This is not because I’m nosy. OK, it’s partly because I’m nosy and partly in self-defense. No matter how perfect a gift is, if he put a pile of gifts under the tree or spent a fortune, I’d feel bad. He doesn’t want to make me feel bad, he wants to make me happy. So, like I said: self-defense.

“What did your father get me?” I asked.

“We can’t tell you,” the Professor said.

“How many presents did he get?”

“We can’t tell you that, either,” Sass said.

“Can you tell me roughly how much he spent? Did he go over the $50 threshold?”

“I think he did that with the first two gifts he bought,” Sass said.

“I thought we had a deal!”

I had to make an emergency trip to purchase additional — but thoughtful! — gifts to even things out.

I suppose there’s always next year.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at