Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


After 20 Years, I Still Don’t Know What to Get My Husband for Christmas

Photograph by Twenty20

“Honey, what would you like for Christmas?” I ask my hubby.

“Oh, you know what I like.”

Nope. The problem is, I don’t.

Every holiday season, I prove myself a failure as a gift-giving wife. As my sugar-induced holiday insomnia kicks in, I lie awake trying to conjure the perfect gift, but I never find anything satisfactory. I mean, he already has enough socks and "Star Wars" toys. How can I know someone so well and not at all?

“It’s like you talked to Santa himself!” my best friend exclaims.

When it comes to others, my present-giving skills are epic. My brain becomes a steal trap of informational tidbits; so, come Christmas, I access these particulars to search websites, catalogs and even to brave shopping mall parking lots in my quest for the perfect gift. I’m so masterful, I’m the example Santa uses during his pep talks to his elves on gift-giving.

My husband is my kryptonite. When the time comes to find the ideal present for my ideal partner, I fail. His holiday sweater from last year still sits unworn in a drawer, and that digital photo frame from eight years ago never made it out of the box. I’ve known my hubby as many seasons as "The Bachelor" has been handing out roses, but this long-term knowledge doesn’t give me any insight.

It’s clear that my presents are a shameful disappointment, and I can’t help but wonder if that makes me one, too.

The year I tried to think outside of the wrapped box and create a scavenger hunt for him, I’d basically forgotten the entire premise of scavenging—I gave him a card telling him where his present was hiding. It’s clear that my presents are a shameful disappointment, and I can’t help but wonder if that makes me one, too.

“Oh … well, I like it,” my husband says with a fake smile.

Unlike my husband, I don’t have to fake my smiles on Christmas morning. His gifts to me (store-bought or handmade) feel like an extension of how well he knows me. I feel loved and appreciated. I’d love for him to have the same experience, but my gift-giving history speaks for itself. I can’t seem to get it right. If my husband is testing me with the whole, “You know what I like” ploy, then I’m failing miserably.

To his credit, the hubs doesn’t complain about my Christmas ineptness. Maybe he’s just not one to worry. Perhaps my knowledge of my husband doesn’t have to lead up to the perfect present that I get him once a year. Maybe what’s more important is how our year is spent: We laugh and bicker, and laugh at our bickering, and raise our son. Our year is spent together. Finding a gift that’s a true extension of us might take a little more than an internet search—that may take a lifetime together, and I’m all for that.

More from lifestyle