I have been fortunate to have had another birthday and another anniversary within 2 weeks of each other. As always I have a rather opportunistic view on both and believe in making the most if it rather than seeing it as downhill road. And in any case, downhill is better for me as I sweat less! Which brings me to the issue of presents….
Husbands and presents are mutually irreconcilable concepts. No, ladies, they cannot read your mind. And they will never know you well enough to buy the perfect present. And if they know you well enough, they will buy the wrong brand. Guaranteed. And we can keep on telling ourselves that it is the thought that counts, but, my darlings, on a primal wife level, it does not do it for us! Be serious now.
But back to me. I am blessed with an extraordinary husband. He is kind, loving, generous, and a real mensch, but his ability to buy me a present is akin to the Lions winning the Super 14 this year (to relate it to something husbands will be able to understand). Not going to happen. I, on the other hand has been raised in a home where giving and getting a present is a whole sacred process. Lots of time is spend on who the person is, what would make him/her happy and, more important, what present would make him/her remember you by that mere token that you have bestowed upon the recipient. This concept is totally alien to husbands on the whole. My husband has therefore, over the years, developed a grave fear of “happenings” , understandably, as he is sure to fail miserably! So what to do?????
So I decided to put a guideline together to assist hubbies to do more or less, the right thing.
Suggestion number 1:
Get wife to make a list of things she would like to have that will make her happy as well as things that will make her more comfortable across a range of price options. Also, do not ask her to do it a day/week before the happening- we need time to go and explore for some ideas (and check prices). And believe it or not, we are aware of budgetary constraints, so don’t be restrictive, tell us to dream and be practical in compiling the list (we can multitask). We are good with lists. Also, ask us to number lists according to
- Must haves (1)
- Would like (2)
- Would like to have, but know it is a bit on the pricey side and will be great for special happenings. (3)
- Suitable ideas for the sponsored children presents (4)
Then look at what you can afford, add 20% to that, move on to suggestion number two
Suggestion no 2:
Give the aforementioned list to a good friend or family member who is close to your wife. Remember, that even if you are armed with a fail- prove list, you might still be tempted to buy the wrong brand at the wrong shop for slightly cheaper, or whatever! So the input of a confidante will be priceless, like the MasterCard advert says! If you do not want to go the list way, the friend-of-wife route can also be advantageous in doing a more subtle investigation of needs. Friends usually shop together, talk together and mention things which are stored in our memory bank for retrieval for just such an occasion as a present. Go on, ask a friend.
Suggestion no 3: (ode to Lanie)
A secretary who values her boss’s wife’s “happening” calendar, is a prize beyond riches. Make sure that you make that part of the job requirement. Here I just have to mention Lanie. She kept her own list and made sure to ask me on a regular basis for ideas and hints. Then she added her own flair and made sure that my husband remembers to buy the gift or got it herself (I never knew). So if you are blessed with one such a secretary, go ahead, leave it in her good hands. She will guide you through the process.
Suggestion no 4
If you are really stumped for ideas or time (bad boy), a wonderful redeeming safety valve idea is to outsource the gift process. You can either contact Lanie (see suggestion no 3) or have the professionals do it for you. This year husband made use of one such a service which specialise in facilitating gifts in South Africa and the UK, called the Giftlady (www.giftlady.co.za) She delivered a beautifully wrapped large box via courier, filled with all kinds of my favourite goodies (chocolates, candles and jewellery) on the day, just as I thought that he has forgotten!
Suggestion no 5 (for the wives)
Get over yourself -I know I have had to on occasion- with pleasant consequences!. Stop striving for that telepathic connection, stop living in the hope that husbands catch hints and come right out and tell him what you want. Even if it means that you have to buy the present yourself- just as long as you have his credit card. For our 10th anniversary I “gifted” myself with a very expensive computer bag on wheels, from him of course. And every time I run across the tarmac with my bag flying gracefully behind me, I think of him and smile. This year I will be visiting the day spa at Mangwanani (My favourite www.mangwanani.co.za) He is happy and I am happy- very much so! So, speak up woman!
Suggestion no 6 (for tough economic times)
If your budget is straining in these tight times, don’t worry, wives are actually not that hard to please. Essentially we want to know that you love us and if you put in that extra bit of thought, effort and caring, no expensive gift can compete! So some quick ideas….
- A box filled with poems (print off internet
http://www.lovepoemsandquotes.com/ ) combined with chocolates and a smelly (powder/ soaps… for husbands that do not know what ”smelly” stand for- or maybe they do!)
- A box filled with vouchers
- I will do a……back massage/ foot tickle/ head message for ½ hour (the lenght of their attention span)
- I will wash your car/feed the dog/give the kids a hiding
- No sex tonight/sex please – vouchers (depending on her needs)
- No sport voucher (No exeptions- a show of real love)
- Don’t forget about “money-for-honey” stowed away in your e-bucks or credit card loyalty system!
- If you know about something that she really want, but cannot afford it, club together with kids, friends and family and buy a collective gift of value (ps I need a new laptop)
Lastly, do not and I repeatedly say, DO NOT:
- Buy perfume unless you know her favourites and it is finished
(check her dressing table)
- Buy handbags (forget it- you are not that talented)
- Buy appliances (even if she needs them) or furniture or anything for the house
- Buy a big screen TV for her to better watch the sport with you!
- Tell her you will get a present later (translated: you do not give a flying …banana)
So wives, what do you say? Any other suggestions?