At Christmas, It’s a man’s world

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut

Every December, I want to be my husband.

The other 11 months of the year, tasks around our house, from yard work to dishes to laundry, are pretty evenly divided between us. Sometimes it is by interest level. For example, I would pave over the grass if I had to mow it. He would sell the silver before he would polish it. The things nobody likes, laundry at our house, are equally divided.

But at Christmas, I do all the gift buying, mailing and wrapping. He rarely even asks who is on the list.

If I threaten to abandon my job as chief elf, he just shrugs, probably because he know that is an idle threat. The joy of Christmas for me is always in the giving. In giving something to the kids, grandkids, great-nephews and friends, I triple my own holiday happiness.

Where I get myself in trouble is in the balance between the gift and the opening of the gift.

Confused? So is my Scroogey husband. You see, I like giving the kids and family “experiences” for Christmas because my husband is right about one thing: We all have too much “stuff.”

So I buy tickets to plays, the zoo, the aquarium, ski slopes, theme parks. Sometimes I can get a family pass, and sometimes I get passes just for the kids, figuring every little bit helps when raising children these days. It has been a popular solution … with the parents.

Which is where the rub comes in. Just imagine the joy on the faces of Gardner (16 months) and King (almost 3) and Cohen (12) when they open a box with a piece of paper in it that says, “Yay! Gigi and Granddaddy are taking you snow skiing with the whole family.” While the trip will hopefully be another memory-maker, the immediate response is no match for what you get with a zoom-zoom car, toy train or video game.

Still, doing all the shopping, sleuthing, buying, wrapping and shipping in what always turns out to be a very short month can be exhausting. Add on a month with work deadlines, and I find myself fighting the bah-humbugs.

Then, just as the mood is smoldering, comes the question. It normally happens a week before Christmas Day, but can come as late as three days before. It usually comes when I am stretched out on the couch, trying to turn my mind off from clicking things off the list and fighting sleep as “The Voice” takes an eternity to announce a winner.

“I may go shopping tomorrow,” my husband will announce, as the heavens open up, and bells begin to ring. “What would you like to have for Christmas?”

Me? Well, let’s see: I want someone to put all my pictures in one place on the computer, edit out the ones that make me look old and arrange them in folders by life-event.

I want seven days added to the December calendar, all before Dec. 25.

I want an organizer to clean up my office – one who can read my mind so he/she knows what to keep and what to throw away.

I want all the old VHS tapes we took when the kids were small edited down to manageable size and burned onto DVDs.

I want to find all the soccer jerseys and T-shirts I have saved and have them made into quilts for the kids.

I want all the gifts beautifully wrapped in color-coordinated shiny paper with matching bows and placed under each recipient’s tree.

In other words, I want a wife…

 

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