I thought my husband and I had agreed to gift each other with a new mattress and boxspring for a combined Christmas and anniversary present [January 10 - 40 years]. But then he made noises about a pen he wanted [he collects special edition fountain pens] ... so I figured I'd better consult the folks at the local pen shop he frequents ... sure enough, there was one laid away for him.
My husband is a true romantic and he finds my practical approach to gift-giving appalling. He would see the mattress/boxspring deal as something we had to do anyway as a normal household expense and not an appropriate gift, at all, at all. He prefers the personal touch to the pragmatic. No doubt I will receive some jewelery or perfume or some such lovely item ... he is very sweet and considerate that way. He also likes to come up with gifts that carry on family traditions ... for instance, he has purchased our tiny grand-daughter [15 months old] a cheerleaders outfit for the Washington Redskins ...he and my oldest son are fans ... and, after all, what could be more appropriate than having this little person indoctrinated into the fold.
If I were to characterize our gift giving and receiving personas using the yardstick of the characters in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings ... my husband would be a man of Gondor, full of honor and a sense of his people's glorious history, romantic, brave, passionate and the tiniest bit chauvinistic ... and I would be a hobbit, loving my creature comforts of home and hearth, more concerned about the quality of my next meal than the elegance of a gift. Over the past decade, my favorite gifts from him have been a cozy floor length chenille robe and gift certificates to my favorite on-line provider of fine teas [www.specialTeas.com] and to Barnes & Noble and yet he has given me jewelery and perfumes most women would envy mightily. I am inclined to fill stockings with food and household items: things like jars of Nutella, boxes of marzipan, tins of smoked oysters, jars of mango salsa, boxes of hazelnut candies, bags of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, scented candles, interesting gadgets and a new toothbrush. His inclination would be to fill a stocking with earrings and pins, gift certificates to a classy restaurant, a stitching retreat, a resort getaway weekend, a spa or a local theater. He thinks big and dramatic; I think small and domestic. One good thing, I have managed to convince him that one gift is more than sufficient.
We have both reached an age when the last thing we need is more "stuff". At least we are in agreement that the most important gift we can give one another is to choose a worthy charity and make a donation.
Upon careful reflection, I think he deserves his pen ... he is such an all-round good guy and I am a very lucky woman!