I know you’re all anxious for a Christmas update. But first, I think it’s important that you know something about the person you’re talking to.
I’m still an early riser on Christmas Day.
Yes, every other day of the long, long year I’m suspicious of morning people and greet the day with all the sunny good cheer of a vampire with a paper route; but on Christmas morning I still lie awake from sometime before dawn, counting the hours until I can rise without being staked with my own holly sprig. At least I’m more considerate than I was as a child—probably owing more to the fact that I’ve got my kindle and my phone to keep me company than any real consideration for the feelings of others, if I’m being honest—and these days I wait until the sun is well up, dress myself properly, brush my teeth and comb my hair, take a moment to preen, then pounce on Offspring’s bed to reenact the “What day is it?” seen from A Christmas Carol.
Actually, he’s a teenager now, so we bang on his door rather than jumping on his bed. You know… just in case. Plus, he sleeps with two gassy greyhounds, so I don’t open that door unless my nose is properly covered or I’m done eating forever.
So… you want to know if Husband cheated or not? Well let me tell you: I caught him red-handed on Christmas Eve!
There we were, stuffing the stockings…
ME: (holding up obscenely oversized peanut butter chocolate monstrosity) Did you buy these for yourself?
HIM: (defensively) I always get peanut butter and chocolate.
ME: Yes, you do. Because I buy it for you. You’re not supposed to buy it for yourself. Ever. You know I can’t stand the smell.
ME: You bought this, for yourself?
HIM: I always get peanut butter and chocolate!
ME: (holding up wrapped package) WELL NOW YOU’VE GOT TWO, ASSHOLE!
ME: Hope you kept the receipt. (digs through bag)
HIM: It doesn’t have to go in my stocking! You can just hide it…
ME: (glares) Until it goes back?
HIM: Until it… goes away…
ME: (finds receipt) It’s going back. You don’t need fifteen pounds of shitty peanut butter and chocolate.
HIM: But I always get peanut butter and chocolate…
Off to a stellar start, wasn’t he?
Oh—you wanted to know about the mountain of packages! Yeah, about that…
HIM: So you like all your presents?
ME: Yes, thank you. And you’re happy with yours?
HIM: Very happy.
ME: So… we just had really different strategies this year, I guess.
ME: I mean, I got you the chair—sorry about that, by the way, and I’ll check on the return today—and Scythe and the coins and whatnot…
HIM: All good things!
ME: Right, but also big ticket items, comparatively.
HIM: Right… whereas I got you lots of things—but you don’t have a lot of expensive things on your wishlist!
ME: You do.
HIM: I do, yeah.
ME: I’m a cheap date, what can I say.
HIM: At least I’m easy to shop for.
HIM: I love you!
Or, to put it more succinctly, it turns out I’m easier to please. While my wishlist is long and ranges from $1 books to a $600 Dyson, the majority of items are priced under $30. Plus, I’d forgotten that I’d put him in charge of deciding what Santa was giving both of us this year (the fat man usually leaves something for the pair of us, since we take pretty good care of each other and married people need household things without the stigma of them “belonging” to one or the other) and that accounted for a couple of larger boxes.
HIM: So I won at Christmas?
HIM: And I didn’t cheat.
ME: Oh, now… See… It wasn’t fair either. I mean!
ME: I’m easier to shop for! And cheaper! Look at this—you even managed to get me tons of things not on my wishlist and of course I love them because I like lots of things!
HIM: So I won Christmas, and that’s not cheating.
ME: Well… let’s just say the race was handicapped and leave it at that.
Finally, I’m sure some of you will be thinking, “But at least he liked his gifts! Well done, you—you’ve said that never happens!”
Thanks, smartass—we’re returning the desk chair.
It arrived in a box that had been fed through a wood chipper and thrown off an overpass to roll downhill and land on my doorstep (good aim, I’ll give ‘em that) and for this I paid $8 in shipping fees. I contacted Amazon, who instructed me to give the seller (who was not them) two days to fix the problem before they’d break out the big stick and go to work on it… predictably, we ended up at that step anyway and I can’t say enough nice things about Amazon’s customer service. Truly. And not just because I make a few pennies every time you buy something after clicking one of my links—the pennies aren’t enough to pay for this site, for perspective—but because they’ve honestly never let me down.* So we were set to just exchange the chair when he realized that the chair he’d picked out, registered for, hinted at, all but begged for… wasn’t actually the chair he wants anyway.
I’ve spent several days now researching and shopping for a decent chair that isn’t the $800 one he really really wants. I think we’ve found the ideal balance—I’ll let you know how long this one lasts.**
ME: Yes, the $800 chair is very nice.
HIM: And worth every penny.
ME: And as soon as we have $800 to blow on something meant to absorb farts all day, that will be the thing we choose. Until then, are we agreed on the other one?
HIM: Yeah, it’s probably fine…
ME: (quietly) God help me.
* One time they replaced a vibrator. No lie. It had stopped working after a year, which I thought was rubbish—damned thing ought to last longer than that, especially since it wasn’t seeing particularly… ahem… rough use, right? Well, I contacted Amazon and explained that I knew perfectly well the policy on personal items and that I wasn’t entitled to anything from them, but could they put me in touch with the seller or the manufacturer, because this really seemed like a warranty issue. Instead, they sent me out a new one—made sure I understood that I was not, under any circumstances, to return the old one—and apologized for my inconvenience. The rep’s exact words? “I’m sorry you weren’t fully satisfied.” I shit you not, I still have that email and it’s why I will never stop telling the story.
** I’m thinking that next year I’ll do a running 12 Days of Christmas real-time blog, where each day is an account of one of his Christmas gifts and why he hates it. Festive, no?