a gift giving guide.

Today you get to meet my sister, Emily (if you haven't already)!  She and her husband have been married for 10 years.  Wow!  10 years!  I remember when they got engaged.  To a 17 year old like me, it was seemed like such a fairy tale and so romantic! 

It was Christmas Eve.  It was snowing and my Dad was shoveling snow off of our back deck.  As I looked out the window, I saw my sister run up the stairs to the deck, her arms full of a huge bouquet of roses, and throw her arms around my Dad.  Then Aaron was there and she announced that she was engaged to him!  (It reminded me of a song by a boy band I loved at the time.)  I was a little emotional and I didn't know what to do, but I remember that I was in awe of them and their little romance.  I guess I still am.  They are a couple that I look up to in many ways.  We love to be around them!  I am excited that they decided share this example of how honest and clear communication between a husband and wife can be VERY beneficial!  This is must read for wives and husbands!

Above left: Emily and Aaron on their wedding day, 2001  ||  Above right: Emily and her family, 2010

 Aaron and I have had ten Christmases together, ten birthdays together, ten Valentines, ten anniversaries and four Mother’s days together.  There have been some highs and lows in the gift giving department.  Aaron hit his peak gift giving pretty early in the relationship – our first Christmas together he gave me an engagement ring.  He followed that up pretty successfully over the next few holidays with a variety of blouses, art supplies, games, an adorable, purely decorative bird cage and other like items.  True, there was a horribly funny incident with a size XXL pajamas that he accidentally bought one Christmas but over all he did fine for the first few years. 

We went along blissfully until we became busy parents and weathered the recession and then things started to get a little confusing.  Because I love him I’ll spare you details regarding the “Honey I’m going to be working late” birthday and the “What’s for dinner?” Mother’s Day but mention them as context for the conversation I initiated on the eve of our 10th Anniversary.  The gist of which I think you can gather by this email I got the next day.

From: Aaron U**
To: Emily U**
Sent: May 2* 1:01:15 PM
Subject: confused


I have to admit, you have me so tied up and confused about giving you gifts.  I want to get you an anniversary present and yes, I should have thought about it on Saturday, but I forgot.  However, when you tell me that you plan on getting me a gift, but that I don’t need to get you anything, it leaves me confused and conflicted.  Can you just tell me what you want, and not leave me guessing all the time?  It gets me in a lot of trouble with you, and is quite confusing.   Saying you don’t want a gift, but then making jokes about how you didn’t get anything for Mother’s day just fuels the fire.

Please, please pretend like I am a ‘dumb husband’ for the time being with subtle things like- ‘you better go shopping for our anniversary if you don’t want to spend it on the couch,’ rather than ‘I am planning to get you something.  Don’t feel like you need to get me anything though.’


From: Emily U**
Sent: May 2* 1:32 PM
To: Aaron U**
Subject: Re: confused

To recap our phone conversation and for future reference.

I always want either a gift or a planned activity for any holiday or celebration that is about me.  The event or the gift can be free.  What really matters is that you thought of it, and me, ahead of time.

There are two instances when I would say "I don't need a gift"

1 - We are broke.  In which case - you should think of a inexpensive activity or something that you want to do with me (NOTE - this is not code for sex)

2 - When it is 8:30 the night before the traditionally gift giving event* and you haven't bought anything yet.  This is me attempting to let you off the hook and trying not to be wordly or high maintainance.  NOTE - this rarely works and you should still try to do something to make me feel special.

*Gift giving events include: Birthday, Valentines, Mother's Day, Anniversary, Groundhogs Day.

A final note - A good standard to reach for is to do something substantial enough that when your parents inevitably ask "what did Aaron do for {holiday}" I can just answer and not stare blankly while trying to come up with a way to make “I cooked dinner while Aaron took a nap” sound thoughtful ;)


From: Aaron U**
To: Emily U**
Sent: May 2* 2:12:34 PM
Subject: RE: confused

I think I should set up a dumb husband facebook page and this email will be my first post.  Finally, it has been answered, thank you for clearing everything up, I will print this email and keep it on my person at all times.  Thank you.

 (A the second post for Aaron’s facebook page should be a link to this blog post – good job Connel!)


I just want to add that... 
1.  Connel was just enthralled with Emily's email about when and how to present gifts.  I think he was taking notes.
2.  I love that you emailed each other about all this.  I am much better at writing my thoughts then saying them, and I can see how it could help avoid further miscommunication in some cases!  :)

Thank you so much for taking time to do this Emily!  (And to Aaron for helping us all see that our "dumb husbands" sometimes need a BIG honest hint.)


Trapper and Suzy said...

Trapper and I just read this together and I turned and looked at him and said, "You know I like gifts." After that, I made sure to let him know not to ever buy me jewelry UNLESS it was the expensive kind. Like diamonds. Then, to let him off the hook so he doesn't feel like he's going into debt for me, I told him he only has to do it once in our lifetime. Just once.....and it better be a dang awesome special occasion. haha

Ashley said...

um seriously funny! I would expect nothing less from the witty humor that is Emily.

Brianna Tuckett said...

I love it!! it has inspired me to have a candid conversation with my hubby about gift giving because that is truly how I see it too!! (I think most women do). Thank you!! :)

Jessica said...

This is hilarious. I pulled it up and read it to Dustin. He is already planning our anniversary gift. (For the first time in 8 years) Thanks for this post.