Clueless Again? Husband’s Gift Buying Struggle

Published 9:26 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

My wife does all the Christmas shopping at our house — for the children, their spouses, the grandchildren, our parents, the neighbors, the newspaper carrier, the garbage guys … everybody but one person.

It falls heavily on me to buy her present. I have only one job, but it’s a supreme struggle. Some years Elizabeth has given me hints, but even then I often failed to grasp her attempts to throw me an assist. Last year I gave her a selfie stick, bought in desperation on Christmas Eve  — and probably the worst gift ever.

Again this year, I’m at a loss.

So, I have done what everybody does these days, I Googled it: “What to give your wife for Christmas?”

I got 7,650,000 responses. Surely there would be some jewel amid all that advice:

• “Top 50 Awesome Christmas Gifts for your Wife.”

• “12 Things You Should Never Give Your Wife for Christmas”

• “Best Christmas Gifts for Her.”

• “Uncommon Gifts for Wife”

• “5 Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Clueless Husbands.”

Long ago I learned what not to get: A toaster or any electric appliance, a frying pan least she throw it at you, a DVD of your favorite cowboy movie, sports equipment that by accident fits you.

Most of the websites I visited were of little help. I’m not getting Elizabeth at bamboo bathtub caddy — one suggestion — a candelabra wine bottle topper, gift cards or a coffee mug inscribed, “Best Wife Ever.”

Elizabeth got a coffee mug last year … without the words.

One website suggested helicopter flying lessons, which sounded pretty good. Another listed a mini chocolate fountain — not bad. Jewelry, purses, teapots, lingerie and perfumes were widely mentioned. I’ve done all of those in prior years.

But what women really want, said one website, is an experience: A jet ski or motorboat adventure, a trip to a bed and breakfast or a weekend outing to somewhere.

There are nine shopping days left.

Elizabeth has bought presents for 30 people while I have dithered over one. One wife told me she always bought her present, wrapped it and gave it to her husband to give to her. She deserves a “Best Wife Ever” coffee mug.

I’ve fallen into the ��Clueless Husband” category.

• • • • •

A sermon by one of my pastors, Shirley Cottle of Mocksville, is in this month’s Upper Room, the familiar little book of Christian daily devotionals with a circulation of millions.

Dec. 22 is her assigned date.

She has submitted others to the magazine over the years that were declined. This time, her mini sermon was published.

Good for her.

Shirley is a lay minister in the United Methodist Church, and I accidentally heard her speak about 25 years ago. As usual, I was late pushing the boys into the car on Sunday morning and couldn’t make it to my church 15 miles away before the benediction.

We stopped at nearby Mocksville 1st Methodist instead and got treated to a half-hour with angelic Shirley.

She has my first requirement in a pastor: Joy.

On her day, millions of people around the world will read her words of encouragement.

– Dwight Sparks