What a nice nice Christmas we had this year. Contrary to previous years, Elise’s father did not come to stay with us for several weeks as he has done in the past. Despite the lack of family this year (and no, not because of it), it was still a nice time. However all of this great holiday cheer left me realizing that I kind of suck as a husband.
I started out by being treated to some glögg and being taken to the Christmas market in Liseberg by my clients when I was in Gothenburg for work. The following weekend, we met up with an old colleague in Esslingen for the Christmas market there, which was very nice. I had been to mediaeval festivals in the past, but they were quite kitschy, but this one was done very well. We also decided to return to Nürnberg for a weekend to enjoy the Christmas market there again. Coincidentally it also decided to snow that weekend, making it perfect weather for Christmas. Christmas day we spent at Lucie and Borris’ and had a lovely meal and are very thankful for the invitation. And we just ushered in 2010 with a nice party at Thorsten’s. All in all a very nice holiday celebration and for once in a long time I actually enjoyed some genuine Christmas spirit. But amongst all of this holiday cheer, I still have the nagging feeling that I am a terrible husband.
In the past, I have done a fairly good job of seeking out good gifts for friends and family. I am not one to think too far outside of the box when it comes to gifts, but I tend to find a pretty nice fit. And this year was no exception. I left the post office with a big grin on my face after sending a nice package to my best friend, to mom and dad, and I even sent out another (what I though was a) creative gift to another friend via email. Yes, I was feeling pretty good. Except for the fact that MY WIFE was not a recipient of any of these creative gifts. Hence: worst husband ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I got her SOMETHING. I said “worst husband ever” not “worthless piece of shit person.” We ordered her a rather nice pair of boots for which she has been searching for years. But it was one of those “gifts by committee” where she came up with the basic idea, I gave my ascent, and then we together picked a pair that we both liked. Didn’t exactly blow her away with my creative thinking on this one.
It hasn’t always been this way, either. I have historically been able to surprise her with neato gifts dating back to when we first met. Truth be told, I am not the kind of guy to shower a person with gifts, but I have been good at making sure that I had found a good birthday and Christmas present for her. Somehow this has become harder and harder.
And to be fair, this isn’t a problem exclusive to me. Over the years, I have become notoriously good at calling out what my gift was before I had opened it as Elise handed it to me. This continues to be the case, but I now have the good sense to keep my goddamn mouth shut and just appreciate the gift.
To some extent, I suppose that this whole situation can be considered a good thing. That is, we want for nearly nought. And it is certainly a good thing to be happy with what one has and to be thankful for it. Neither of us has ever really been the typical American consumer.
My concern is that this contentedness turns into complacency. Okay, so I fucked up this year and was not able to come up with some great gift idea on my own. Fine. I feel bad enough. I can deal with that. What I can not let happen is that next year comes and I say to myself, “well, I can’t think of anything this year for Christmas. But hey, I didn’t last year either, so…” I can’t take for granted that this is okay. In a relationship once a person starts to take any THING for granted, it is all too easy to take the other PERSON for granted.
Besides, I have an entire year to think about this. Since we already have agreed on her birthday gift, I mean.