I am a terrible gift-giver.
The stress there is on giver. I am awesome at picking out meaningful gifts, but I am challenged in the customary way to actually present them.
Meaning, like, on Christmas and not, say, ten days early in a fit of excitement.
Here are two telling stories from my childhood:
1. 1982. Italy. My dad and I buy a piece of pottery for my mother and I am so excited that I shake it out of its paper bag onto the stone steps of the Duomo. It shatters. I cry.
2. 1984. A week or so before my dad's birthday, my mother and I go shopping. We get back to the house, I run inside, see my father and cry "DAD! We got you PANTS!!!!"
It is physically impossible for me to keep gifts a secret. Which really sucks for me because then I have to replace the gifts I spoil with new gifts so that the person actually has something to open. It can get expensive. One year for Jeff's birthday (which is in March) I bought him Red Sox tickets for like $300 on eBay and then announced it in early February. Last year I bought him a gift membership to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but like a moron I got excited and bought it in October, and since it's only a year long I had to give it to him right away.
This year I had resolved to break the habit, but I constantly set myself up. I'll go shopping and as soon as I get home I trill, "I just got you something!" To which Jeff, naturally, replies "What? What is it?" "I'm not telling," I sing, but he knows I have absolutely no willpower.
Which brings me to last night. Tired after a long day, I flopped on the couch and started watching old episodes of America's Next Top Model. Jeff emerged from his man cave/office to go to the bathroom and I accosted him.
ME: Honey, are you going out?
JEFF: No, I'm going to the bathroom.
ME: Oh. Well if you had a reason to go out, would you get me some wine?
JEFF: If I find some Pinot Noir in the can I'll let you know.
ME: Like, if you needed to take out the trash or get some fresh air...
JEFF: It's ten o'clock at night.
ME: Just if, honey.
JEFF: (Sighs) You want me to get you wine? Would that make you happy?
I was so grateful when Jeff returned ten minutes later with wine that I leapt up and ran to my closet.
"Do you want an early Christmas present?" I yelled as I rifled through bags. "You deserve one!"
It's a sickness, I tell you. Luckily Jeff thinks it's cute.