Friday, December 02, 2005

Christmas Presents--Or Why I'm a Neurotic Pain in the Ass

I really really love getting Christmas gifts.

But I have this thing about presents. I’m really nosey and will stop at nothing to find out what my gifts are. I've been this way since I was a little girl.

On Christmas Day, I usually always know what my gift is, and the gift giver knows that I know what the gift is, so I always feel exhilarated yet vaguely disappointed that the element of suprise is gone. But mostly exhilarated b/c I figured it out. It's like solving a riddle.

Twisted, isn’t it?

Fortunately for me, spiceboy is an excellent gift giver. He’s tasteful and extravagant without going too over the top. His gifts are always thoughtful and special. Except for the year he bought me luggage. But we won’t go into that right now.

For me, figuring out spiceboy's gifts is the ultimate holiday challenge--something to keep me amused in the days leading up to Christmas. In years 1 through 3 of our relationship, spiceboy fell for my seemingly innocent tactics hook, line, and sinker:

me: So what are you getting me for Christmas?
spiceboy: I’m not telling you. It’s a surprise.
me: Oh, come on! Just one little hint?
spiceboy: Okay, but just one.
me: Yay!
spiceboy: Okay, it’s [INSERT CLUE HERE]

Poor spiceboy.

I would act satisfied with this clue, but little did spiceboy know he had fallen into my trap. The next day, I would question him again about the first clue and build upon that until I could get another, more specific clue. I did this every day until I had a pretty decent idea of what the gift was, supplementing my interrogation with random apartment searches for telltale receipts, catalogs, online activity, etc.

Then I would pounce on him with my findings, as shown by this example from Year 3 of our relationship:

me: It’s a Kate Spade handbag, isn’t it?
spiceboy (his face carefully blank): No.
me: Yes, it is!
spiceboy (his face carefully blank): No.
me: I know it is.
spiceboy (breaking eye contact with me): No, it’s not, so you just better give up.

As luck would have it, one day not long after the Kate conversation, I was getting blankets out of our storage closet (this was when we lived in Boston and actually had closet space) and I found a gaily wrapped box.

“Aha!” I cried with glee.

“You weren’t supposed to find that,” said spiceboy with despair.

I immediately began examining the wrapping paper for gaps so I could partially unwrap the gift and get a glimpse of the box (a favorite tactic of mine). spiceboy shook his head in disbelief at my immaturity, but he had a trick up his sleeve: He'd wrapped the box with double sided tape.

Smart guy, isn’t he?

Still, I would not give up. Every time his back was turned, I ran to the closet and worked at the wrapping paper until I was able to peel back one of the seams a tiny, tiny bit. Sure enough, beneath the paper was a lime green box—the hallmark of Kate Spade packaging.

On Christmas morning I was triumphant and satisfied as I opened my lovely gift. It was a nylon Sam bag with pink snakeskin trim. Lovely. After I hugged and kissed spiceboy and thanked him a billion times, I tried on the bag w/ a variety of cute outfits, and said things like: I knew it was a Kate Spade bag! I knew it!

I have issues. I understand this.

After nearly 5 years together, spiceboy is totally on to me. He no longer keeps presents at our apartment—he has them shipped to his mother’s house in Pittsburgh.

Damn it.

And my once successful conversation tactic has been rendered powerless. Our gift conversations go something like this:

me: So what are you getting me for Christmas?
spiceboy: No.
me: Please? Just one hint?
spiceboy: No.
me: But…
spiceboy: NO.

In fact, spiceboy has become so adept at catching me in the act that last year, he even faux-searched key websites at Christmas time b/c he knew I would check the cache in our computer to see what he’d been up to.

Damn it.

But this year, before I even had the chance to commence with my holiday badgering, something completely unexpected happened.

You see, I’ve been shopping around for pearls to wear with my wedding dress, but I’ve been feeling kind of lost about it. I want something simple and stylish without being too “grandma” and without putting myself into serious debt. A friend directed me to these pearls.

I know it’s J-Crew or whatever, but I liked them and decided to go for it. I have a billion other wedding related things to obsess over, and I knew if I let it go any longer, the pearls would soon become a big issue for me. And I just don’t want that kind of hassle right now. So yesterday afternoon, I went online and bought the pearls.

Last night, when I was changing out of my work clothes and spiceboy was in the bathroom peeing, I casually yelled through the door that I ordered my pearls.

spiceboy: What! Why did you do that?

Even though through the door, I could hear the alarm in his tone.

And that’s how I found out what I was getting for Christmas. But do you think I could play it cool? Do you think I could act like I didn’t suspect anything?

Of course not.

me (bursting through the bathroom door): Oh, my God! You’re getting me pearls for Christmas? That’s so sweet!

spiceboy (huddling close to the toilet): Jesus, I'm trying to pee!

me (retreating out of the bathroom): Sorry.

When spiceboy came out of the bathroom, I tried to get all cuddly and thankful with him, but he merley sighed in annoyance.

"How do you do it? I don’t understand how you figure it out every year. You ordered those pearls on purpose."

I couldn’t believe it. He thought I faked the pearl purchase to flush him out.

"No! No! No! I really had no idea! I just wanted the pearls."

"Uh-huh. Yeah, right."

He doesn’t even believe me. The irony.

But if I had suspected he was getting me pearls and I had wanted to get the information out of him, that's exactly the tactic I would have used.

He knows me so well.

Damn it.


Blogger Dick said...

I just wanted to let you know that you made me blow snot on the computer screen over at Bored Housewife with your comment.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

(hi Dick!)

That was a fantastic story--you're such a brat!!! Ya know, but in a good way...I was always a relentless gift peeker, myself. Now, I have a husband who I have convinced to just let me be in on the choosing, because he's not so great at it.

Oh yeah, and I came here to reply to your comment on my site. I actually wrote that line in my post originally, but took it out due to my concern that it might be Dirty Dancing overkill. So, yay for great minds thinking alike, or whatever. :)

2:03 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

that's really funny. i too, like to figure out what I am getting.

3:15 PM  
Blogger 000 said...


A habit of my mothers is to ask me if I want my Christmas present on, oh say October 4th. Naturally I say yes. Sure it ruins the surprise on Christmas morning, but this only means that I get MORE presents because I can't be gift-less on Christmas!

My brother also has a gift. He KNOWS what he is getting. He will pull his present out from under the tree, wrapped in a rather deceiving old waffle box, and he will shake and sniff at the box, and guess correctly. Very strange.

10:38 PM  

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