Saturday, December 14, 2013

Clueless at Christmas

     During the holidays, bookstore shelves groan under the weight of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” type books telling us what we already know about relationships. Men and women have a slight communication malfunction. And when it comes to holiday gift giving, that miscommunication can be magnified. A lot.
     Women, it just might be worth it to print this out and tape it to the front of the TV for your significant other to see. It could make this season run a little smoother for all involved.
     Speaking from my experience, men who can easily understand a friend’s grunt while hunting to mean “there’s an 8-point buck 50 yards to your left.” Or get what another guy means when he says “dude,” misunderstand when their significant other says, “Don’t get me anything for Christmas.”
     I’ll admit I was the martyr who uttered those crazy words years ago. Selflessly thinking of our growing family, I offered up that noble thought to my husband, trying to save us some money. Ultimately, I blame my mom. Fifty-seven years ago she told my dad that he didn’t need to get her flowers for their first anniversary.   She hasn’t received an anniversary present ever since. Martyrs run in our family.
     It took me a few years of singing the “I-don’t-need-anything” song to my husband (who is a very thoughtful gift-giver when given free reign) before I realized how unfair I was being to him. Here’s my theory: How can I expect him to get into the spirit of the holidays if I deny him the shopping experience?
     Muzak pulsating the season’s songs into his blood, while frenzied bargain hunters strung out on sugar-cookie-overload clip the back of his heel with their heaping carts, as he’s surrounded by screaming children demanding their presents early… I would hate to begrudge him that experience.
     Honestly, how will men ever understand why we build up the family savings every year by shopping bargains if they don’t experience it firsthand? According to my mathematical calculations, when I buy a coat that was originally $150 and it’s on sale 50% off along with my favorite little sign above the rack telling me to take an additional 75% off the sale price—well everyone knows that 50% and 75% equal more than 100%. I’m pretty sure that coat is mine now along with a 25% kickback! See, if they don’t do the shopping themselves, how will they ever appreciate how much money we "save" by shopping?
     Sometimes men have a little problem understanding the word “gift.” That might be where our miscommunication comes in. Some smart women I know say they have to be very, very specific in what they consider a “gift.” We could all learn from them.
     I know a woman who received a package of dusting wands, another woman was blessed with a vacuum. Yet another was given a toaster. A four-slicer… but still. Apparently we are sending out the wrong signals.
     Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand the true meaning of the holidays and also that it’s better to give than to receive. Honestly, I get it. I’m just saying that if we want to receive something that makes us feel appreciated and loved, something men put more thought into than picking their fantasy football team; we might need to send out a little more detailed signals. Over the years I’ve discovered “I promise to read your mind” was not one of our wedding vows.
     Guys—I guess what I meant to say is we’ll be thankful for whatever you take the time to shop for. Just remember—make sure it’s on sale!!!