On any given day, I could come up with a dozen or more things I’d rather be doing than shopping.
It should be no surprise then that I avoid Black Friday as if it were the Black Plague. In fact, I believe the real reason we call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday” is that we are a nation in mourning over the time we will lose in trying to find a parking spot within a day’s walk to the entrance of the mall.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays and spending time with my loved ones. I cherish the evening drives with the kids to “ooohh” and “ahhh” over brilliantly lit homes, especially the ones that appear as if Santa has vacated the North Pole and relocated his workshop to the residential streets in Pleasanton.
However, the shopping and exchanging of gifts has always been a struggle for me. I blame it on the Christmas my mother wrapped up my first brassiere and accidently wrote my brother’s name on it. Imagine the shock and embarrassment on both of our faces when my brother reached into the brightly decorated package and pulled out a pink training bra meant for me.
My biggest struggle is buying that gift for the person in my family that has everything. The problem this poses is that in order to find a well-thought-out, unique gift within my budget that the receiver will actually appreciate requires many hours of hitting the pavement, or rather riding escalators at the mall, to find the perfect gift.
My dear, sweet husband is one of these people.
This year I’ve done most of my Christmas shopping online grabbing great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals all in the comfort of my home. And yes, I even scored some incredible deals on unique gifts for my husband.
My husband likes to play golf but doesn’t always have the time to play. His Christmas gift this year is the Potty Putter. This package comes complete with a putter, two golf balls, and a putting green that fits snuggly around the base of the toilet to allow maximum putting practice while sitting upon the porcelain throne.
Also on my list of unique gifts for my husband is the Memo Mug. This typical white ceramic mug doubles as a memo board and comes with an integrated pen slot for any note taking needs while sipping on your favorite cup of coffee.
For me, it’s an ingenious way to leave subtle hints for when my husband may be slacking on chores.
“Take out the trash or your favorite slippers are toast!”
Every year I also buy myself a little gift, wrap it up and leave a nice note on top that generally says,
“Dear Wendy, you’ve been especially patient, kind, and generous to your family to this year. We could use your parenting skills to help us deal with some unruly elves at the workshop. Love, Santa.”
This year for Christmas, I asked my husband for a house cleaning service to help manage the daily visits from Hurricane Smith Family. My husband looked at me with sincere confusion.
“Why do you need a house cleaning service when you have four capable cleaning assistants at your beck and call?” he asked me.
I imagined my three sons under the age of twelve and my husband with a bad back scouring the grout in the shower with the same enthusiasm of a professional cleaning service until it sparkled and I soon realized that this image might be the beginnings of a good fairytale book.
Unfortunately, a house cleaner in not our budget this year and I will have to save this wish for another Christmas season. So, instead, I bought myself the next best thing.
This year, my hand-picked, self-wrapped, Santa-signed present is the Room Tidying Pickup Robot. Equipped with infrared eyes, arms, hands, and a cargo bed to dispose of objects, this little robot assists with tidying even the messiest of homes.
What I love most about this cleaning assistant is that while it tidies up the floor, it voices its complaints making me feel as if it is one of my own children.
“It’s too heavy for me,” or “uh..a little help, please” are common remarks it makes just so that I am not fooled into thinking I’ve just acquired a compliant helper.
With 24 more shopping days left until Christmas, I am sure more unique gifts will find their way under the Smith Christmas tree. However, the best gifts don’t come from shopping malls or novelty shops. Nor can they be wrapped up in boxes and adorned with ribbons and bows.
On Christmas morning, my favorite gifts will be the three happy, sometimes toothless, smiles that greet me, along with the handsome husband that helped bring them into my life.