It was our first Christmas as a married couple. Ex#1 and I had only been married for a couple of months when we celebrated our first holiday as husband and wife. To be truthful our marriage was already strained. My father had been diagnosed with lymphoma on our wedding day and I had been escorting him to chemotherapy several times a week and taking care of him and my mother when my father was too ill to do so himself. We were looking forward to Christmas because my father was going to be taking a break from treatment and we were hoping he wouldn’t be so sick and could actually enjoy the festivities.
In all honesty I had been so busy taking care of my parents and working full time that I never put my marriage or my husband on the front burner. He assured me that was okay because he had lost his mother to lymphoma and knew what I was going through. I also learned later that he was happy to have those nights free to pursue other interests but that’s a different rant for a different time, and I didn’t know these things then.
I was looking forward to our first Christmas together. The high from all the wedding gifts two months earlier was just beginning to wear off and I was anticipating, with excitement, what my new husband might put under the tree for me. I thought maybe some slinky negligee or something that sparkled. I don’t know why I was thinking about sparkly things, we didn’t have any money, but we also didn’t have children. At least I didn’t have children, he had one from a previous relationship but he was little and didn’t require expensive gifts yet, I was sure my new husband would find something romantic to put under the tree.
I have no idea what I gave my husband for our first Christmas together. It was probably practical and it was probably something he wanted since he came from a family where they made a list of the things they wanted. My family was much more passive aggressive and made no such lists. We preferred to make the gift giver squirm and figure it out on their own. And I had no idea what I wanted. I had just gotten a shitload of gifts for getting married and certainly didn’t need anything. I just wanted something from the heart. Something from him, my new husband, that told me he knew me and what I needed.
Which is exactly what I got.
Thankfully I insisted on opening our presents to one another in our home, alone, without other family around. We would go to my parent’s house later in the day and open presents from them and other family members but I didn’t think it was prudent or appropriate to open something that might be very private so we decided to open our gifts to one another by ourselves.
My husband had placed his gift to me under the tree a few days before the big day. It was the size of a small shoe box and it was very heavy but it made no noise or movement when I shook it. And I shook it often. He would smile and give me little hints about what it was. He was clearly pleased with his choice.
“It will make your life so much easier”
“You will have more time to do the things you want to do”
“It will give you freedom”
What could this wonderful thing possibly be? I figured it probably wasn’t sparkly but I thought just maybe it might be a cellular phone. Cell phones were still relatively new and rare and even though I didn’t need one back then, because no one needed one back then, I loved tech toys and so did he. I would have been totally cool if he had bought a cell phone and used it himself. He certainly had more use for one than I did being a real estate agent.
He was so proud of himself I was sure that must be it. What else could it be based on it’s size and weight?
So it was with great excitement that I ripped the package open on Christmas morning.
I removed the paper and noticed that he had put the gift inside of a Sunbeam box. What a kidder my husband was. He was so clever he was trying to fool me in the process of opening the gift. Keep the anticipation high, what a great husband I had!
I opened the box and was stunned to see that indeed the box was no decoy. Inside the Sunbeam box was a Sunbeam iron.
I’ll repeat that for you.
I restrained myself from throwing it at his head.
He is still smiling, a huge shit eating grin, expecting me to wrap my loving arms around him and tell him how this wonderful gift is going to change my life.
“You don’t like it?” he asked.
“I thought you’d love it because your iron is so old and it doesn’t have any of the features like auto shut off that this one has” he continued.
He went on to explain his reasoning for choosing this gift. He thought it would help me to better iron his shirts if I had an iron with all the bells and whistles. Little did he know the appliance had nothing to do with my ability to iron his shirts.
That was twenty years ago, we have been divorced for nearly 18 years now and I have no idea what happened to the iron though I vaguely recall it falling off the ironing board shortly after it burned one of his shirts.
So what was the worst gift you ever received? Or were you the kind of person who gave an item like an iron? Share your stories here and be sure to visit the other Tribal Blogs member’s blogs to read their stories.