It’s that time of year when spouses far and wide search the far recesses of the interwebs to find the exact right gift to put under the tree.
The gift that says, “In the day-to-day trenches, it’s you I want by my side.”
The gift that says, “I heard what you said six months ago and I put it under the tree. See, I really listen!”
The gift that says, “I know you will marry me all over again because I didn’t make you go out and buy your present.”
Hubby and I have never been extravagant gift givers. When we first met, we barely had a pot to make potato soup in, let alone extra cash for “The price tag is so big it means I love you super much” gifts under the tree. And, in those early, lean years, Merry Christmas came in the form of a new dishwasher in June or paying the IRS.
Over the years, though, Hubby has done a pretty good job of economically and tastefully saying, “You are my favorite” with a box decently wrapped on his own. Although, our tradition of doing ten items from the Dollar Store in each other’s stocking would raise some eyebrows (I got potted meat, a marijuana drug test and Season 2 of Davey and Goliath last year….).
Well, except for that one year….
Everything that fateful year was progressing as it usually does: me in an eggnog induced, candy cane laced frenzy completely consumed with gifts, cooking baking, and merry making. And, of course, I was in the midst of trying to find the exact right present to put under the tree for Hubby.
As I was decking the halls while the kids were at school, my eye caught a new package under the tree. I could tell it wasn’t one of MY presents since with it’s pink and black striped box and big silver bow, it clashed horribly with my carefully selected, expertly executed wrapping paper color scheme.
Pink and black stripes with the words “Victoria’s Secret” emblazoned across the top of the box.
Since no other man lives in this house and no other male would dare send me a present of that nature, I was pretty sure I knew the culprit behind the Box of Iniquity nestled under my tree.
Hubby, thy name is Victoria’s Secret Christmas Present Sinner.
Total Spousal Christmas Present Party Foul.
Now, before you go calling me a prude, let’s get something straight: Victoria and her Secrets have taken up residence in my lingerie drawer and I’m not one to avoid lacy undergarments. Okay, truth be told, I’ve been lighter on the lacy since modeling my post C-section body but still. Once in a while, I do get over my insecurities and will purchase a thing or two. That then sit in my drawer for the rest of eternity but they are there in case I decide my thighs are ready for that level of underwear commitment.
However, Gentlemen, there is an unwritten rule when it comes to Victoria, her secret telling and Christmas. A present from Victoria’s Secret is never for her and you know it. It’s the gift that says “Hey, baby, I wanna and I want you to wear it when we gonna.” It does NOT say “Merry Christmas, sweetie, I know you are exhausted from thirty days of merry-making and I’d love for you to rest up and feel like yourself again.” Amiright, ladies?
As I stood there, at the base of my tree, staring at the garishly wrapped box, I immediately wondered if Hubby actually expected me to open the present on Christmas morning. In front of the kids. And my parents.
Hubby, until that point, was usually smarter than this.
Every day after my discovery, the pink and black monstrosity glared at me from under the tree. It was like one of those paintings where the eyes follow you: from every point in the house, my eyes could triangulate on the Box of Iniquity. I would look away but it was always there. Staring back saying, “Yep, you gonna have to open me and then immediately have to have a Birds and The Bees chat under the tree with the kids.”
This Elf was not amused. Or the least bit excited to open my present.
Finally, Christmas morning arrived and I knew I was going to have to face Victoria and her secrets. As I doled out presents from under the tree, oohing and ahhing at everyone’s perfectly chaste, non lacy presents, I casually kept pushing the Pink and Black Box From Hell further and further toward the back of the tree. Maybe he’d forget about it. Maybe I could get away with just ignoring it’s existence. Maybe I could grab it, shove it under my holiday appropriate pajamas and run upstairs to hide it in my closet unnoticed.
No such luck, bitchachos.
In a moment that can only be described as somewhat akin to that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie is directed by his parents to that one last present under the tree (“Ohh, what do we have over there? Is that one more present for Mommy?”), I was given no choice. I had to open the sucker.
As I sat there, cross-legged in my Christmas tree covered pjs, I felt twitchy and instant back sweat creeped up my spine. I gingerly pulled at the garish silver bow, slooooooowly took off the top of the box, and paused as I stared at the tissue paper neatly folded in the box. As I gathered my pride and nerve, I ripped the tissue paper open.
And I stared.
And started to hysterically laugh.
Hubby had wrapped the super expensive, neoprene, latest and greatest running gloves I had asked for six months before in a box from silly little Victoria.
So far, this year, there are no offending, seemingly Boxes of Iniquity under my tree and I’m pretty sure I’m safe from any secret telling Victoria may want to do.
But, truth be told, I’ll hold my breath while opening that big Williams Sonoma box under the tree from Hubby. He’s been known to pull a fast one Christmas morning….