Monday, May 28, 2012

Three Times a Lady

Since it’s the last Monday in May, today is Memorial Day which is an important American holiday for many reasons. First and foremost, Memorial Day is a tribute to the brave soldiers who’ve perished while serving in our Armed Forces. Another way of looking at it is as the only holiday in a 3 month period where I don’t have to get Mrs. Dude a gift.

Don’t get me wrong, my wife is amazing and totally deserving of every kind of gift, card and cake that you can think of.  If I had the means I would get her everything she wanted plus things she didn’t even  know she wanted, like a gold-plated toothbrush. Or a night off. But that isn’t an easy task from May through July every year. (Side note: If enough of you read this, think it’s wonderful AND tell friends who are TV producers and/or book editors, that might happen sooner than later.) 

What’s the issue?  I pay tribute to my superlative wife on the second Sunday in May for Mother’s Day. Then a mere three weeks later (give or take, depending on the year) is Mrs. Dude’s birthday. Again, gifts and cake are mandatory.  The former for her, latter for both of us. Then a little over a month later is our wedding anniversary.  Each year a more elaborate gift is customary, per some old list made by people who thought that people wanted gifts made of paper, iron or wool.

I want to make it clear: these are all great occasions that I am fortunate to celebrate. I just wish they were spaced out 2-3 months apart. Ideally an April/July/October schedule, if you know anyone who can help me reconfigure our family calendar.  Like Doc Brown.  

So what’s the bigger issue? I will be the first to admit that I am not a great gift shopper. I always tell myself that I should start looking weeks in advance, then never do and scramble at the last moment to put something together. There must be some deep psychological reason for my procrastination, but I will have to figure it out later.

It’s a challenging situation that I face. Possibly even a lose-lose situation as Michael Scott is fond of. Is one of these three days more important than the other or are they all equal? Mother’s Day rewards her for the hard work she’s done on a daily basis for 2 ½ years.  But our anniversary rewards her for the hard work she’s done on a daily basis for the last (almost) 5 years.  I must give my wife a lot of credit. Dealing with babies is not easy. And neither is raising children. 

I’d have to guess that the birthday is the least important. While it’s nice to be celebrated, no woman I know over the age of 21 wants the actual reminder that she is a year older. Then again, from my experience, they don’t usually seem to mind the cake so much.  

Another twist in this whole scenario is the Little Dude. He’s fantastic, but also a sponge financially. He rarely picks up the tab when we go out to eat and never pays for gifts. Even when he makes homemade cards for his mother, I have to do all the writing.

So what should I do if I have limited funds and want to make sure Mrs. Dude gets the most special recognition that she truly deserves?  We all know the old saying “it’s the thought that counts”, so if I merely think about getting her really nice gifts, will that be sufficient?  I’m 1/3 of the way through this year’s triumvirate. My Mother’s Day earned decent reviews, with bonus points for fresh bagels and flowers, but now I have to top that and only have a few days to spare. Can you spot me a Benjamin?

What would you do if you were me?

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61 comments:

  1. My husband is the absolute worst gift buyer EVAH!!!! My birthday is 2 weeks before Christmas. So, I write him a gift list which even includes the stores, websites, and catalogues with page numbers. It's a win/win. When in doubt, go for a spa gift certificate. Every woman likes to be pampered.

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    1. Sounds like he is a lucky man. For more than one reason ;)

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  2. Wow, I must be in the minority category because I do NOT want my husband buying gifts for me! We have two ASD kids which take up a lot of resources, and we need to keep as much of our money as possible. My birthday and our kids' birthdays are all in Jan., then my husband's birthday is in Feb. He's allowed to give me a gift for my birthday and I for him. That's it. Mother's Day and our anniversary are in the same month. Then Father's Day is the month after. We cannot afford to be giving gifts all the time! Besides, we have a really great policy that if we treat each other with love and respect every day, we're already SHOWING our love for each other, so gifts are unnecessary. But in the case of your wife, I'd go with Just Keepin' It Real's suggestion and have her create a Wishlist on Amazon or somewhere else. Good luck! =)

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    1. Nothing wrong with being in the minority. I think your words are honest and real and that's what life's really about. Thanks for sharing, Margie.

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  3. Try doing instead of buying. Cook a nice meal, massage, picnic, breakfast in bed... You'd be surprised how much things like that, combined with a really sweet card, can be hugely appreciated. :)

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    1. That's true, Suzy. Maybe I'll find a cookbook and see what I can whip up. Shhhh, don't tell ;)

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    1. Yes, that would definitely be nice, 5833. We can hope.

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  5. Be creative, a gift does not have to cost money. Do something special for her that would blow her mind. I would much rather make a memory than get gift I won't remember getting 5 years down the road. But, that's me, you know your wife better than anyone else so I am sure you will come up with something awesome. By the way, my birthday is tomorrow, and I am sure my husband is going through the exact same thing as you...Good luck and have a wonderful day.

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    1. Happy Birthday, Roe! Let me know what your husband comes up with. I still have a few days to spare before my wife's :)

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  6. babysitter, dinner out, and a nice evening doing what you both like to do. Works like a charm.

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    1. Sounds great, Brent. Unfortunately a babysitter costs more than a nice evening out itself. Makes it less palatable and less frequent in these parts. In an ideal world, though...

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  7. That is rough, man. My mom and sister's birthdays are near Christmas, and I always have a very tough time thinking of a second gift for them. I definitely feel for you, but have no advice other than Spa Gift Certificates.

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    1. Let's spa it up! Thanks for the advice,YB!

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  8. Well, we're not a celebratory type family in these parts - as in my husband doesn't remember birthdays, anniversaries etc and that's okay with me.

    I would say a gift of a day off is always welcomed for a mother. You probably do that anyway, so top it off with a nice bottle of wine :)

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    1. She's not a wine drinker, so a day off is a great idea.

      Would you be a more celebratory family if your husband did remember the important dates?

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  9. My Mom & Dad have this stack of old cards they keep. When an occasion comes up, the dig through the stack pull out a card from previous years and set it out. After 40 years they know what is in each others hearts without the gifts.

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    1. Of course the cards had to come from earlier celebrations...

      Great idea, though. I save old cards. I like the concept of reliving those memories. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I don't like getting "things" unless there was some thought put into it. I know this sounds snobby, but it means more when the person giving the gift took the time and put some thought into it or even made it themselves. Give her a "day off" or "get out of laundry free" card. I like to give gifts that way, myself. So my advice is to think beyond "shopping" and get creative. Pinterest, in this case, is your friend.

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    1. Not snobby at all, Kathy. It's obvious when things are thrown together last minute. Believe me, I know.

      Great alternative ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. We are not huge gift givers around here... But my husband took me away once. Kind of romantic like. It was nice :)

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  12. One word.... Pinterest!
    I'm positive you can find the plans there to make a charming Victorian styled guest house with a mallet and some wood glue.
    ;-)

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    1. That sounds nice, Dawn. But as hard as I try, I just don't get Pinterest. I need a tutorial!

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    2. Shan, I'd be happy to learn Pinterest from you, too :)

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  13. A true day off with dinner shopped for and made, laundry done, and the bathrooms cleaned is what I crave even now after being married for 18 years and a mother for 13. Nothing says "I love you" like actions. Ellen

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    1. Thanks, Ellen. Actions do speak louder than gifts.
      That being said, I often do the laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. Maybe I should get those days off :)

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    2. Well then, damn. She doesn't need a gift because every day is a celebration. ;) Ellen

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  14. Dude, I sympathize, no, I empathize with you gift giving angst. I've been there: http://www.livinginkelliesworld.com/2012/02/problem-with-gifts.html

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    1. Thanks, Joe. You know what I'm talking about.

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  15. Oooof, that's tough. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out something for Boyfriend's birthday in September and Christmas...

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    1. Gia, I wish I had that problem! If Boyfriend ever becomes Husband, make sure you space it out right and get married in April or May!

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  16. For my wife I bought her an Edible Arrangement and had it delivered to her office. My wife likes attention. LOL. And on the card I had put something that came straight from my heart. I also had one of her favorite meals ready by the time she got home from work. Sushi. Then to end the night I gave her a full body massage. She loved it.

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    1. I hope that wasn't the very end of the night, Jose, after all the work you put in.

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  17. Ha! Husband always jokes that he didn't plan very well because my birthday and our anniversary are only 11 days apart. Lucky for him I'm not a die hard must-have-presents kind of gal. A card, a cake and a dinner I didn't have to cook are pretty much all I want.

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    1. Wow, that is rough for him, Delilah. Good thing you are low maintenance. I hope he gets a good cake, at least.

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  18. That's a lot of gift giving in a short period of time!

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  19. The little dude sounds like a taker and not a giver. Does he at least have a piggy bank you might be able to plunder (not that I have ever done such a thing...) ;)

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    1. Yes, but most of the money in it he has commandeered from my nightstand.

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  20. Also, Christmas, our wedding anniversary and my birthday fall within a 4 week period. My husband once suggested we "move" the anniversary. I was not too happy that he suggested that!

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    1. Wow, I thought 7-8 week window was rough. My sympathy to your husband ;)

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  21. I am always open to coupons that allow me to earn things like a massage from my husband or a clean car from my husband, or any other thing that he won't ordinarily do;)

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    1. Those sounds like a good idea, LGGG. Where do they sell those ;)

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  22. Steve WAS the worst gift buyer ever than he gave me a laptop totally out of the blue for Christmas because Ellen and I were starting a blog. Old dog, new tricks. Happy Mom. Fun Piece. Erin

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    1. Wow, both E's on one post. I am a lucky Dude :)

      Sounds like a nice surprise for all involved. He must be a great guy.

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  23. I just want to know my husband loves me and thought of me on a special day. That could me a gift, or just a sincere card or some other thoughtful gesture (a gift certificate for a massage, Mother's Day). But my husband is very absentminded, so sometimes there is nothing. I try to LET IT GO because our relationship is bigger and more important than gifts.

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    1. I agree. If the relationship isn't about more than gifts, then there are bigger issues at hand.

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  24. If it were me I would go for the "do something" for her kind of gift. Pick something that makes her life easier and it should lead to a very happy wife.

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  25. This is so my life! My boyfriend and I have a "present season" starting with Christmas. Then Valentine's Day. Then my birthday. Then his birthday. Then our anniversary. All within December - March. Luckily I am not a mother, nor he a father, or that would just extend our gift giving season. On the badside, after our anniversary I have to wait another 9 months for more presents! And also many of my gifts get combined, because Valentine's Day is the week before my birthday.

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    1. That is a small window. I feel his pain...

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  26. I feel your pain. My anniversary is late October, then we have Christmas, then my husband's birthday in early February and I am terrible at gifts. It stresses me out immensely. I have no suggestions for you. But if you come up with a good plan, let me know.

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    1. A lot of people have suggested intangible gifts, so that is something to consider, like days off, massages, dinners, etc.

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  27. oh, good luck. oddly, i have the opposite problem - anniversary end of april, husband's birthday beginning of may, father's day early june. why does it all pile up? on the bright side he's generally satisifed with a steak and a beer. or six. :)

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  28. We have the no gifts rule around here. I find the whole idea appalling. Must be a better way to keep the economy going than to buy stuff that ends up in a landfill. Aren't you glad I took the time to comment? My significant other willingly does his part around the house. That's gift enough for me. We save our pennies for travel which I understand is not everyone's desire. You're a writer. One hundred sentences of love? Now kids are a different story - but even then its minimal. My 2 cents, as that's all I have for gifts. :)

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    1. Yes, quite glad. Thanks for your 2 cents, Stephanie.

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  29. My husband has the same problem. Mother's Day then a birthday in June. A GC for a pedicure. Is it creative, no. Will she like it? Yes.

    This past MD my husband broke down and got me a Pandora bracelet (which is totally out the price range we usually do gifts). The kids told me he was sweating at the jewelry store. However, now he doesn't have to worry about what to get me for my birthday, or any other holiday. Just get a charm for the bracelet.

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    1. You are right, Adrienne. It doesn't have to be overly complicated to be great.

      You are going to be rolling in charms for years to come :)

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