Pulling out his pocketknife, Dan sliced through the Christmas wrap, careful to run the blade along the edge of the box. Probably a dress shirt in the latest color. Too light for the wrenches I asked for. No chance it’s a new work shirt.
He freed a sweater from its box and smiled at his wife, holding it up in front of him. “This looks warm!” he said broadly. “And the color matches my eyes, right?”
Sue laughed at him. “It makes you look so handsome! It goes with that blue shirt I gave you for your birthday. It’s cashmere!”
Dan laid the sweater back in the box and watched his daughter open her gift, planning his next trip to the tool store. Now that Christmas was over, he could go get the wrenches. Wonder if there’d be an after-Christmas sale on flannel shirts? What was cashmere anyway?
As Sue carefully removed the paper from Dan’s gift to her, she radiated joy. Candles! A weekend getaway to the spa! Oh, and that new blouse she’d shown him last week. He must have asked Sarah for the right size.
Finally, she thought. One year he’d bought her an iron, so proud of all the features. Easy to clean, lightweight so it didn’t hurt her shoulder, great warranty. But an iron? It still hadn’t worn out.
He’d started asking for a list after the washing machine fiasco, but she’d worked him through that, too. Men have lists, with non-gifts like tools or flannel shirts. Women don’t have Christmas lists. That takes the surprise out of it. He just had to pay attention to hints. And see? It had worked this year. He’d heard about the new blouse and now it was hers.
Finally he was seeing how to give a real gift.
Dan, meanwhile, carried his sweater into the bedroom. Did he hang it up or stuff it in a drawer? He couldn’t wear it to work and he hoped he didn’t forget to wear it sometime to church, so Sue could see it. The kids had bought him some cologne and he put it on the sink in the bathroom. He had to remember to wear that sometime, too, when they were around so they could smell it.
He changed into work clothes. Sue’s car needed an oil change and then he would fix Justin’s door, where it stuck on the striker plate. Sue wanted a shelf in the closet and he could get that put up today, too. He’d try to pick up the wrench set later in the week, before he changed out the brakes on Sue’s car. He’d noticed the back step was slick. Sue had nearly fallen on the ice the other day. He had an idea on how to re-route the gutter so water didn’t drip on the sidewalk.
Good thing Sarah had clued him in on the spa idea. He sure didn’t get this gift-giving stuff.