Wednesday, November 27, 2013

what a surprise :(

© Diana Thomson
I could tell my husband exactly what I want for Christmas.

I could even email him the links to the Amazon pages.

Ba da bing, ba da boom, he’d be done.

But I can’t.

Because if I do, he won’t get it for me … it wouldn’t be a surprise, then, he says.

I don’t want a surprise; I want what I want.

(For the record, I’d like an espresso machine.)

My son, age 14, gets where I am coming from. When I asked him what he wants for Christmas, he asked if he could just get the equivalent in cash.

I talked to a woman today whose teenaged sons say the same thing, but, she said, “There’s no way I’m telling their grandma that.” Even though this grandma buys a 16-year-old boy toys and sweaters.

I think teenaged boys, in particular, because they have so little control over things, really relish the opportunity to get exactly what they want. And the 16-year-old whose Grandma gives him a scooter must really feel frustrated.

For some reason, people feel better giving a gift card rather than cold, hard cash. Less crass, perhaps. But for the illusion that you put some effort and thought into the gift, you limit the recipient to buying from just one retailer. Or, for a universally accepted gift card, you can pay a fee at your bank but, then, that’s money your recipient or you could have spent on something else. And that just hurts my flinty Yankee soul.

I confess, however, that I’m not just going to hand my son cash on Christmas (though he’ll get that too), because there are things that I think he’ll like, even if he doesn’t think so yet himself.

Here’s hoping they’re pleasant surprises.


  1. I'm a grandmother, and totally out of the loop when it comes to what teenagers are wearing. If I did know, I'm sure I would not want to spend money on such rags. Bah, humbug.....

  2. Who is your illustrator? Now, that's a straight forward package, that I like...bright red with a no foolin' around, big green bow. Has to be something serious in that package.