Tag Archives: Gift giving

Chocolate Chat

“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” —Unknown

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay.

In case you didn’t collide with card, candy, and teddy bear displays, I’ll inform you: Valentine’s Day was Monday. Think in terms of a major apology gift. Half-price chocolates save money, but will they impress your lady?

Perhaps I can suggest tips for future reference.

At all costs, avoid the “I-love-you-every-day-why-should-I-give-you-a-gift-now?” defense. Like the adage, “It doesn’t matter who wins or loses,” it contains elements of truth. But you’ll lose, big time. Unless you think sleeping on the couch — or driveway — is fun.

The book my husband gave me for our first Valentine’s Day looked much better 47 years ago.

Fortunately, my husband figured this out. He’s come a long way since our first Valentine’s Day, when he gave me a history book. No, I’m not making that up.

After 47 years, though, he’s a master gift giver. Hubby should offer lessons on finding cards that make a wife’s heart sing. However, he faced a common February quandary: I adore chocolate, but I’m dieting. Should he give me only a card?

Some men bypass the obvious solution: flowers. Instead, they buy their ladies lingerie.

Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay.

Seriously? When women are hating mirrors, are suffering from starvation, and are pushed around by skinny exercise gurus wearing Spandex?

Admittedly, it’s a cruel dilemma — only one of thousands women inflict on men.

Guys should blame marketing geniuses of the late 1800s and early 1900s who married chocolate and Valentine’s Day.

During the 1860s, beverage manufacturer Richard Cadbury discovered the answer to his own dilemma: how to use cocoa butter that remained after processing chocolate drinks. Before his descendants manufactured the eggs associated with his name, Cadbury marketed valentine candies in beautiful boxes he designed himself.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Milton Hershey reinforced the Valentine’s Day-chocolate connection when he began selling tear-dropped chocolate “kisses” named for smoochy sounds chocolate made during processing.

For a time, chocolate equaled milk chocolate. When I, a second grader, received my first Valentine’s Day chocolates from towheaded Paul Henry, I didn’t nitpick about milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bittersweet, or semisweet. Unlike modern connoisseurs, I didn’t debate whether white or ruby chocolate are true chocolate.

Question free candy? Stupid.

Speaking of stupidity, some gourmets have “diversified” chocolate. They’ve invented a chocolate éclair hot dog. Chocolate and black pepper goat cheese truffles. Even chocolate calamari soup.

I told my love, “While I crave both seafood and chocolate, please don’t get creative on me this Valentine’s Day, okay?”

Image by Allan Lau from Pixabay.

“Since when have I been creative?”

True.

“By the way,” Hubby continued, “why should I give you chocolates, when you’ve only given me cards?”

Touché.

However, he, too, has been avoiding seconds at dinner. Toughening up with weights.

Should I give him the ultimate symbol of my love and concern for his health: broccoli dipped in dark chocolate?

Maybe just a card. …

Tune in February 14, 2023, to see if these old lovers learned anything during their chocolate chat.

Image by Gabriel Alva from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What does Valentine’s Day look like at your house?

For My True Love

Image by geralt from Pixabay.

Have you spent endless hours seeking Christmas gifts for your Numero Uno?

We search stores. Dig through photos, files, and websites for unique gifts that say, “I love you.” Right, guys?

We’re all inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Mr. True Love went all out to find his sweetheart’s presents. Five gold rings notwithstanding, though, romantic zeal doesn’t always translate to gift-giving know-how.

Our first Christmas together, my true love gave me gloves. Hairy-looking, mottled red and gray gloves, the like of which I had not seen before, nor have since. Later, I learned his mother, terrified her 17-year-old was hurrying into something serious, had suggested a pair.

He should have asked her help.

My future husband’s gift-giving impairment didn’t surprise me, though, because my father was the world’s worst. The oh-is-something-happening-tomorrow? thought never occurred to him before Christmas Eve. Second, penny-pinching Dad comprehended zero about Mom’s preferences.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Around age 10, I noticed their annual conflict.

Dad bought Mom a blue eyelet dress, perfect for running through daisies.

“Pretty!” I cheered. “Like the ones the eighth graders wear!”

Mom grated, “I’m not in eighth grade.”

True. Most eighth graders didn’t have five children. And even I saw the dress was four sizes too small.

The following year, Dad bought her a practical gift. A slip the size of your average city bus.

After 25 years of bombing, he finally welcomed his daughters’ help in choosing Mom’s Christmas gift.

My husband learned much faster. Now he’s so good, he should teach gift-giving lessons. Hubby could have helped the guy who teased his girlfriend one holiday season, insisting he’d give her an iron.

Image by stevepb from Pixabay.

She responded with cute giggles.

He purchased a super-cheap iron, gave it away, and packaged a romantic gift in the box.

She unwrapped it. No cute giggles.

He spent the rest of Christmas trying to persuade her to: Open. The. Box.

If it’s the thought that counts, a traveling salesman’s wife blew that aspect. She gave him a week’s supply of socks, all dotted with her portrait.

Having dissed all these givers, I tried to be fair, asking Hubby, “What Christmas gift for you did I blow?”

He shrugged. “None I remember.”

None? Our relationship has spanned almost five decades.

I threw my arms around him. “You’re so forgiving!”

“Forgetful’s probably the word.”

“At our age, same difference.” I hugged him again.

During the holidays, I often lie awake. Did I buy the teens’ gift cards from stores that will ruin their reputations for life? Are the in-laws allergic to blue? Do little ones’ toys contain kryptonite?

Hubby’s forgiving/forgetting my Christmas miscues is the best present he could give me.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s the best/worst gift your spouse has given you?

Thanksgiving at Christmas

Yes, Thanksgiving has passed. Though the holiday virus has infected my mental workings, I’m not out of touch with reality yet. After all, it’s only December 1.

It’s not?

No wonder my gas company turned off the heat. …

Back to the original subject. Every year we celebrate Christmas at Thanksgiving. At Halloween, even. Yet, doesn’t Thanksgiving at Christmas make more sense than Black Friday? Let’s start a new trend! I’ll go first:

  • I appreciate energetic individuals who decorate their homes with flair during Advent. Their stunning light displays delight my grandchildren without this all-thumbs grandma hammering a single thumb.
  • Blessed are the procrastinators who, like me, have not removed pumpkins from their porches. The same people leave their Christmas lights up until July. You have no idea how you spread good cheer to me and others who will show up two months late for our own funerals.
  • I’m also thankful for online Christmas shopping, as my grinchy feet have nixed walking marathons in malls and stores. What a boon for me and for others with cranky, uncooperative body parts; cranky, uncooperative children; or cranky, uncooperative spouses.
  • Yet, I am thankful that my feet, in their more magnanimous moods, have allowed some shopping trips. Miss the opportunity to sing along with background carols? Never! Miss people-watching at the most interesting time of the year? Perish the thought!
  • Nasty store clerks are legendary; yet yesterday, I encountered one who, amid coupon craziness, promised me the best deal possible — and delivered.
  • On the receiving end of gift-giving, I am thankful my husband has developed excellent judgment in selecting presents. The past few decades, I have received nothing like one of his early gifts: a dried-blowfish lamp brought back from Florida.
  • Nor have friends given me a Santa Yoda yard ornament or singing deer head. One friend, whose sister gave her a plunger-waving snowman that asks restroom guests what they’re doing, has never re-gifted me with him. For that I am deeply grateful.
  • Also for commercials on TV that do not revolve around spending buckets of money for Christmas. Both of them.
  • Finally, for my car clock that ignores the time change. While an initial glance at it strikes me with panic — “I’m an hour late!” — I savor the rush of relief when I realize I’m not.

Hubby threatens to change the clock. Sure, it gives a false sense of security. But it allows me to chill.

After all, it’s only December 2.

It’s not?

Oh, well. There’s still plenty of time to celebrate Thanksgiving this December.

With every “Merry Christmas!” I’ll remember and thank the One whose birthday it is.

 

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate Thanksgiving at Christmas?