Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gift-Giving 101, or Why I Don't Want a Vacuum Cleaner for Christmas

At some point, things just die.

That's what happens twelve years into a marriage. Almost all of the things we bought when we got married have now fulfilled the measure of their creation and are desperately gasping out their last great, heaving breaths -- washing machine, clothes drier, television, and, alas, the vacuum cleaner.

My kids are into Raisinets lately. And they're also really big on molesting the Christmas tree. I swear, it's a good thing we do real trees because an artificial tree would not make it to see another season with my children beating on it. Yet another thing that will breathe a sigh of relief when I finally take it out of my house.

So I was vacuuming the other day. I noticed some chocolate-covered raisins on the floor, and sucked them up, then made my way over to the tree to get rid of the many, many needles sacrificed on the altar of toddler tree redecoration efforts. As I went over (and over and over . . . 12 years is a long time for a cheap vacuum) the area surrounding the tree, my vacuum cleaner pooped on the carpet.

Or, that's what it looked like. It took me a minute to realize the Raisinet had been rejected by my Hoover -- spit right back on the rug like a little mouse turd, pooped out in midstream just like MayDay, who can (and does, frequently) clear the room with a foul stench while simultaneously putting together a train track and telling an entertaining story about his imaginary accomplices.


I need a new vacuum cleaner.

But it's December. It's Christmas. It's my birthday. It's CPod's birthday. I'm not spending my money on a vacuum cleaner.

And (are you listening?) CPod better not be either.

When it comes to gift giving, I'm complicated. I love to be surprised, but I also like to be happy. At the beginning of our marriage, those two things were mutually exclusive. Now, thankfully, my dear CPod has mastered the art of selecting the perfect gift for me to open on Christmas morning. One year, he bought me a print (genuine, official, signed, numbered and smacked on the butt as it went out the door) of the Greg Olsen painting, "Mother's Love". Not the close up, but the real one. The big one. Now it hangs over our bed. A few years later, he bought me a print of a painting that hangs in the BYU Museum of Art that he knows I love; it hangs over our fireplace. Another year, he gave me an entire box of Godiva key lime truffles. Mmmmm. He has developed a knack for choosing jewelry I will love, fine kitchen tools I will appreciate, and delicious-smelling things that will make me swoon.

But a vacuum cleaner? No way. I just don't think the sight of a new Dyson under the tree would have quite the same effect as, say, a beautifully wrapped bottle of L'Eau d'Issey. (Oh, yes, ladies. He even does gift wrap!) There's just something about vacuum cleaner that says, "In case you weren't sure about your place, little woman." And maybe there will be high heels and an apron in the next package. Now, don't get me wrong, without the vacuum cleaner in the picture, I'd be all over those stilettos, and the apron, too. But gifts are supposed to be something that I wouldn't be able to justify buying for myself, or that I wouldn't think of, or that make me remember fondly the person who gave them. Lucky for me, CPod does not subscribe to the Homer Simpson school of gift giving: I don't have to use the bowling ball engraved with his name to remember that he loved me enough to give me something I love on Christmas morning.

Speaking of things that I love -- check out my new signature! My awesomely fantastic brother-in-law used my own handwriting to design that cool little sign-off. Isn't he great?

post signature


  1. Yes, that's a fabulous new signature.

    Now, can I be frank, Frank? (A MASH quote. I know. I'm pathetic)

    If your water heater went out, you'd replace it. Ditto the car's fuel pump.

    The vacuum is a tool. Just buy a new one, take it out of the "tools" account in your mental money tally, and get on with your life.

    NO, it does not count toward birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Groundhog Day. It's just a thing you need right now.

    This philosophy has enabled me to make it to 25 years of marriage without doing myself or my partner gross bodily harm.

    (And you are amazing, Miz "I've lost all of my baby weight plus 9 pounds"! I don't feel one bit guilty that you're feasting on fudge. No. I. Do. Not.)

  2. My husband bought me a sewing machine three years ago in hopes I would learn how to use it. I had been planning on learning but have now been resisting for three years. Out of spite. I'm really big hearted and forgiving like that, don't'cha know.

    Of course, he also gave me a gift certificate to a local spa, so it all sort of balanced out.


  3. Ding dang it... I'm totally going to have to return your present now. It's a complete toilet bowl cleaning system... practical, useful... are you sure you don't want it?

  4. For Mother's day my husband decided to get me to monster sized cooking pots. Because HE always manages to boil over on Sunday when HE cooks. Now, I HAVE used those pots many a time with our huge brood, but in retribution, I got him some bubble bath for his birthday!
    As for the Dyson - I have had mine for 4 years now and want to kiss it each time I use it. It is a fantastic gift to give yourself!!!!!

  5. I'm a lot like you that way - I don't want something I just need for a present. Presents are to show that the person loves you and cares about you enough to get you something special - something extra - something that isn't just a "whatever".

    My hubby, on the other hand, still belives the best gift I ever gave him was that shredder for our second Valentines together.

    On the plus side, we both realize what the other prefers for gifts, so he gets the useful toolish stuff, and I get the extras.

  6. Oh I don't know--my Dyson is possibly me favorite thing. And it's purple! I wouldn't say I'm all that clean but I love to vacuum. That clean path in the carpet... Good luck.

  7. I don't know if it's because I'm a newlywed- but I would LOVE a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas! Also a mixer, pressure cooker, and sewing machine would be AWESOME!

  8. Welcome back.
    I'm lame because I love getting practical gifts that we need and would buy anyways. Maybe when we have money for more extras I'll feel different?
    And what's this about losing all the weight plus more?? What? Details. i need details. And probably less chocolate.

  9. I meant to also say I love the signature. Very cool.

  10. I understand the feeling but I feel that way about Birthday presents ... it is MY birthday I want something for ME not for the house :)

    For Christmas we use that as an opportunity to buy something that we need ... same thing like for anniversary ... if we need/want a certain camera, printer ... whatever ... is a good excuse to go and buy one. :0) So if it was my house, I'd love to get the vacuum cleaner, specially if it's a nice one, instead of the craapy one we have that doens't pick up much stuff ... hehehehehehe.

    However, just like DeNae said, if you need one and you wouldn't like to get it as a Christmas gift, just go and buy it.

    Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

  11. I wish I could give you a vacuum cleaner. Really.

    (I giggled from beginning to end - girl, you can WRITE. And sign your name cool. Basically, you rock.)

  12. Am I the first to show you THIS?

    Work on the folding, Donny.

    Merry Christmas (and no gift should have to plug in, I'm just saying.)

  13. I'm a gadget laptop, camera, iphone (still waiting on my verizon contract to be over, thank you) that stuff! I like quality house tools as gifts also. I love my dutch oven that my Mom got's whatever makes you shake your tail feathers....glad somebody's husband knows how buy a great gift. I practically have to give mine an itemized list! I have horror stories, LOL!

    I do like the new signature..very cool!!

  14. One year we had to buy a new dryer. So my husband announced that it could be my mother's day present.

    Um, no. I don't think so.

  15. Love the signature.

    I actually prefer my husband to go shopping for me. He has better taste in jewelry than I do. :)

    I do occasionally get sandwich makers, but then he buys a cool watch and it's all even.

  16. Is it wrong that I just cannot get past the fact that I just found another Mormon Mommy blogger who thinks key lime Godiva truffles rock?

    The only sad thing is my birthday isn't until November. Oh wait, there's yet Valentines day. ::sigh of relief::

    Vacuums, schmacuums. We have hardwood floors. Give me a cool dustmop anyday of the year.


Sock it to me!