What Do You Buy for the Guy Who Wants Nothing?


Literally. My husband is THE most difficult person to buy presents for. Um, well, not quite. My mom is worse because she just buys herself whatever she wants whenever she wants. *waves* Hi Mom! 😀
Anyway, now that the holidays are upon us, it’s time for the phone calls from various family members, usually his. “What does he want?” “Does he have one of these?” “Do you think he’ll like this?”
And I never know what to say. I never know what the hell to get him myself, and I have the double pleasure of having to buy him something from the kids. I’m usually pretty easy – I always have a list of “love to have” things that I can tell people to pass along to those who ask. But my husband just refuses.
“Just get me a shirt, it’s all I want.” I just want to smack him sometimes. No one wants to buy him a shirt, not when he already has 879 of them! I try to explain there’s a big part of holiday gift-giving that focuses on the giver, and the thought they put into getting something they hope you’ll love. Asking me to tell them to just get him a shirt just kind of spoils it for me.
Even harder, is with his family, we pick names, and everyone is expected to spend a certain amount on the person whose name they picked. A shirt that will cover that amount will not be a shirt my husband wears.
Every year, I try to come up with something interesting. Something he might have fun with. Bought a tabletop casino game – blackjack, poker and craps. We like to do AC and gamble, so I thought he’d like that.

It’s in the closet. Has been for about six years now. Think we used it once.

The three teams in our house are the NY Rangers, the NY Giants, and the NY Mets. I’ve gotten jackets, calendars, mouse pads, framed prints of big moments. But you can only buy someone so much sports-related paraphernalia before it becomes just clutter. Though the 360 degree view picture of the Garden the night the Rangers won the cup in ’94 (we were there in our regular seats!) is in full view in the family room.
Tools often work, but he’s picky about what he wants and says he really needs. Again, I remind him holiday gifts are not about needing (though I’d be thrilled with a new microwave this year. Maybe a dishwasher? And we desperately need a new car), they’re about making someone happy. A shirt isn’t going to do that – not from his perspective anyway. If he was a woman and enjoyed clothes as I do, I might think he’d have a point. But I’ve seen him open shirts before, he gives it a nice perusal, says thank you with a kind. happy smile and puts it away.
I’m sorry, but when you open a Christmas gift, the reaction should be “Oh cool, this is really neat! Thank you so much! I love/wanted this!”  I try to pick gifts for people that will bring that reaction, because there’s nothing better than giving someone something they really would like but probably wouldn’t buy for themselves. When he stands in front of something and admires it, I know that’s something that he’d yell at me for spending the money on, but be thrilled I got if for him. I have had to tell him on several occasions to “STFU and just be glad I know what you want and took the time to get it for you!”
But anyway, here we are again. Here come the phone calls and the emails and my daughter cornering me to remind me we have to get Dad a “good” present. I know. I dread this about as much as I dread his birthday because it causes such stress, when all he has to do is just find me something he wants, no matter how frivolous it seems to him. Look in the catalogs, check the sale flyers and emails. Surely there’s got to be something to tickle his impractical side! No one wants to be practical with a holiday gift (though if someone wants to pick me up that microwave, I have no objections!), they want to please your inner child.
Maybe that’s the problem. He’s forgotten how to be a child. Good thing I haven’t! Not that it’s helping me much as I plan my shopping missions.
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