keeping gift giving interesting

I love giving gifts. I love sitting down and thinking about what the recipient loves and coming up with a special twist on it that they would never expect or would never buy for themselves. I love wrapping it up in a pretty package and watching the person's face as they open their gift, or getting a phone call that says I've made their day. The thought of asking someone what they want and giving it to them verbatim has never crossed my mind. 

This year for Y's birthday, I got lazy. Or overwhelmed. It was a week before his birthday and I was struggling; I knew he was into watches and ties but I was sure I would misjudge his taste and get something completely wrong. I did the only appropriate thing: I procrastinated.

Then he said, "I think I should start wearing cologne."

And I pounced. "I'll buy it for you for your birthday!"

I couldn't believe I said that. It was so anti-my preferred method of gift giving. 

But the truth is, when you're hopefully going to give someone approximately 180 big gifts in their lifetime, things are bound to get boring.  (That's birthday, holiday, and anniversary presents for 60 years.) I couldn't let it happen. At least not on gift  7/180 of our marriage.

A few days before Y's birthday, we went on a little "date" to Ulta and Sephora (they're in the same shopping center -- drama!), where we gathered a big stack of tester strips and trudged through the cologne aisle, from Armani to YSL, testing each scent and giving it a yea or nay. 

After we weeded out the bottom half, we narrowed it down to our top three -- and I got to make the final decision. A final decision that I would purchase the next day and which was not to be revealed until his birthday. 

Then I tried to buy some nail polish and spent 15 minutes trying to decide what color to buy before giving up in exasperation, convinced I was going to pick the wrong shade. 

That purple would be great for a football game, but would you ever wear it to work? ...  White? Really? That's going to look like you got bored with Wite-Out.... Gold sparkles? What are you, 12? They are really cute though...

I'm pathetic. Is anyone else so picky about nail polish?

Anyway. The moral of the story is that on his birthday, Y still got to unwrap a surprise.

And I didn't feel quite as bad about my mundane gift.