My best memory of 2015 is when I finally succeeded in finding a spectacular gift for the love of my life.

I am married to a man whose love language is gifts. He loves planning and hunting for gifts. Lives for the anticipation of giving a gift. Loves giving of his time to procure or create the most unexpected gift he can think of. Birthdays and Christmas are license for him to unload on the people he loves with reckless abandon.

For the past three years he has surprised me on my return from summer vacation with a unique kitchen gadget. Three summers ago gorgeous Le Creuset pots were waiting on my cooktop.

Two summers ago, a touch faucet magically replace my worn-out kitchen faucet (let me tell you, if you ever have the chance to own a touch faucet, do not pass it up. Greatest kitchen improvement ever!).

And this past summer? My kitchen got a color makeover in the form of LED light strips above and below my upper cabinets. I no longer have to debate wall color; a simple coat of white paint creates a blank canvas to project any color I happen to be in the mood for. If I’m feeling really adventurous, I can set them to fade from color to color or strobe for an in-home rave (not that we do that)!

As dominant as my husband’s gift-giving skills are, mine are equivalently inferior.

I’m good at lots of things. Choosing gifts is not always one of them.

Gift shopping turns into a stressful debate as I second-guess everything. Is it going to stand out? Will they love it? Will they use it? Or will they wonder what I was thinking in buying it? By the time I’ve found just the right gift, I have a serious case of decision fatigue.

Shopping for my husband is no different. He is particular about things and has a streamlined list of interests: technology, soccer, and movies. I’m about as far from a pro as anyone could ever be at all three of those things. I don’t even choose my own tech gadets. I just tell my hubby what I need to be able to do, and I let him do the research and tell me what he’s getting for me. Soccer (and all other team sports) still feel like a foreign country to me. And when it comes to movies, the only two genres worthy of any attention are costume/history dramas and romantic comedies. My hubby disagrees.

I’ve been a student of him for fourteen years and still get sweaty palms at the thought of finding the perfect gift for him.

You see, he means the world to me and deserves the best gift ever. Compared to the extraordinary things he surprises me with, my little offerings feel very pathetic. More often than not, gifts are comprised of things he sent me an Amazon link for because I couldn’t think of something unexpected for him.

But 2015 was my year.

He flew to Spain on business at the beginning of the year, and I was the one to pick him up after his long flight home. He was too exhausted even to drive home and one of his comments was that the constant background noise of the airplane made flights overwhelming. Somehow that comment planted a seed in my brain.

When I started teaching sewing lessons a month later, I started a special cash envelope. When a second international trip appeared on his work calendar close to Father’s Day, I was ready. But my low self-esteem in the gifting department kicked into gear again, and I started second-guessing. So I asked him.

“I’ve been saving to either buy something special for you or buy furniture.” And I was even so boring as to tell him what I had in mind for him! Like I said, gifting is not my forte.

“No, save it to get furniture.”

That is always his first instinct; take care of everyone else first. But his answer sealed the deal. I would NOT be buying furniture no matter how badly we need something to organize the disastrous shoe/coat room!

I remember looking at him and saying, “Really? Are you SURE you wouldn’t rather have this?”

He was gracious enough to smile and give me an honest answer, “Well, I’m not going to lie; I would LOVE that, but I don’t need it.”


The kids and I went on a shopping expedition the very next day and came home with the most expensive headphones I’d ever laid eyes (much less hands) on just in time to send him off to the airport. Noise-canceling headphones. I had no idea such a thing existed! When he had commented on being exhausted, he’d also mentioned a few other passengers who wore their noise-canceling headphones to sleep. That was the tiny seed that sprouted almost immediately.

He texted me as soon as he landed on the other side of the world, “Headphones were awesome!”

For the first time in his life he’d arrived at a destination feeling more or less relaxed despite sitting in cramped quarters for half a day.

He’s endured multiple flights since then and each time he debarks the plane singing the praises of his headphones.

I think I literally smile every time I hear him brag on his headphones. Not in a prideful I-was-so-smart-to-get-those kind of way, but in a very satisfied, contented way because I was finally able to get the man I love a gift that truly makes his life more luxurious.

That is my best memory of 2015.

Do you have a memory from 2015 that stands out above the others?



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