In a holiday series for MomsCharlotte called Miracle on Curbstone Street, I interviewed local experts for fabulous tips for the season. Check out the gift-giving advice I received from local writer, Charla Muller:
When discussing possible holiday-themed blogs with the MomsCharlotte web editor, it occurs to me: I am good at admitting where I fall short, right? And I am not opposed to asking for advice myself. So perhaps I could bring some useful information to you, from folks who are actually in a position to offer it. If they could keep me from bungling the holidays, it would be a miracle . . .
Charla Muller is the author of 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy, the story of what happened after she gave her husband a most memorable gift for his birthday, and Pretty Takes Practice.
You gave your husband an intimate encounter every night for a year for his 40th birthday, cementing your spot as the coolest wife ever in the history of life. But has that gift made it subsequently impossible to give gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse or Auto Bell?
With a gift of that magnitude, I’m confident I’ve peaked, which is way better than peaking in high school I imagine.
Well, yes . . . especially with that gift
Fortunately, I’ve set a consistently low bar with the loved ones in my life. My friends and family know that gift-giving is not my strength and that this gift to my husband was a strange intersection of incredible thoughtfulness, spontaneity and timing. It was the lunar eclipse of gifts – only happens once in a lifetime if we’re lucky.
Successful gift-giving can be challenging. I once heard that someone decided to get a puppy for her kids for Christmas in the hopes it would simplify things . . . like, BAM! One and done, baby! Of course, this was so right and yet so wrong. I wonder about your famous present. Was the idea of it aligned with the reality of it?
Most over-the-top gifts meet the euphoric criteria of feeling so very right at the moment. And only later does the reality come crashing down around us – usually when we’re standing knee-deep in snow in the dead of night begging a little ball of fur to stop whining and go pee-pee. The power of an over the top gift is not just the awesomeness of it, but all the other stuff that comes with it, too. I had no idea of how the reality of my gift to my husband would change our lives – all for the better, I might add. Despite the logistics and the planning, it was a transforming gift for us both. Way better than Autobell, and I love a clean car.
It’s nice to hear that you also benefitted from that experience, although perhaps that’s not the gift you would ask for, if the shoe was on the other foot. What present would you like to receive every day for a year?
That whole car that appears in the driveway with a freakishly large bow would be interesting. More than the actual car, I’m fascinated to meet the person who can pull off that incredible feat of financing, logistics and décor. And the bow – how do you fit that one in your “bow box” to save for next year?
The hectic pace of the season creates a situation where it is difficult to keep your priorities straight. Like, do I try to do the Target run before or after I cash in my 24 hour mall coupon, and does picking up the take-out trump getting to Dick’s before the latest shipment of gear is gone? Is this unavoidable? No pain no gain? What would Christmas be without the presents, right?
Here is a fundamental truth – much like childbirth, the holidays happen whether we’re ready or not. We can fight it, or we can embrace the epidural and roll with it. Because at the end of the day, we have these hazy, soft-lit memories of wonder and love, and it’s easy to forget all the pain and the mess. So this season I highly recommend some sort of holiday epidural.
Speaking of pain, when recounting a recent argument between my husband and me to a friend over coffee, I expressed frustration that he did not seem to understand how precarious my mental state was on this particular day when we were trying to reconcile twenty different holiday obligations in the space of two hours. She commented “This is how husbands get stabbed.” Not sure what the question is here.
I only offer you female affirmation of our universal experience that each of us on occasion wants to throttle the love of our life. Especially, when we are living on the edge. But remember, it can get messy and we’d be the ones required to clean up said mess and we simply don’t have the time to go off task.
In your experience is it possible for a gift to keep on giving?
Sure. Head lice
Ah, so true. Any other thoughts?
Amazon Prime. It’s changed my life. I mean it. I haven’t stepped foot in a mall this holiday season.