A Christmas conundrum

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've known my husband for nearly 13 years.

We've been a couple for over 10 of those years and married for eight-and-a-half of them.

So it seems like getting him a Christmas gift should be relatively easy.

But it isn't.

My husband is a simple guy (and I don't mean intellectually). He likes pretty simple things. As long as he gets fed once or twice a day and has access to running water and ESPN, he's good.

He doesn't really have any hobbies. His true passion is photography ... he holds a degree in photojournalism, and he's never happier than he is when he's behind a camera.

What this means is that I can't afford to buy him anything connected to the one thing in his life that could be deemed a great interest for him. I can't buy my husband a $99 digital camera, because he's going to know it's cheap.

Lenses? Flashes? Tripods? Camera bags? Any he would really like -- and use -- are in the gazillion dollar range.

Plus, I don't know a megapixel from a megaphone. I wouldn't know what I was buying.

What about a book, you say?

Nope. Currently, my husband is reading the second book I have ever seen him read in the entire time we've been together.

I am not exaggerating.

Movies, maybe?

Again, no. I am a film junkie, and I own hundreds of movies ... many of which I can recite the dialogue along with as they play. My husband has never understood this. His theory is, once you've seen the movie and know what happens, why in the world would you spend another hour-and-a-half watching it again?

He's not a handy guy. He doesn't like woodworking, painting or building things.

He's not especially crafty. He doesn't enjoy painting, drawing, sewing or anything in that vein.


I've tried that over the years. Andy tends to find four to five basic pieces per season that he really likes ... and then he wears them until they literally fall apart (he gets especially attached to sweaters and shoes). At the moment, the winter things he's wearing with regularity are only in their second or third seasons, so they have lots of time before they find their way to the ragbag.

I never understood my mother's consternation when it came to Christmas shopping for my dad.

Like Andy is, my father was a no-frills guy. He didn't read, he didn't care for movies or videos.

He liked woodworking, but he was serious about it the way Andy is serious about photography, and my mother wouldn't have known what to purchase.

She always ended up buying him socks and thermal underwear, which he seemed to appreciate -- even though it was never a surprise.

I guess it's true that a lot of women end up marrying men who are like their fathers.

As frustrating as it is that shopping for my husband is nearly impossible, I think I'll keep him.

Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. She can be contacted by e-mail at jbarrand@bannergraphic.com.