Practical Christmas gifts may be the best

By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN
Posted Nov. 23, 2012, at 6:34 p.m.

It was love at first sight, even though it was red.

I’m a beige kind of gal.

Yet here I was ogling a tartan flannel robe lined with sherpa fleece, or rather a picture of it from the catalog I was thumbing through.

I mentioned it, not so casually, to my husband.

That was many weeks ago.

Like so many parents, my husband and I reserve most of our gift giving for our kids, picking up just a few token gifts for each other. I always get some new socks (my favorite) and a couple of scented candles.

If in the months before Christmas I find a great bargain on something I’d like to have, I often buy it myself, hand him the bag and say, “Tuck this away and give it to me for Christmas.”

Occasionally there have been surprises, of course. My husband has grown wiser with age and finally learned that a shiny trinket beneath the tree is appreciated.

The kids and I have surprised him once or twice. He was not expecting — and in fact said he didn’t care to have — an iPod. We decided he was wrong, bought it anyway and he loves it.

Me? I hate it. Why? Because he uses it while raking the lawn, shoveling the driveway and doing other routine outdoor tasks and does not hear me when I yell to him from the doorway.

A couple of weeks ago at the gas pumps he reached for a dog-eared piece of scrap paper in his glove compartment and dutifully figured his gas mileage as he does each time he fills up.

“Hey,” he said excitedly (and I’m not kidding here). “You know what I’d love to have for Christmas? One of those little flip notebooks so I can use it to record my gas mileage.”

This was a bit of a conservative request even from him.

“You’re kidding me, right? Do you mean the little spiral-bound notebooks that you can buy at the grocery store for 20 cents?” I asked.

“Yeah. That’s it. I just never think to pick one up and it would make me very happy to get one of those for Christmas.”

Perhaps he’ll get two.

Needless to say, we were not among the 4 a.m. shoppers standing in long lines on Black Friday.

I don’t care if they had a half-off special on those notebooks, I wasn’t getting up for it.

Just the same, though, I perused the fliers — or should I say catalogs — that fell from my paper Thursday morning and even did some online research to find out what gifts were trending for Christmas 2012.

Toasters that sear the logo of your favorite NFL team on your toast are apparently a hot item. The beer box cowboy hat for $39.95 is a favorite on some lists. The promo for the hat reads, “Ever wear a case of beer on your head?”

The hats are made from “genuine” 18-packs of your favorite brand of beer.

I must confess, I think my days of wearing cases of beer on my head are over.

Polly the Insulting Parrot sells for $16.99 and is just what you imagine it would be, and I can hurl enough insults on my own if so provoked.

There is an Igrill Bluetooth oven thermometer, which is a digital thermometer that can communicate with the cook’s Android device. It has an app that lets you set times, view current temperatures in the oven and look up recipes.

I’m still not sure what Bluetooth is about, and I know I don’t have an Android device.

But I do know that winter is here and coming home on a cold evening and wrapping myself in a tartan flannel bathrobe with sherpa fleece lining is something I can truly envision and dream of.

I’m not sure whether he’ll actually get around to ordering it for me, but just the other night, out of the blue, he said, “Hey, what are the dimensions of that robe you’ve been talking about?”

I’m not sure whether to be hopeful or horrified.

Maybe he’ll only get one of those notebooks after all.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/23/living/practical-christmas-gifts-may-be-the-best/ printed on July 22, 2014