I went to a jewelry show last Friday at a friend’s house. As all of the sixteen ladies were going through the catalogs quietly after the presentation, the woman sitting next to me declared, “I am buying this for my husband to give it to me for Christmas!” I turned to her and smiled. So I am not the only one who tells Joe what to get me for special occasions.

This year I wanted a bracelet. I searched online and found the one at Nordstrom. So on a Sunday afternoon about a month ago we went to the store at Oak Brook to make the purchase. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the silver color I wanted. When I put on the gold one for Joe to see, he didn’t care for it too much. Back to the drawing board. We looked around for other styles. A diamond studded knot cable bracelet caught Joe’s eyes. In his words, it was classy, simple and elegant. Yes, you guessed it. We ended up buying the bracelet Joe loved. I couldn’t take it home with me because it was a little too big for my tiny wrist. The saleslady Valerie said she’d call the manufacturer and special order it. Valerie contacted me a week later just to let me know that she hadn’t heard back from the manufacturer yet. Joe and I went on the manufacture’s site to look ourselves. Now with a much larger display to choose from, Joe fell in love with another style. After offering a lengthy explanation as to why this one was absolutely stunning, Joe said he was going to order it online right away. That night when I opened my email, I saw the order confirmation, but it wasn’t the gorgeous bracelet Joe said he was going to buy.

“So you bought this one?”
“Yeah, yeah. The reviews on the other one weren’t so good. People said it was good-looking but not very comfortable. So I changed my mind.”
“But I don’t even like this one. Why didn’t you ask me before placing the order?”
“I like it a lot and I want to give it to you as a present.”
“Does it matter what I like? After all, I am the one who is going to wear it!”
“I’ll cancel the order if you hate it. Sorry about that.”
“Why do you always think you know me better than I know myself? You do the same thing to the kids. Do you realize that?”

We didn’t really fight over this. We were just annoyed at each other. Another week passed before I brought up the subject again. Joe informed me that after many phone calls, he finally managed to talk to a live person and cancel the online order.

“What should I do with the bracelet being held at Nordstrom?”
“Return it.”
“I still want to get that bracelet I really liked.”
“Sure! But why don’t you go on the Tiffany website and see if they have something similar?”

I liked the idea a lot. And it wasn’t hard at all to find an elegant Tiffany bracelet. So a couple of weeks ago we went to Oak Brook again to get my money back from Nordstrom and purchase the bracelet from Tiffany. There was a gorgeous matching ring. Surprisingly they even had my size in stock and it looked fabulous on my little index finger. We bought that too. I was very happy!

When we were sitting down for dinner yesterday evening, Joe complimented me on my outfit.

“You look sharp today. Why didn’t you wear a necklace to go with the sweater?”
“I couldn’t find anything this morning.”
“I have something for you. I’ll go get it.”

A few minutes later, he returned with a blue box and took out a multi-shaped link design necklace in the color of bronze. Joe came behind me and started to put it around my neck.

“When did you get that?” I was curious.
“Three years ago.”
“I gave this to your three years ago with the other necklace you thought was ugly.”

I remembered the other necklace, a bronze colored heavy thing with unflattering leaves. When I opened the box, Jane and Michelle burst into laughter.

“Dad, is that what you are giving mom for Christmas after she gave you a platinum anniversary band? She’ll never wear something like that!”

Joe said he’d modify the design and then I’d love it. He did take it apart but I never saw that leafy necklace again. Looking down at the link necklace Joe had just put on me, I didn’t remember seeing it three years ago but I thought I could wear it, maybe with a different top.

If the bracelet made me feel heard, the necklace made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. With the hectic lifestyle everyone adopts today, we are gradually taking the surprise factor out of the equation. We live by lists. We eat fast food. We do speedy Yoga. We give each other gift cards. After all, who has the time to wait in long lines after Christmas to return those unwanted or unfit gifts? So when life throws us a little surprise here and there, it’s even more special.

I love Christmas because it’s the season of giving and receiving!