The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 10, 2012

Mike Pound: Gift theme is just what men need

By Mike Pound

— My wife said something to me on Saturday that put me in the holiday spirit.

It takes me a while to get in the holiday spirit. I’m not one of those who believe the holiday season starts on Thanksgiving Day. To me, Thanksgiving is only a speed bump to let you know that the holiday season is nigh. (I try to use the word “nigh” at least once a year.)

We also finally got our Christmas tree over the weekend. I say “finally” because, as I’ve mentioned before, my wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, thought we should have put up our tree in July. But getting our Christmas tree doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit, although I do have to admit that our yearly drive east of Carthage to Pinewood Nursery to get the tree is always a pretty neat deal.

What put me in the holiday spirit this year is what my wife said about a Christmas present she has purchased for me.

My wife likes to talk to me about my Christmas gifts. My wife thinks, I guess, that I’m 8 years old and spend all my waking hours wondering what I’m going to get for Christmas, which is silly because she should know by now that I spend all my waking hours wondering how bad the Kansas City Chiefs can get and, on a related topic, how much beer I have in the refrigerator.

The truth is that I dread getting Christmas gifts from my wife. My wife tries to be creative when it comes to buying me gifts. She spends the entire year trying to catch hints from me about a secret, must-have Christmas item on my list. But the sad thing is that I seldom have some secret, must-have Christmas item on my list, so my wife has to make one up.

The first Christmas after we got married, my wife gave me one of those pulsating shower heads that I didn’t want. My wife proudly watched me open that present, and then, when she saw the puzzled look on my face, she said, “It’s a shower massage. You said you wanted one.”

When I asked my wife when I had said I wanted a shower massage, she said, “Last June. Remember you took a shower in that hotel and you said you liked the shower?”

I didn’t.

By the way, it would have been a cool O. Henry short-story moment that year if I had sold our shower so I could get my wife a TV for Christmas. But I didn’t, so it wasn’t.

If my wife isn’t buying me an obscure gift that I didn’t know I wanted, she is creating a “theme” by giving me a number of related gifts that I didn’t know I wanted. A theme might be OK if I liked the theme, but I seldom do. Say my wife built a Christmas gift theme around beer. I would like that. But my wife doesn’t build themes around beer. She builds themes around — I don’t know — our living room. Which means that I will be forced to open 10 living room-related Christmas gifts while smiling and say, “Oh, just what I wanted” over and over again.

On Saturday, my wife started talking about one of my Christmas gifts.

“You’ll like it,” my wife said. “But when you open it, you’ll probably go (she then made a face that suggested puzzlement and disgust).”

“Ooh, can I open it now?” I said.

Then my wife tried to explain.

“It’s part of a theme,” she said.

So now I’m officially in the holiday spirit. I know now that not only will my Christmas gift from my wife both puzzle and disgust me, but also that the gift will be part of a theme, and I will get to open several Christmas gifts that puzzle and disgust me.

It’s a Christmas miracle is what it is.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.