Thursday, December 19, 2013

For Posterity || The Gift of The Magi

Just before Christmas five years ago I saw this commercial and thought it was the sweetest, most loving thing in the history of things. I sobbed literally every time it came on TV. 

In retrospect, I was maybe PMSing.

My husband picked up on my love for this gesture and got it in his head to recreate it.  The problem was, we were super broke.

We were in the middle of a cross-country move and had stopped to visit my sister for the holidays. A few days before Christmas I had a horrible nightmare, in which my husband blew all our savings on an ugly necklace for me.  It was one of those dreams that make you so relieved to wake up and find that none of it was real.

But it was real, guys. In that one, unconscious moment I was super psychic.  Although I had no idea what he had done, no hint or clue or suspicion, somehow I saw it. And when Christmas Eve came around and not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, my husband clumsily attempted to put that necklace on me.

1. I wasn't asleep yet.
2. Our savings was gone.
3. Upon closer inspection it appeared that the "diamonds" featured in the necklace were really more like pieces of glitter. Like, maybe the diamond cutter swept his workshop floor and sent the slivers to Kay Jeweler and they sprinkled them into this crappy necklace and stuck a $700 price tag on it.
4. He had held onto it for weeks, so he already had it when I had my dream (which I told him about) and basically knew that he had made a terrible error, but had to go with it because -NO RETURNS-.
5. That's right.  No returns.

So there I was, faced with my sweet husband, who had gone against his practical nature and good judgement to make me happy but had so misjudged what that entailed.  I couldn't be angry because there was nothing we could do at that point.
The whole thing reminded me a bit of The Gift of the Maji, wherein the wife sells her beloved hair to buy her husband a chain for his watch and the husband sells his beloved watch to buy his wife a comb for her hair. In the end, the O Henry closes with this:

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

And then the wife was like, "Well I love you but we're broke and I'm fu%king bald, so Merry Christmas, let's never do this again."

And that's basically how it went for us.