In my family Christmas gifts were always to be a surprise and you didn't just go tell someone exactly what you want and then expect to get exactly that. You might drop major hints and all that and then hope you got it, which was all good if you did. My wife is not a surprise person. She likes things planned in advance and doesn't care for being surprised or for surprising people.
Every year it's the same way. She is asking me what I want for Christmas and expecting to get a specific answer so she can just go out and get exactly that, absolutely no surprise, unless I ask for something that fails the practical test. I'm always dropping all kinds of hints, some of them blatantly obvious, and hoping she will pick up on them. I think she gets the hints, but she is the essence of practicality and will always get me the thing that I "need" the most. That usually translates into a new pair of shoes so an older pair that are really comfortable can be pitched because they're no longer presentable. Then she will point out things in a catalog that she likes, usually clothing items of a very practical nature, and it will go beyond a strong hint. I usually end up getting her a gift card for whatever store is carrying that item. That way she can go and pick out something she likes.
So here's what will happen this year, but first I must backtrack. Back in late 2001, right after we got married, she talked me into switching to an electric razor. "You spend so much money on those blades. Why not just buy something once and not have to buy new blades all the time?" So I got what was in the budget at the time, a fairly inexpensive Braun. It works fine, but I used to shave in the shower all the time and I can't with this one because it can only be used dry. So now this is the fifth Christmas since we've been married and each year I spend from October-December pointing out all of those nice wet/dry electrics that you can use in the shower. If we're in a store I will point it out when we walk by that section and say something like, "Look at that, you can use it in the shower. I miss shaving in the shower." She will say something like "Hmm, that's nice." If she has the ads from the Sunday paper, I will find one in there and point it out. The other day I even found one on the internet and left the browser window up on the computer so she would see it when she got on the computer. I have been as abvious as my upbringing will allow me to be, since we never just came out and said, "Get me this." But I looked in the closet and my brown shoes are starting to wear a bit. They're comfortable as heck right now, but they're showing signs of wear. Soon they will be relegated to "you can only wear these around the house" status. What can I expect under the tree this year? A brand new pair of brown leather shoes. What will she get from me? A gift card to whatever clothing store has something she likes. If I get her the item, she won't trust me that I got the best deal and she will probably take it back and swap it for something else anyway. Christmas is so predictable, which is so different for a guy who grew up with surprise being the order of the day. Maybe this year she will surprise me and do something unpredictable, or buy something somewhat less than practical. Maybe the Reds will win the pennant too. One can always dream.