“Maybe we should just say this present is for you and Nate.  You two can share this one.”

There is a reason my wife’s first sentence does not include a question mark.  My wife was proposing not asking a question. 

Since when did I come to the point where I am sharing Christmas presents with my teenage son?  I just got another hint of what my wife truly thinks of me.  To her I am just another one of her children, her man child.

The Christmas present in question is an expensive video game system.  Mir and I both are grinding our teeth over the sensibility of spending money at a time when we have had to accept financial gifts from family members just to survive.  We should not get nice new things.  Maybe sharing a present, something that I also will enjoy — I play the video game system Nate has right now quite a bit — will make buying the new and expensive video game system more acceptable to those who see it and wonder.

Each year my company gives out a bonus to its employees the last day of work before Christmas.  The bonus is calculated based upon years of service.  I am a 24 year employee, so I get a very decent bonus.  We always buy our Christmas presents out of that bonus.  Each year I see that bonus and think about what a dent I can make in our debts, something I am usually able to do with part of it.  One year I actually was able to reduce our debt to zero with the help of that bonus.  That should tell you something about our actual debt.  We don’t have much debt.  The fact that we are fretting and fuming over spending money on an expensive gift is a statement of what our philosophy has been in the 21 years we have been married.  Anything new and expensive usually belongs to our kids.  Mir and I are accustomed to the used, including the bicycles that I ride.  Spending money does not come easy to us.

Christmas has been that time of year where we have conceded to spending some money on presents.  I have had to, acknowledging years ago that Mir was right when she told me that our kids are only kids once, that we should spend money on presents for them at Christmas time.  She also is that way about their birthdays.  The money comes out of my pocket slowly and painfully, but it comes out.

Of course, one of the reasons Mir’s proposal was hard for me to hear was that I am hoping there will be enough of that bonus left over to justify my spending money on a new television.  I have never had a new television.  I have been hanging out at electronics retailers, trying to get an idea of what needs to be left if I am going to be able to get a TV.  Mir’s proposal deflated my Christmas dream and sent it flying around the room. 

The Christmas dilemma will be solved.  Mir and I have agreed to get that present for Nate.  I probably won’t get that TV. 

This is a time for peace on earth, after all.

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