The Wreath

Perhaps I should tell you that I was young, very young. Barely 23? At any rate, I was young and image mattered a great deal, far too much. The very notion that we had so little money for Christmas, and that there would not be days of celebration was not at all in keeping with what I wanted, wished or imagined. A limit of $30 each was not how I imagined our first Christmas together.

Christmas Eve came, and we decided to open our presents. I cannot recall what I bought for Mr. Spit, but he gave me this parcel, wrapped with care, and he was so happy. Love was shinning out of his eyes, he was pleased.

All good stories have a bit of drama. This one too.

It seems to me, that marital gift buying is 2 parts knowing your partner, 2 parts having a wish list, and 1.75 parts sheer dumb luck. We have found that you even the score with the wish list.

And while I'm confessing, I should tell you that Mr. Spit found my love of Christmas bewildering. Christmas is an entire season for me, with boxes of decorations, and 2 trees. A wreath for every door. Every surface that will stand still has garland. Ornaments from my childhood.

For the record, Christmas at Mr. Spit's meant going out to the garage, hauling the tree in, pulling off the sheet that covered it, standing it up, fluffing up the homemade popcorn chains, and shoving the presents under it. On Boxing Day, you covered the tree back up, and took it back out to the garage. Not what you might call a big deal.

We had, you might say, slightly different expectations and slightly divergent experiences on this whole Christmas thing. Which came crashing together that night.

My gift was before the wish list.

I opened my present. It was, well, I took a picture for you.

Yeah. Not what I was expecting either. I guess my face showed it. That look of love and excitement on his face? Oh yeah, it was gone.

And we could all argue, what woman wouldn't be overcome with a crocheted wreath? With crocheted roses! And hangy bits of ribbon!

It probably didn't help when my mum came asked who on earth gave us that ugly wreath. The tacky, tasteless wreath I hung over my couch! Mr. Spit came entered the living room in time to hear me commenting that it was the worst gift I'd ever received.

We had words over the wreath: hard words, mad words, difficult words, sad words, and finally, understanding words.

It turns out, Mr. Spit bought the wreath because he knew how much I loved Christmas. He wanted to give me a decoration, because he knew I liked decorating. A wreath didn't seem to be such a stretch for a woman who already had 5. He bought the gift with me in mind, and he bought it with love, negotiating a lower price from the lady who made it. He didn't buy the first thing he saw, he looked and he thought. He bought it with love and care and delight, thinking he was going to make his brand-new bride so happy.

My mum and I were sitting on the couch the other night, chatting after dinner. She looked at the wreath, hung in it's traditional place behind the Christmas tree, and she smiled and said "It's still ugly."

"Oh, I don't know", I replied. "Almost 10 years later it kind of grows on you."

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.