NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
On this Black Friday weekend, now that I have the wisdom of 65 Thanksgivings under my belt, I know for a fact that managing the holidays ahead is all about planning.
My wife Kathy makes lists and carefully scrutinizes every detail. She does most of her shopping before Thanksgiving, with all last-minute purchases being made on Black Friday, a month before Christmas.
Me, my plan is always to go shopping on Christmas Eve. But I don’t really shop; I’m a believer in shiny object syndrome, and in the past, if something caught my eye, I would just buy it, and I would buy it fast.
WHY THIS ‘FOX & FRIENDS’ CO-HOST IS GRATEFUL HIS WIFE WENT TO GET NEW SUNGLASSES
Remembering how excited my mom was when my dad bought her a revolutionary new microwave, I was looking for that kind of emotion when, for our first wedding Christmas, I proudly bought the newest microwave. Amana Radar Range waves.
Kathy was curious about what was in the big box under the tree until Christmas morning. I expected a big reaction, but all I got was “Oh. A popcorn machine.” And that was all she said.
When Kathy’s birthday came a few months later, I bluntly asked what she wanted. She remained vague until I mentioned that she was baffled by her Christmas microwave.
“When I opened the box,” she said, “The message that was sent to me was, Merry Christmas, here’s a microwave, now get me something to eat – quick, like a pound of bacon.” I lowered my head, sorry for disappointing my new wife, while curiously craving a slice of bacon.
So far the only caveat I have about buying Kathy a present is that it can’t have an electrical outlet because the last thing she said about it was summer: “Unless Hermès opens a section of small household appliances, forget it!” She was joking…I think.
Do you remember that book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”? That’s the year I realized I was from Best Buy, Kathy was from Bloomingdale’s.
So I turned to clothes. But women’s sizes are confusing, and not wanting to spoil the surprise by asking her for a size, I would ask for help when I got to the store.
One Christmas Eve, I was in a very nice store – OK, the store closest to the parking lot – and I told the salesman that I liked a particular mid-calf coat. “How tall is your wife?” She asked, to which I honestly replied, “No idea. But she’s about your height!” She then assumed she was Kathy’s size and rooted for the merchandise. “That should suit him perfectly!” I paid and was out of the store in six minutes.
STEVE DOOCY: I PRAYED A DESPERATE PRAYER TO GOD AND THIS SHOCKING THING HAPPENED THEN
The next morning when Kathy opened the box, “Fannnnnncy!” she said, spotting the designer’s label. It was better than I imagined! Then she took the coat out of the box – and seemed surprised at how much coat there was. It was eight sizes too big. To make a point, Kathy had two of the kids standing next to her, and she wrapped the coat around all three of them, with room to spare. Feelings hurt, Kathy avoided eye contact and rarely spoke to me directly, except through the children, until Valentine’s Day. “Tell your father that Cupid is dead.”
Notice to Buyers: When in doubt about a person’s size, always buy small.
Our next door neighbor, Mike, and I had the same giving trajectory early in his marriage. He too loved practical gifts and had given his wife, Judy, a wide range of Rubbermaid or Tupperware food storage containers and bins. His wife still used them, but it’s not like she was bragging to her friends, “When you zip up the top, you don’t have to burp in the air!”
I AM A ‘FOX & FRIENDS’ ANCHOR BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET THE HILARIOUS THING MY DAD DID IN THE GROCERY STORE
Everything changed when Mike formulated a game plan weeks earlier and found himself in a jewelry store on the upper level of our local mall. Even though it was Christmas, he was in and out in less than fifteen minutes. When Judy opened the little jewelry box, she paused for a moment and blurted out, “I love it! I love you!” To mark their twentieth anniversary, he had given her a very expensive and dazzling diamond and sapphire ring.
I thought I would never hear the end of Kathy. “I wonder what Mike would buy me for my birthday?” She taunted me: “Oh, I know, jewelry!”
For me and the other husbands in our neighborhood, it was not easy to live next to the husband of the year. Judy was over the moon and proudly wore her ring at all times, reminding everyone how caring, kind and wonderful her husband was.
STEVE DOOCY’S LASAGNA GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH RECIPE: “THE BEST SANDWICH EVER”
A year later, as Christmas approached, the whole neighborhood was curious as to how Mike would top the latest amazing gift. On Christmas morning, he presented Judy with a small bag from the same jewelry store as the year before. Judy couldn’t believe her good luck – who said lightning couldn’t strike twice? Inside, another black velvet box, like the previous year. Opening it quickly, she met her eyes with a gorgeous ring that took her breath away.
Positively dazzling and very expensive, just like the one from the previous year. In fact, it was exactly like the number of diamonds and sapphires he had given her a year earlier.
Thinking it was a joke – that he had wrapped up last year’s ring and re-offered it – Judy looked down at her hand, and there was the same ring from last year. Suddenly she had two.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE AVIS NEWSLETTER
Judy shook her head in disbelief. The next day, Mike had to do what I had done many times before: he returned the gift to the store, explaining to the manager, “It looked familiar to me.”
After being married for over 36 years, my Christmas present plan is now incredibly simple, as Kathy buys presents for all the children (of both of us) – I have to buy presents for one person: Kathy. In November, our youngest daughter, Sally, will start asking me what I think her mother wants.
She will also review what is out there and jot down insights from what Kathy says in their daily phone conversations. Sally is very organized, like Kathy, which is why about ten years ago I deputized for Sally to order all of Kathy’s gifts. She ships them to our house and then discreetly goes to her room, where she packs them all up.
Then, on Christmas morning, I simply smile and nod as Kathy happily opens the presents, which are technically from me – although she opens them, it’s often the first time I’ve seen them.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
I love Christmas!
Good shopping. If you’re lucky, you also have a Sally, it’s a gift!
Adapted from the Walmart exclusive edition of Steve & Kathy Doocy’s new book, “The Simply Happy Cookbook”. To get your copy click here. Used with permission from William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. All rights reserved.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STEVE DOOCY