Our household, of two, not counting the dog, celebrated a new Christmas tradition yesterday. Well, it'll be a tradition next year, because it worked so spectacularly this first year.
No more guesswork about what the other person might like. We went to a major American shopping mall, gave ourselves a spending limit of $150, and bought presents for ourselves. That is, I bought presents for myself and my wife bought presents for herself. Privately.
This was harder than it appears. You walk through the mall thinking, "Oh, she might like that pashmina shawl." Then you stop yourself and say, "Of course she probably wouldn't. Pashmina is passe, and anyway, I'm shopping for me. Yay."
The deal is, though, that you don't open your own presents. You hand them to your wife Christmas morning and she gets to see the kind of idiotic stuff she wouldn't deign to give you. Sweatshirts in amusing colors. History books by unamusing authors. Then you open the presents she bought for herself and you suffer an insight into her secret desires, ones you could never satisfy during a walk through a mall.
A font program for the Macintosh computer. Face creams, morning and evening. An orange juice squeezer. An ice cream cookbook. Even though it's really a freezebook, I should have thought of that one, but wouldn't have. That's the joy of this Christmas, not to mention the joy of not having to return to the mall.
Also, I loved the sudden grammaticality of saying, "I got me some good presents."