The gift that counts


A gift that counts demonstrates that you thought about the person.

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Guys – read husbands - have a penchant for putting foot in mouth. To cover blip ups. Instead of simply owning up, saying how sincerely sorry they are that they totally forgot about your birthday, or the dinner date you had both agreed on, and wearing a face to accompany the statement, they go all out to get themselves in hotter soup. Only, they imagine that they are escaping from trouble.

Take Alex for example. Our smarty-boots from last week, remember? His gift was thrust back to him with a note, ‘Return to Sender.’

He forgot her birthday, his daughter reminded him and typical of a man rushing to put out a fire, he instead fanned the embers. It was not the first time that he had forgotten, and it was not the first time either that he had rushed to a jeweler round the corner from his office.

The only problem was that Alex bought her the exact replica of a gold chain that he had bought her the year before. When their daughter had called him that afternoon about her school project, he had said,

“No problem, we will work on it tonight.”

“But you guys will be at dinner tonight. With mom.”

“Dinner?” Alex’s brain had tried to remember. Were they invited somewhere? An event?

“Dad, mom is all spruced up for birthday dinner date with you.” Annette had said, sounding incredulous, that her dad would forget about the special occasion. Alex felt cold, hot, and panicky simultaneously. Birthday! Gift! His wife took these things to heart. She always went out of her way to celebrate the big and small milestones and birthdays for each member of the family. She especially made it special when it came to appreciating him.

“Dad?” Annette had interrupted his thoughts, “did you forget?”

“No, no, no…I’ve just been busy.”

And that is how he found himself in the familiar shop explaining to the attendant that he needed a gift that his wife would love.


“What’ her name?” she had asked to which she had suggested, “Get her this chain with the initial of her first name.” It seemed a genius idea, just as it was the previous year, only he had blissfully forgot that he had rushed to the same shop and used the same lines and got the same suggestion and had given her the wrapped gift, albeit absentminded and not seen the look of disappointment in her expression. It is like the gift spoke to her and said, “look, he did not put thought to me, he just picked me as an obligatory annual thing to fulfil.”

In contrast, his wife had considered his gift, even though it was not his birthday and got him a tech package that included a set of modern mouse pad and a set of headsets after observing the struggle with his touch pad and audio during his online presentations.

A gift that counts demonstrates that you thought about the person. One of my best gifts is a music cassette from a college crush. It was a well thought out collection of classics from different genres and periods of music, comprised of hits by Air Supply, Beethoven, Mozart, Tabu Ley, Celine, Makeba and more. Eddu went all out and handed me a beautifully wrapped small box signed off, ‘To Karimi. From my heart.’ Then he ran off, literary. I majored in music, which might have given him the idea that I appreciated quality music. What really made this gift precious was the thought behind it.

Pocket money

Eddu put his heart, soul, and his pocket money in it. Considering that most of us were permanently broke and hungry, I cannot imagine how many meals he skipped to give me the collection. This gift from twenty odd years ago, now converted into a digital format remains my favourite playlist whether I am spring cleaning or on a road trip.

It is the thought behind a gift that makes it precious. A thoughtful gift speaks, however simple and inexpensive. That is why handwritten love notes are more treasured than a generic card from a shop. Mrs Alex demanded cash and went and bought herself a gift.

It is far from romantic, but after years of marriage, one must also learn to manage their expectations, otherwise they might spend precious hours sulking. Even with hiked fuel prices, taxation, and the general cost of living, choose to remain thoughtful towards your spouse. It costs nothing, but counts for everything.

Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.