Every Christmas and birthday, I ask the same question, “What do I buy Eric?!” He is notoriously difficult to shop for (though he profusely denies these allegations). Simply put, he does not want or need much at this point in his life. “Honey, what do you want for Christmas?” He responds, “Can you give me a can of sleep?” or “Time, I need some time for Christmas.”
Lest you think it is all me, I can assure you my mom, aunt, and sister-in-law struggle to shop for him as well. And, by the time I give them some gift ideas, I am left with nothing! He should know, no matter what he opens on special occasions, I put a lot of time and thought into each gift! Did you hear that, Eric?! ~smile~
“What does Eric want for Christmas this year?” is the question I expect and dread from my family every November. To make matters a bit more difficult, Eric will not write a wish list. When Eric writes a Christmas wish list, he feels like he is demanding of others, “Buy this thing for me!” He feels loved when someone takes the time and effort to find him a gift that really fits who he is and his personality (or if it’s something which the other person believes he will like anyway).
A few birthdays ago, Eric uttered a rare phrase I have come to love: “There is something I want for my birthday.” Of course, I was all ears; but… this is Eric… and nothing can be too easy, right?
“I will give you a clue.”
This approach was new, but I was desperate, so I accepted the clue. “Mars, the clue is Mars.” That was the lone clue, and it was up to me to figure out what he wanted. Here we go!
I asked friends. I scoured the internet. “What does Mars have to do with anything?!?!?!” So, I started thinking about what Eric likes. He likes strategy games. He likes books. He likes C. S. Lewis. Hmmm, he likes C. S. Lewis. With just a dab of research, I linked Mars to Lewis’s book, Prince Caspian. The Prince Caspian movie had recently come out on DVD, so I had my gift! And, even if I was wrong, I assumed he would love to own the movie anyway.
When he opened it and I found out I was correct, it gave me such a high! Having never been super great at riddles, I enjoyed my success quite a bit. That is, until a few years later when Eric decided to give me another clue – this time for a Christmas present. Mars was relatively easy, but this next riddle took me quite a bit of time to crack.
Christmas 2014 – Epic, Calm, Egyptian god
The Christmas before last, Eric bestowed upon me these three clues for one item. When I was just before pulling my hair out, he had mercy on me and said, “The item is around $20.” That narrowed it down considerably! Again, I thought about what Eric likes. He likes games, books, C. S. Lewis, Transformers, superheroes, psychology, personality type, ahhhhhh! “What could it be?!”
After weeks of trying to crack this code, I thought about Eric’s favorite iPad games. There was that one game he played a lot. What was that? Oh yeah, it was called Infinity Blade! As I researched Infinity Blade, I discovered that Epic Games is the company which created it! Here we go! So, then I researched some of the characters and realized they were named after Egyptian gods. “Okay, it obviously has something to do with Infinity Blade but what does calm have to do with it?”
That is when it hit me! Several months before, Eric told me about a T-shirt he wanted that said, “Keep Calm and Parry On.” In an excited fury, I looked it up. To my delight, the shirt was just over $20! The case was solved! And again, I was right!
Christmas 2015 – Excalibur, Bluffing, Ohm
This past Christmas, Eric did not offer me any extra clues no matter how much I insisted. Finally, I said, “I am going to buy you a teddy bear and name him Excalibur Bluffing Ohm! (and I did… lol)
I looked up poker games. I researched swords. I bought Eric The Sword and the Stone movie just because it seemed to fit the occasion. ~smile~ Finally, it started coming together. He likes strategy games. Ohm refers to electrical resistance. You bluff in poker, but you can also bluff in other games. Excalibur was King Arthur’s mythical sword.
To my absolute glee, I found Avalon – a bluffing card game made by a company called The Resistance featuring medieval characters such as King Arthur and Merlin. Though all clues pointed to this game, I was still uneasy about it. However, I figured, “Even if this is not the one, he is bound to like it! It is a strategy game!”
I was thrilled to reach my third “win,” and Eric has enjoyed playing Avalon with his Wednesday night church gaming group. I am looking forward to this year’s clue!
Step by Step
Though frustrating at times, this tradition has become one of our favorite parts of Christmas. If you and your honey want to make Christmas morning a bit more interesting, consider trying your hand at the Christmas riddle this year. These are the steps we follow:
- Step One – Eric decides which gift he wants. (often we limit it to $25 or less so that not too much is spent on a wrong guess… if that ever happens ~wink~)
- Step Two – He researches the item so he can put together clues for me.
- Step Three – He offers me the clues and refuses to give me extra help no matter how hard I beg for it!
- Step Four – I go to work researching and asking friends for ideas.
- Step Five – I become extremely frustrated! ~smile~
- Step Six – I pick the gift I think is the one and then hope for the best.
- Step Seven – I write a one-page rationale for why I choose the gift (i.e., why I think this gift is the one).
- Step Eight – Eric opens his gift, reads my rationale, and then tells me if I was correct!
So far, I am 3–0!!! Believe me; talent is not how I conquered these riddles! It took hours and hours of work – research, questioning friends, and even prayer!
The time and effort I put into figuring out his riddles means as much, if not more, to him than the gift itself. He opens the gift, smiles, reads my reasons for choosing it, and then tells me if I am right or wrong. Gift-guessing and riddle busting are so much fun!!!
Giving Christmas clues is one more way to make the holidays fun… and even a little challenging. Consider trying it this year. You might just love it!
What do you want your sweetie to buy you for Christmas this year?