Another guest post from Mrs. Full-Time Dad… who somehow always manages to get more clicks than any of my posts.
I married a Scrooge. He knows it and stopped trying to hide it a while ago.
I asked Ben for gift ideas for Mack’s teachers. My thought: “we finally found a center with excellent teachers where Mack is happy and has learned new things daily. His teachers work hard to create this environment and I want to recognize all they do.” Ben’s thought: “I love Macklin and he’s the best in the world. The fact that I share him with them for several hours each day is a gift in itself. I don’t need to get them anything for Christmas. They should thank me!”
I appreciate his love of Macklin and belief that anyone who spends time with him is lucky to do so. However, his teachers spend long days in a room with 15 potty-training, teething toddlers. At some point, Ben will have to come to terms with the idea that not everyone finds Mack as delightful as we do every minute of the day. Also, because he’s two and it’s not possible to not have “a toddler moment”.
I asked Ben what his favorite cookie is when planning my holiday baking. His response: chocolate chip. Although delicious, I make them several times a year. I currently have dough ready to go in the freezer from last time I made a double batch. Nothing wrong with a classic, but when given your chance to request something with holiday spirit and spices he declines the opportunity.
Ben also doesn’t wrap gifts. This doesn’t faze me much as my own dad was known to hand you an item wrapped in the nearest throw blanket and say “Merry Christmas!” Ben will just remove the shipping tag from wherever it came from and the joy of unpacking your internet-ordered gift is all yours.
When it comes to Christmas, Ben wasn’t always a Scrooge. His family members told me a story of when Ben was little and he dressed up as Santa, complete with cotton ball beard. He went around the house collecting items that belonged to his family members and “delivered” them as Santa. I’ve seen photos of him in an elf costume helping a neighborhood Santa deliver gifts. The cuteness of this photo would make anyone’s heart grow three sizes. I realize in these adorable stories, Ben got into the holiday spirit completely for free. I also realized he may not be a complete Scrooge, but just someone who’s frugality monopolizes his train of thought.
We planned a pre-holiday date night last night, and we ended up at Red Lobster (where he had a gift card). The highlight of his meal was finding instructions for a survey on his receipt where he has a 1 in 150 chance of winning another gift card to Red Lobster. He doesn’t even like seafood. And he doesn’t like surveys, but he does love free gift cards. In the rare chance that you have made Mr. Full-Time Dad’s exclusive gift list this year, odds are good he will be getting you something with his saved credit card points. If you’d like a gift card to a chain restaurant, then sure, he’s your guy. Want literally anything else? Get on my list.
His lack of holiday spirit (aka frugality) seeps into all holidays. This year for my birthday he gave me a card with not only a thoughtful note, but also a coupon for 40% off one item at Hallmark. I did use the coupon, but that’s not the point.
However, when it really matters, Mr. Full-Time Dad is your guy. He will brag about things that don’t matter, but he will never tell you how willing he is to get out of bed in the middle of the night if a family member needed something. Or spend the night at a friend’s house who is having a hard time. He checks on the neighbors and doesn’t hesitate to go into Mack’s room at night if his brown bear has gone missing in his tangle of blankets and stuffed animals. He makes sure the snow blower is running in September and that I’ve never had to get up early and use by myself. He juggles freelance clients, the majority of the housework and almost all of Mack’s appointments. Although his frugality sometimes hinders his holiday spirit, he has never not paid his credit card in full, never bounced a check and we’ve never fought about money.
For this and many other things I am grateful. I will continue to make soft ginger cookies and snicker doodles, wrap all of the gifts in coordinating paper and send out hundreds of holiday cards. I will be the Buddy the Elf to his Scrooge, and be festive enough for both of us.