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The Gift of Gifting

My wife’s birthday is coming up and more than anything I just want to make her genuinely happy. Unfortunately, I’m not a great gift-giver. Oh sure, I’ve gotten lucky and hit the nail on the head a few times, and my sweet better half has always said she loves everything she gets, but…I have lost that gift giving mojo.

I’m sure I’m an easy guy to buy for; I’m materialistic and into stuff. It doesn’t matter what sometimes, just stuff. I’m a guy, give me power tools or anything else that makes noise, wreaks havoc and spells potential hours in an emergency room.

But as a giver of gifts, I struggle. The problem is, my wife isn’t materialistic. I try not to hold that against her, but it does make birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries a bit of a struggle. Why she can’t just join the rest of the free world and want stuff is beyond me. Luckily, she’s girly and likes girly things, you know, pink, unicorns, etc.

We’re pretty solid celebrators of birthdays. No one in my family is an attention-hog so we don’t throw big elaborate parties but the house does get decorated on everyone’s birthday, songs are sung, restaurants are visited and cake is consumed. Not to mention presents – there are always presents. So yeah, birthdays are a big deal.

I think the importance of birthdays stems from my upbringing. We didn’t always have a lot of money but birthdays were never forgotten or even minimized, my mom made sure of that. Some of those birthday presents still stand out in my mind. One of the best was also one of the smallest. When I was in elementary school we didn’t have X-Box, PS4, any of this modern stuff. What we had fit in our hand, consisted of LEDs, plastic and different colored buttons and would make a modern kid laugh. However, Mattel Football was hot when I was a kid. Well, one morning in December of 1978 I got to open a birthday present early and boom, there it was —Mattel Electronics Football 2 (cue the angels singing at this point.) I took that bad boy to school with me and, well, let’s just say little Rodney was a popular boy that day at J.L. Greer Elementary.

Seeing as how my birthday falls so close to Christmas the birthday gifts tended to get overshadowed by the Christmas stuff. But the year 1982 brought a change to all that as I got to actually go and pick out my own BMX bike for my birthday, and boy, did I. What I got was a chrome Huffy Pro Thunder with checkered pads and plastic racing seat. I put a number plate on that bad boy and I was off to the races — literally. I rode that single-speed bike one summer on repeated trips from Melissa to Princeton and it stayed with me until I got my driver’s license. Actually, I wish I still had that bike now.

These are the memories I want to give to those I gift. However, those are the hardest things to gift —memories that last a lifetime. I’ll try again, as I do every year. Occasionally I strike gold, occasionally I just pull up a little fool’s gold, but the celebrations continue nonetheless.

Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune, Van Alstyne Leader and Prosper Press. He can be contacted at, or