Every year, my mother-in-law picks out a day planner from the catalogs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Then she tells my husband which one she's selected so he can buy it as part of his Christmas gift to her.
They've always done it this way in The Partner's family. There are very few surprises under the Christmas tree as each member tells the others exactly what he or she wants, sometimes right down to the SKU. They're also big believers in tradition. My mother-in-law has been receiving her day planner for almost fifteen years. His father has unwrapped a Tour de France DVD and calendar for 7 years, except for last Christmas, when he informed us in advance that he was boycotting the DVD on account of the American doping fiasco.
Personally, I find variety makes for a more spicy existence. But I've learned to accept his family's way of doing things and even to embrace it. Until this year.
At our last visit to his parents' house, The Partner found a bag on the nightstand next to the guest bed in which we sleep. Inside that bag was a day planner. Not only had his mother made this year's gift selection, but she'd actually gone ahead and purchased it for him.
I was incredulous. "She bought it herself? And gave it to you to give back to her at Christmas?"
"Yeah." The Partner's eyes and mouth were set to sheepish. "I tried to give her money for it but she wouldn't take it."
"Are you kidding me?"
And I thought my family was weird.