Buying for the wife who has everything never an easy chore


Can you give me some help with a problem, dear readers?

My wife has a birthday coming up. She’s a genuine “firecracker,” born on the 4th of July. That makes her birthday easy to remember, but difficult to celebrate.

First, everyone is on holiday and, second, because of that, anywhere we might wish to go is crowded, expensive and hot.

She has more jewelry than any one woman can wear, more clothes than our closets can hold. What sort of gift can you give someone like that? This is a birthday, but not a “milestone,” so I’m not thinking too grandiose, but still coming up dry.

I made the mistake years ago (a few) when, to mark her 40th birthday, we splurged and spent a few days at one of America’s ritziest resorts, but one that’s in the neighborhood: the Cloister. Thanks to a kindly gentleman from right here in Pierce County who had worked there for many years, we got a snazzy room upgrade and enjoyed living the life of the “other half” for at least a few days.

It was great and, right then, we pledged we would start saving our money to be able to do it all again one day. It’s only been a couple of decades or so but we’re still saving to go back. We found out a good time can easily be found without breaking the bank.

It wasn’t that long ago, all of us in the family managed to sneakily arrange a surprise party for another of those “big” birthdays. A number of friends and all of the family were in on the surprise, including a son and grandson who flew in all the way from Arizona for the occasion. They walked in just after everyone had sat down and she thought all the surprises were over for the evening.

It was priceless.

I still revel in the memory of her delight. To say we pulled a good one on her would be an understatement.

But, here we are, with another year rolled by and ... what do I do?

When we first married my wife told me she didn’t like getting gift certificates. “Too impersonal,” she sniffed. Fortunately, that has changed. Now she loves them!

If it weren’t for gift certificates, our dining out would occur far fewer times. So would her clothes shopping. When time approaches for a meal, she reaches into her purse and starts thumbing through all the cards she and I together have received. “Here are our choices,” she’ll say with satisfaction and then she starts listing a variety of our favorite restaurants. Once in a while, I’ll name one we haven’t visited lately and she throws cold water on that idea, noting ... “Okay, we can go there but you’re gonna have to pay! No gift cards for that choice!”

To go pay for a meal when you have perfectly good gift cards in your wallet seems wasteful, so that doesn’t happen often.

I notice you can now give gift cards that are basically just like giving cash. They’re good anywhere. Want to go splurge at the corner market, just pull out a Visa® card already loaded with a set amount of cash someone has given you.

Speaking of that. What’s the matter with just giving cash?

I know. There’s practically none of the “thought that counts” involved when you simply pull cash from your wallet.

Speaking of the thought that counts, mine would be how thankful I am to have a wife who has kept giving and giving to me in countless ways while she seems to simply never mark the passage of another birthday. She’s young at heart, young in mind and still as beautiful as ever.

She’s my gift every year.

But what about her gift? All ideas welcomed.

• Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor & Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email:

Robert M. Williams, Jr. can be reached at