During the holiday season of 2008, a YouTube video surfaced entitled Beware of the Doghouse. The clip featured a cute, young husband proudly giving his bride a gaily wrapped dual-bag vacuum, a gift that despite, as he would repeatedly remind folks later, its awesome dual bag, quickly saw him banished to the Gift Doghouse.
In the Gift Doghouse, he joined other clueless husbands and boyfriends and significant others, all of whom had had the nerve to tuck less-than-romantic gifts for their better half—from a thigh master to extra ram memory to a moustache waxer—under the ole tree throughout the centuries.
Seven years later, last week in fact, this YouTube video surfaced again, as things are wont to do on the Internet, and I saw it for the first time. My initial reaction was: Wow! Did they have a Gift Doghouse back in the day, because I know for a fact my father gave my mother a vacuum for Christmas at least once, maybe, more than once? (I also have vague memory of a similar gift surfacing in my early married days in the 1980s but we won’t go there.)
Now my father eventually took the cynic’s way of avoiding future Gift Doghouse stays by, well, simply no longer giving presents . . . to anyone, figuring such gestures were best left in the hands of someone, like my mom, who may occasionally give a baffling gift but always has the good sense to pair it with something universally beloved, like chocolate or cash or airplane tickets or a gift card or something off one’s list.
But as the countdown to Christmas morning nears, I couldn’t help wondering if the Gift Doghouse was still a thing—or whether most of you had figured out a way to, as Jerry Maguire would say, let your other half help you, help them.
So come on. Spill the beans. Has your sweetheart ever given you a gift that warranted a one-way trip to the Doghouse? Or are you a gift-hinting savant who knows how to sprinkle clues so even the most hapless gift-giver ends up looking all knowing?
Please share—you may just save one of your fellow readers a Doghouse encounter of their own this year.
— Jeanne Devlin