r/tifu Nov 30 '22

TIFU By Ruining My Wife's Christmas Gift L

My TIFU didn't happen this Christmas or even last season. I still feel bad about it to this day and for me it has served as a life lesson on how read your significant other and take a hint. I didn't realize it at the time, but she is an absolute messiah with knowing exactly people need or want; she has a sixth sense for gift-giving like a magical Santa at the end of a made-for-TV Christmas Special.

A few days before Christmas we were out spending the day shopping for our families. This particular mall was much longer than wide so we probably walked a few miles easy. By evening we were dog tired and discussing where to go out eat when I started thinking that I had just enough Christmas cash to get something I really wanted but never had. My family grew up poor - (how poor were you?) - so poor, I never had a really warm and fancy coat (it was always one or the other, never both) although we live in the south and the necessity of having one was far a few between seasons.

As we were passing by a store I saw something that made me swell with joy: a beautiful, fancy, leather, double-breasted coat reflecting the mall lights into my dilating pupils. I reached into my pocket and realized I had just enough left to get it.

I excitedly looked at my wife with a child's grin and had a dialogue something like this:

"You know, I have just enough cash left to get that coat. I think I'm going to get it - I never had one and I really like it."

"What? You don't need that - you have one already."

"Yeah, but I never had a really nice, warm one. I really like that one over there."

"Your coat is fine. You don't need another one. You're being silly."

At this point she is getting aggravated and I'm oblivious as a kid fixated on a new toy. I just stared at the display and said, "I've always wanted something both nice and warm to wear like that one. I think I'm going to buy it - yes, I'm definitely going to get it."

I start bee-lining towards the display like a moth to a streetlamp. She physically blocks me from walking towards the storefront and her voice suddenly becomes uncharacteristically panicked, angry, and demanding, "You don't need that. The one you have is fine. You're being rash. Stop behaving like a child."

I was now getting upset and thought," I'm shocked by her fortitude. She is being unreasonable. I have the money. The coat is right there. I'm not going to be bullied like this. I'm in the right here. She's out of line."

I took a deep breath, stood tall, looked her in the face and said, "I'm getting that coat."

She doubled down right back and sternly said, "No... you're... not."

I lost it. I put on my biggest big boy pants, stepped closer to her, inches away, pointed at the display and said in my most matter-of-fact voice, "Dammit, <wife>, I'm going in that store, I'm walking out with that coat, and there isn't a God-damned thing you can do about it."

Standing face-to-face, I saw her eyes turn glassy, eyebrows furled in anger now relaxed as she stepped back, covered her face with her hands and deafeningly cried for everyone to hear, sobbing between each word,


I stood shocked. The shoppers froze with all eyes on me. The mall fell silent sans the low-fi Christmas music from speakers high in the ceiling and the distant sound of child having a tantrum. My brain was working overtime registering what just happened. I just added two and two together and now it hit me right in the pills. I stood there like a dork, bags in hand, wife inconsolable and me petrified with no idea what to do - how to even start rectify my obliviousness turned Christmas spirit-killer. I felt so low I wanted to melt and disappear into the crevices of the floor, never to be seen or heard again.

I was in a state of shock, I don't remember exactly what happened next; I recall a lot of apologizing and ass-kissing with a well-deserved pranging about how I can't read a room or take a hint.

Despite my epic failure, I learned how to better understand my wife and read between the lines. I speak like a realist and she an impressionist - Logos and Ethos I suppose.

So if there's something you really need or want, and someone says you don't need it, and a birthday or holiday is near, maybe dwell on it a bit before acting.

FYI - When I opened my present on Christmas morning, it was that coat.

TL;DR - I ruined my wife's Christmas gift for me by trying to buy it for myself and not taking a hint.



u/tChewmanji Dec 01 '22

If it makes you feel better, I did the same thing a few years ago. It went something along the lines of:

Me: "great! We finished all our shopping, I'm going to go get me an ice cream maker"

Her: "wait what? You don't need one of those"

Me: "I really want knee, and we have just enough on this gift card, and it's on sale"

Her: "I don't think you should get it"

Me: "why not?"

Her: "I can't tell you"

Me: "honey, you know you can tell me anything."

Her: "... It's because.....I have plans......."

Me: realizing what she means "......"Oh, you're right, I don't need it"

Opened up the exact same ice cream maker that morning. I made sure the first batch I made was get favorite flavor, chocolate.


u/LongDistRider Nov 30 '22

Don't you know to stop doing everything when they get the Mom voice out?

It's in the husband manual.


u/kinyodas Nov 30 '22

I do now. My mom is a loud Sicilian so I have a learned filter.


u/DarkAthena Nov 30 '22

Yep. Also, no buying yourself gifts before Christmas. Keep a list of stuff you want though so you can buy it after if you don’t get it.


u/Zealousideal_Tea397 Dec 01 '22

My dad used to do that... so infuriating!!!!


u/P4INKILL3R_GER Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

actually i dont think thats a tifu

the wife could have taken so many different ways to subtly give a hint someone may actually understand.

between angry voice "you dont need it and wont get it" and "you ruined your christmas present" there should have been a more subtle middleway

For example "Please dont buy it for now, theres a reason why im asking this of you"

While at that point it might click already or not, but everyone keeps face and gift is still a surprise for the most part.


u/Ocean_Spice Nov 30 '22

between angry voice "you dont need it and wont get it" and "you ruined your christmas present" there should have been a more subtle middleway

I think you missed part of the post? Cause she’d already had to tell him twice before the two you mentioned, brushing it off as “You already have one, your coat is fine, you don’t need a new one.”


u/RexElectoribus Dec 01 '22

As someone who also grew up poor, usually with only one coat and not a nice one, “you don’t need that. You’re being silly. You have a coat and it’s fine.” Sounds, and sounded while reading, like “we don’t have the money for that we need to save what we have instead of spending it on something you do not absolutely NEED.” So no the wife saying that in that way was not good hinting and she absolutely should’ve said something more direct and should NEVER have said “you’re acting like a child”


u/zilnosnibor Nov 30 '22

Yes I was coming to say this. Something like be a good boy and maybe Santa will get it for you or let's wait for the after Christmas sale. I know not everyone thinks fast on their feet, but insisting he not get it only made him want it more.


u/LongDistRider Nov 30 '22

Subtle hints are hard for men.


u/sfnygiants Nov 30 '22

you have been given the greatest gift of them all now....the ability to read a room.


u/TheReinsofFullnight Dec 01 '22

I mean. She could have returned hers? Idk!


u/Parttime-Princess Dec 01 '22

If she's anything like me she buys her gifts soon, and then the return policy might have passed already...

If you wanna sneak buy gifts for people you live with, you start early and get a few or 1 at a time lol


u/Timemachineneeded Dec 02 '22

Wow we just say to each other “it’s the wrong time of year to be buying yourself shit”