Romantic. Isn’t it?

The minute Halloween ended, the stores had their Christmas decorations up. Yikes! So now I’m thinking Christmas gifts. And romance. Because, uh, romance writer.

Which got me thinking me of my first Christmas with my husband (a.k.a. The Engineer), back in our dating days. He bought me aftermarket cruise control for my car.

Seriously.

picture of cruise control

Right up there with vacuum cleaners you say?

Well, maybe. Would I have swooned for some jewelry? Oh yeah. But romance is about more than cards and flowers and gems. You can have all that and still end up with a dud instead of a stud. Flowers and jewels are easy outs. Pick one and I’ll probably like it.

Venice jewelry store display

No, the real challenge in my mind—and the real definition of romantic—is knowing your partner well enough to get a gift he or she will truly enjoy. It shows you’ve been listening and have given a lot of thought to what would please.

In that respect, in spite of what his roommate thought, The Engineer’s gift was wildly romantic. We had been driving two hours each way to another city every few weeks for family visits. Without cruise control, I was constantly battling my lead foot and my (then) sporty five-speed to stay within a reasonable speed limit. How much nicer life would have been if I had a newer car with cruise so I could relax. I definitely didn’t need any more speeding tickets!

Well, the newer car was out. We were poor college students, after all. But the cruise control… Who knew you could put something like that on after market? The Engineer, of course! And he installed it too. See? Smart, handsome, and handy with a tool. How could a girl go wrong? 😀

And every once in a while, he gets totally impractical and buys me something pretty that I don’t need. Like jewelry. Which makes it all the more special, because he also understands that sometimes I just want something that sparkles.

What’s the most romantic (or unromantic) gift you’ve ever received?

About Gwen Hernandez

Author of SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES & the Men of Steele romantic suspense series. Manufacturing engineer turned writer. Scrivener instructor, runner, reader, explorer, Kung Fu sifu, AF spouse, mom, vegan. gwenhernandez.com

Posted on November 4, 2014, in Gwen Hernandez and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I have always read myself to sleep every night since I was little. My husband likes a dark room to go to sleep in. He has put up with me and my light for 49 years now. A few years back I complained that with the side table lamp I could only lay in one position to read.

    A few months later was Christmas. One gift that he gave me was a lamp that hooks to the headboard. He remembered my wish for a different lamp. It was so very romantic because with his dislike of the light on, he made sure I had something that would make it more comfortable for me to read in bed.

  2. Gwen, love your story. Reminds me of when I WANTED a steam cleaner for Christmas. Hubby surprised me with a new stereo and speakers in my car. I was SO disappointed. I totally wanted that steam cleaner. Had to pretend I loved the surprise. Not sure I fooled him.

  3. When my husband and I were dating, I was on-call one week a month 24/7 for Disaster Services. I couldn’t afford a cell phone (back then most people couldn’t) or a pager. So that meant if he wanted to have a date with me the weeks I was on-call, he’d have to hang out with me at my place. Seriously, I was so worried about not being home when a disaster call came in, I wouldn’t even go for a walk after 5pm and it was summer.

    He really wanted to take me to a movie or a concert or even to dinner. So he surprised me the night before my next on-call week started with a pager of my own. He even footed the bill because I was a poor college student.

    Most wouldn’t call that romantic, but it really was. He wanted me to enjoy my summer. It’s been 18 years and we’re still getting each other uniquely romantic gifts!

  4. Gwen, love the post and all these wonderful, romantic stories shared in the comments. Every spring my husband plants Zinnia seeds in containers on our enclosed porch, then when it’s warm enough he transplants the seedlings to a garden in the backyard. All summer, I have a cutting garden and colorful bouquets of flowers in vases throughout the house.

  5. For some reason, I have really cold hands. And the more I type, the colder they get. So a few years ago my DH bought me cashmere knitted hand warmers (like gloves but with the fingers half-way cut off). I absolutely love them because they are so useful and because he was so sweet to notice. 🙂

    • Aww, that is sweet, Sharon! I was literally thinking just seconds ago that it’s time to get out my fingerless gloves. Can’t write in winter without them. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh, I just LOVE all these stories! And I love how yours turned out, Gwen. But the second I first read ‘after market cruise control’ I laughed in understanding.

    You see, the birthday I was SO sure I’d get the engagement ring is when I got the very first digital camera–just released to an amazed public.

    Unlike Lena, I didn’t bother to hide my stunned disappointment and the more he tried to get me to stop crying by showing me the miracle of what ELSE it could do, the harder I cried. I didn’t tell him it was because I expected a ring (until years later) simply that it was a present he obviously bought for himself and did he know me AT ALL?

    The poor guy has still not lived that down (and admits he bought the camera more for him) but I got the ring out of the blue 6 months later. And ever since the ‘birthday debacle’ he has DAILY figured out some way to surprise, amaze and spoil me. To the point that on Valentine’s and our anniversary we only exchange cards because he’s proven his romantic self 363 days of the year; I don’t need ANY effort those two.

    FUN blog!

  7. My hubs always buys me sweats, cuz, hey, I’m that kind of girl, but after 20 years that gets a little boring. But a couple of years ago, he put a gorgeous solitaire ring inside the box containing the sweats along with a note that said…This is just a small way to show how much I love you. I know right? Guess that’s why we’ve been married so long.

  8. The first year we were first married he bought me a pair of snow boots. Those Utah winters are killers. 30 some years later I got a beautiful set of heart earrings. I never take them off. Just before he died he got me a beautiful little maltese/shih tzu puppy so I would always be warm in bed & have someone to talk to.

  9. Love all these stories!

    On my 26th birthday I thought my then-boyfriend was going to propose… but instead he replaced my broken car stereo. Which was sweet and something I very much wanted and needed and couldn’t afford for myself. That night I admitted I thought he might propose, and he said he’d wanted to but he had no clue what I wanted for a ring and had been overwhelmed when he went ring shopping–so he bought the stereo, because he knew exactly what I wanted on that end.

    So the next day we went ring shopping–just looking, so he’d know my size and likes, he still wanted to surprise me. Thus armed with my preferences, he picked out a ring and a few weeks later he proposed. I knew it was coming, but he still managed to surprise me. So I got the car stereo and we got engaged. Most expensive birthday ever. 🙂

  10. Oh, this is all so sweet! Love this! I was going to tell about the time someone special gave me Dr. Pepper bubble gum…but I think I’ll go with something about my husband- the real love of my life – instead. When my husband and I were first dating, I came home from the office one day and found that my 3 large flower gardens that had been emptied for the winter were replanted with gorgeous spring cutting flowers.

  11. Okay, I think this guy might just win for most romantic gift ever. This is how I want my next military move to go. 😉 LOVE this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EaraBRAwIQ#action=share

  12. Loved this Gwen. He’s definitely a keeper. Sorry to be late to the party.

    XO

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