Those days, if they ever existed, have since passed. Somewhere came the disastrous era of buying coffee makers (to buy one coffee maker and have it be a dud as a Christmas present, is perhaps excusable, but I have a distinct recollection of buying her several coffee makers over a series of years. It was kind of a theme with me.)
Moreover, she takes care of the gift-buying in our household, so I just forget how to do it. True, if she allowed me to buy the presents for the family, she might be left stuck for an explanation, why our daughters got chrome-plated potato peelers or what possessed me to get her eighty year-old mother a bocce-ball set, but it's through these little trials and errors one hones one's technique as a gift-giver.
I am off now to get Nancy a gift, but I'm torn between the potato peeler and the bocce-ball set.
Maybe a really good coffee maker?