It’s the Thought that Counts

Christmas is around the corner, and I’m reminded of the first Christmas gift I ever gave NaijaWife.

I remember handing the gift to her confidently, relieved that I didn’t have to worry about whether she’d like it, because I already know she would. But when she took it in her hands and a look of disappointment passed over her eyes, I knew I’d made a mistake.

I had purchased the right item. I was sure of it. So what was the problem this time? What caused that look of disappointment? Had she changed her mind about what she wanted? Was there something special I was supposed to say as I handed it to her? Something romantic and flowery like: “I present to you o fairest of the fair, a token of my deepest affection this hallowed Christ Mass.”

Or worse…had I actually missed Christmas?

I didn’t have to wait long before she told me. (NaijaWife can’t keep anything bottled inside).

I can’t believe you wrapped this in newspaper

Ok. Looking back...maybe that wasn't a good idea
Ok. Looking back…maybe that wasn’t a good idea

There it was. My crime was not the gift. It was the presentation.

She launched into a speech about how the presentation counts almost as much as the gift and even though my eyes glazed over as she spoke, I had to eventually admit that perhaps it wasn’t the best wrapping option.  But back then I really didn’t see the point in fussing about wrapping paper. After all, won’t she still take it off? But I kept my thoughts to myself as she reached behind her and grabbed the stack of gifts she had for me.

See wrapping.

The kind of wrapping that looked like it wasn’t meant to ever be opened but should be placed in a display case instead, as a monument to an eternity of gift giving.  On the top of her glittering stack were taped 3 cards.

She just had to show off...didn't she
She just had to show off…didn’t she?



I’d forgotten to get her a card. I panicked for a quick second, then shrugged it off. Honestly, what would a card have done? I could tell her the same message by word of mouth right?

But sure enough, just as soon as I thought it, she looked around and asked “You didn’t get me a card?” as she shifted my newspaper gift from hand to hand.

I contemplated launching into a speech about how Christmas is about Christ, not gifts. And how whether the gift was nicely wrapped or not was not the issue, all that mattered was the gift of God’s love.

But the look she gave me cut that thought out fast.

No card. And a badly wrapped gift. I was 0-2 at this point. So I simply crossed my fingers in the hopes that she’d bear no grudge once she actually unwrapped the gift to find what she wanted underneath. Smiling to myself, I could picture her jumping into my arms with gratitude and tears in her eyes, “Thank you! Thank you! It’s just what I’ve always wanted! You’re the best boyfriend ever!” I even started to smile to myself as I imagined just how “grateful” she would be…

But once again, I was wrong.

Oh.” She said as she finally tore off the newspaper. She had on that cool, cool smile of hers but she couldn’t hide the disappointed tone in her voice when she said “You got me what I wanted….thanks.”

Then she looked around again.

What else did you get me?”

I was supposed to get something else?

I was supposed to get her another gift?!! Wasn’t the gift she wanted enough?

No.” She explained. Because I already knew about that one, there was no surprise left, so you should have gotten me another one that I didn’t know about.

Well that was the first gift giving and since then, buying a gift for NaijaWife has been one lesson after another.  After the initial badly wrapped gifts, came the gifts that lacked “originality”, the gifts that I’d “forgotten I’d already given her the year before”, followed by the gifts that were really just gifts I “intended for myself” ( I had to agree. That Playstation was really for me) or the gifts that were “further subjugation of her gender.”

Now that we’re married. The gift issue has expanded.

Buying NaijaWife a kitchen appliance is just ...a very bad idea.
Buying NaijaWife a kitchen appliance is just…a very bad idea.

“What are you getting for your mother…You can’t just give her cash! that’s tacky!” “What are you getting for your brothers? Please don’t give them any more alcohol paraphernalia” “What are we giving my parents? They need to feel that you’re a generous son-in-law or they’ll think I’m suffering with you!” 

Well now Christmas is around the corner. Which means my panic is slowly increasing.

Even after all the birthdays/holidays/anniversaries, and mastering the art of buying multiple cards with just the right wording to make her shed a tear, and learning how to wrap the presents with proper wrapping paper the way she does (though I suspect she has hers professionally done), I’ve slowly run out of ideas.  Gone are the quick gifts of jewelry, perfume and bags. She’s just not into them. Books are out because she’s probably already read the books I’m thinking of buying her (and she really hates the “financial planning” books that I’d prefer to give her). Cash is always out, and clothes…well, forget about it.

You’ve got no idea what I could get her either right? Well neither do I.

Actually maybe I have a slight inkling. Over time, I’ve come to learn that wives drop hints. Copiously and frequently. They may not all be signs and wonder type hints, but they’re usually loud enough if you’re paying attention to the language she speaks.

For example, if there’s one thing my wife likes, it’s time. She’d rather be whisked away for a quick vacation with me, than unwrap a bag she won’t use, or another pair of earrings she won’t wear.  I know this because she’s often walked around the house moaning (once she knows I’m within ear shot) that “Oh if only we had more time together!”  and “I wish we weren’t so busy all the time. When are we going to have a break?” I also know that she likes thoughtful gifts, like picture collages of our years together with playlists of her favorite songs (sometimes I think she still feels we’re in the “teenage love” stage), or a book of my prayers for her, handwritten letters, three course meals cooked from scratch (I’m still working on that one), and long massages after her stressful week of tweeting working and supporting me on the blog.

It may not need to be from or even  It doesn’t have to have a designer name on it (she’s not a fan of free advertising. “Why should I publicize Louis Vuitton’s name for him? -She’ll say- Him pay me money before?), and in fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all.

As long as I put some thought into it, and give it to her because I think it reflects her wants or needs at the time, I should be home free….Right?

Fingers crossed.

What are some of the best gifts you’ve ever received from your spouse or significant other? Drop a note below and let us know!






41 responses to “It’s the Thought that Counts”

  1. Lizzieebunoluwa Avatar

    Oh my! This amazing couple never ceases to crack me up. *sigh*…Good thing, Naija Husband has learnt to both hear,speak and understand Naija Wife’s language….
    Don’t forget to share the aftermath reaction to this Christmas’s gift giving o…lol.


  2. @eloxie Avatar

    Oh my! I loved this post from start to finish. Some of NW’s reactions could easily have been mine. :-). Thanks for reminding us that giving is not some perfunctory act, and reminding us of the panic attacks that come with trying to get it right ( meet a need, get the surprise factor, timing and packaging right). Whooosh!!!

    I think my best gifts have been things I needed and didnt realise i needed until I got them. the thoughtfulness just got to me. For some reason, simply can’t pick any particular ones.

    Nice post NH. Wishing you and NW and your lovely families the best of the Season. God bless you for being a blessing to me. 🙂

    1. tiana Avatar

      You said all I would have said about how I like my gifts!

  3. Nabia Avatar

    I’m a jewellery person. One time mr boyfriend and i decided we weren’t giving each other gifts but to my surprise he sent me a cake at work& dropped off a swarovski bracelet at home for me. Best surprise gift ever.

  4. Blazyn Avatar

    This piece cracked me as usual.. NW is such a character.. I’m learning a lot thoo..

  5. agboola. Avatar

    I like NW. Anyway, the gifts that comes to mind now are 1: an unexpected perfume (I love scents). I had a cut just as I headed to see Mr. I got there still bleeding and ouching. So he asks ifi had done any first aid and I said no. “Cleaned with spirit?” No. So he says come here. .. and then “this may sting”. It stung and smelled nice too. There was my perfume. It’s been years but I always have a bottle of it.
    Recently, it was my birthday. I’m not a ‘birthday’ gift receiver. Well except from the bf. So since I wasn’t dating, I expected nothing. But here was my friend millions of miles away that shipped me a surprise gift. Very thoughtful and sweet.
    Gifts very in content and price but the ones that count the most are the ones that visibly show the efforts and thoughts put in them.
    Merry Christmas.

  6. kizzle Avatar

    Awwwwwn you guys are amazing. LMAOOO can you truly satsify your wife? Like you said, its the thought that matters

  7. ujesta Avatar

    Beautiful couple…loved this write up..
    I like gifts that are spontaenous and unexpected, just like NW, the content doesnt matter so much but the thought put into it…
    LOL @ ur “panic is slowly increasing” shouldn’t!

  8. topazo Avatar

    A lesson on the act of giving…

  9. Bukola Avatar

    Amazing piece as usual! NW sure knows how to gear up NH’s inventing skills. I guess I’m not gift lucky. It’s been years of unwrapped late gifts with hubby but they are always what I want at that time so…… it’s the thought that counts.
    Compliments of the season to you guys.

  10. E' Avatar

    You wrapped a ‘no-surprise gift’ in NEWSPAPER and didn’t even get a card!?!!!!!!??? Men are truly from mars and my dear NW is very forgiving indeed being that she still agreed to marry you.
    NW is a PHENOMENON and I loveeeeet
    Had heard my Pastor once say that some men wrap gifts in newspaper and I thought he made that up. So tz true? Na wa ooooo. Soon you guys will wrap it in wrapper (the type the women on NW’s twitter avi have)
    Umu nwoke unu di egwu…..
    Well my boo has always engaged my bestie’s or friends help in buying me gifts so he’s always on point ( I am not fuzzy about wrapping papers which will be destroyed. I prefer you put it in a nice carrier bag so I can use the bag later. Igbo girl thinking. #dontjudgeme)
    And my friends are amazing. Sometimes I am picking out stuff (while secretly envying my friend and her latest acquisition) only to enter my room (he had access to my room) to see the same stuff on my bed. Happened a lot. And on ordinary days not vals or bdays.
    My best gift to Aku m had to be yesterday. You could have knocked him over with a feather. Being a chronic bachelor, the house I married into had a bad tv n sound system and bed. Nothing else major. Ok exaggeration helps my point. I knew he had been trying to buy somethings else and it had been hard cos oftime andlogistics of bringing it across the sea. Yesterday I took care of all the logistics, emptied my account (no exaggeration here) and got them for him/us. He walked into the house after church and totally tired and I was mute all the way from church about it so imagine his surprise. When he found his tongue, he said and I quote ‘let me tell you what is written on your forehead- The Proverbs 31 woman…’
    I mean I could have used my money for some things more personal but I did this plus I got incredible bargains too.

  11. yougeecash Avatar

    The thought for me is what really counts. The best gift ever came from an ex boyfriend on Valentines day. I was totally not expecting it coz we had broken up months before that. At midnight on Feb 14 that year, a girl walked into my room in the hostel and handed me a bag that contained a lovely dress and jewellry. She said it was from the ex and I was stunned. It was really thoughtful.
    I love surprise gifts, little things, big things, I just love surprises. It shows you’re thinking of me.
    All the best with finding NW a befitting present this season. Do come and tell us how it went afterwards. Love u both. Cheers

  12. E' Avatar

    Oh by bad Tv I mean baddest tv ever be-eth lol.
    Before some one thinks I mean malfunctioning.
    Ehen so I scored yesterday.
    I felt bad like Ronaldo on one of his hat trick games away.
    Now hubby is racking his head for the perfect Christmas gift for me.
    As for my parents, no matter how tacky money is to NW, I always give that. You can’t please my dad with gifts sorry. Money answereth all things.

    I love gifts oooo. Both giving and receiving. And for friends, I have blown minds away with on point gifts. I was reminded again during my bridal shower when some of them mentioned how I had given them the most thoughtful gifts.

    So tz a complete package:- the thought, the gift itself, the packaging, the presentation and the text message/email that follows afterwards.

    You already know what NW needs. Thank me later.

    Great post

  13. highlandblue Avatar

    My wife buys me clothes. It’s kinda like a sub because I’d rather wear t shirts and trainers and buy gadgets instead. I buy her cosmetics and beauty stuff cos she will use them if they’re there but never think of replacing them when they finish. (Maybe because she’s fine like that). In general choosing gifts is very very difficult for me otherwise. Thank you for this lol

  14. tiana Avatar

    The newspaper wrapped gift tho. Reminds me of market women, smoked fish and boli.

  15. MsNutella Avatar

    A recorded birthday message from every one of my immediate family.

  16. enajyte Avatar

    I love giving gifts (and receiving them). I’ve been planning my xmas gifts since September. I believe gifts should come in threes: one thing the person needs, a funny gift to make them laugh and a surprise gift just because. That’s just me sha.

    The best gifts I’ve gotten are the ones I wasn’t expecting. Everybody knows I love to read and I appreciate books but when I get something totally unexpected (like a Hannah Montana notepad :D) I get the warm ‘you-are-totally-loved’ feeling.

    Merry xmas to my fav couple. This post sounds like ‘goodbye till next year’. I hope not o.

  17. Inthe... Avatar

    Lol! It’s the thought that counts especially when we hate the gift. The important thing is that NH is taking note and learning with each…Uhm, lesson.

  18. jinxchrys Avatar

    Lol! You wrapped the gift in newspaper? is it suya? Lol!
    Ah yes, I love surprises. I take my sweet time unwrapping a gift, building the anticipation and all that 🙂
    It’s funny, the best gifts I’ve received have been cards…playing cards (we have some sort of history with cards). The first, a ‘no occasion’ miniature deck. The second was on my birthday, a constellation themed deck (I love stars) and on each of them was written something he loved about me 😀 😀 The thought that had to go into that gets me every time

  19. Michelle Avatar

    Lovely post, kept laughing in the office and the secretary kept looking at me. I must say i
    enjoy reading every bit of ur posts. But c’mon, wrapping gifts in newspaper? That’s like a
    whole new level of tackiness, is it roasted corn and ube? lol

    I haven’t been so lucky with gifts, i guess its coz I’m not that much of a giver, tryna
    change tho 🙁 As for gifts, never really liked people giving me clothes coz they never get
    my size as i have a tricky figure, best to buy jewellery or a nice fragrance or something i
    can use for a long time. Is NW gonna post a reply to this segment?

  20. imperfectlyperfect Avatar

    And NW,newspaper? Like seriously? *hands on head* kai!

    1. imperfectlyperfect Avatar

      Great Post indeed
      And high 5,high 10 sef! That was so sweet,I can imagine the surprise on ur hubby’s face when he saw what you had done…May u continue to be a proverbs 31 woman,simply priceless and excellent in her ways to her man. High 20 sef again abeg.
      And to me,you could be giving me a 5naira sweet and I’ll appreciate it like crazy.its the thought behind the gift that matter to me.

  21. 1 + The One Avatar

    Just one question – You wrapped her gift with newspaper?!
    *end of story*

  22. 1 + The One Avatar

    But I’m actually laughing my head off at what must be going through both your minds when you gave her the newspaper wrapped gift! Hahaha
    This will be good story for the dinner table with your children “Remember whe story of dad wrapping mum’s present with newspaper? *cackle, cackle, guffaw, splutter laugh laugh!*

  23. chocoholicgirl1 Avatar

    Hilarious post! I love gifts. Am always so excited about presents. I do not care about how expensive it is , i am into the thoughtfulness of d gift. Like stuff i causally mention i wld like in our conversations. I also love sentimental gifts like a short vacation, or an album of our pictures or a letter …. am mushy like that 🙂

  24. browneyedgirl Avatar

    Wow!!! Your wife is soooo me! It’s scary. My husband could have written EVERY word. And yes – the whole “you can’t give your mother XXX”? BTDT. This is proof that I’m not weird. Back in the day DH would lament about how I was so atypical for a woman and how other women would LURVE an expensive piece of jewelry, perfume, shoes or whatever. I’d much rather just have him all to myself for a whole day. Ha! he has to see this.

  25. Yemi Avatar

    My boyfriend used to get a couple of gifts so they came in a package and that left me guessing. They were not necessarily expensive gifts; sometimes practical (like a pair of outing slippers), sometimes interesting (like and a book that I might like because of my interests and I have not talked talked about before) and something romantic (a rose, perfume or a photo frame with a picture of ours already installed). It did work for me because I was never disappointed. Most times, I was pleasantly surprised. If I happen to be disappointed by a gift, another gift item compensates for the disappointment, so it is short lived.

  26. babe Avatar

    I totally love gifts and i keep them forever, doesn’t matter if they are still useful or not. Best gift i’ve ever received was from a random guy i just met in school,my birthday was very close and i usually don’t get gifts but was surprised when i got into my flat and saw a jewellery set at the reception waiting for me. It’s still my best possession, don’t care about the cost.

  27. iphieee Avatar

    Awesome post! And the comments…haven’t stopped smiling 🙂

  28. Ann Avatar

    Looooooove u guys. Thanks for being an inspiration. I love gifts too and the thought that goes into getting a gift matters the most but haba naija husband, newspaper ke, lolol. God bless and keep you both

  29. Achieng' Avatar

    Haha Naija wife is just the one. Personally I have never received any gifts but I still think that its the thought that counts, hope Naija wife loves your gift this time good luck.

  30. Timi Avatar

    My husband is difficult (sometimes just heartbreaking) to shop for. So the gifts that worked out were A Lord of the Rings wristband and a couple of Liquideep CDs. Now I just tell him to get himself what he wants. Everybody’s happy.

  31. Anosi Avatar

    Hi! NH and NW Recently, I was looking at a pile of discarded gift boxes in my refuse bin and wondered why companies go to the extent of posh packaging when in the end it will be tossed out. why don’t they just hand you the thing inside with plain packaging.

    After all, its the gift-content-that counts (abi na container we wan use?)

    Then it dropped in my spirit that if we, as human beings pranced around without polishing our outward look saying it’s my heart/skill that matters. No responsible person/corporate will take us seriously.
    So no newspaper o, moin-moin leaves wrapping o. its a big No No.

  32. funny smile Avatar
    funny smile

    My boyfriend writes poetry and stuff so I got him a leather journal. Didn’t hv enuf time to get it his name on it bt he was really happy…the thought really does count. 🙂

  33. HoneyDame Avatar

    Lovely lovely post!
    I had just come back from NYSC camp…the boyfriend had gotten me a new pack of undies and a bottle of perfume….just because!!!
    I totally loved the “unexpectedness” and thoughtfulness….

  34. Cannime Avatar

    The best gifts will always be those that money can’t buy and the unexpected ones…. those thoughtfulness and time spent together.. Simply the best to me:)

  35. kaycee Avatar

    So many but the thoughful gifts are when he gives me what I need the most-phone, wristwatch,gadget accesories- even without my asking. I remember the day he followed me to have a pedicure done, then insisted I have a manicure done too… Lol- bobo toh sure

  36. Chii-Chee Avatar

    I saw the newspaper before I read the post, walahi I thought it had to do with suya, NH…. enough said. My best gift would be my hubby, he came at a time I needed him and he came full packaged, seeing that we are in different time zones, whenever he is around I consider to be my best gift and utilise the times. Like NW I’m not big on jewelleries and the likes, I’m a changing semi tomboy, all thanks to the boo, so I’m sha hard to please, regardless I can go with whatever, for the thought matters way more than the item.

  37. Buttercup Avatar

    hahahahaha. You nailed it, Tiana.

  38. […]  I resolve to buy her better gifts. But as one last hurrah, I wrapped her 2013 gift in newspaper. Just for old time’s […]

  39. Lady T Avatar
    Lady T

    Hi Naija Husband I only just discovered your blog yesterday and i’m hooked! Loving it and going back to read your old posts. Apologies if this is a little late but since it’s about gifts I guess it can’t go stale….the best gifts are the always the ones that have a lot of thought put into them and we always know…my favorite birthday so far is the one where my husband did a birthday week for me, my name has 5 letters and on each day the gift came with something that started with an alphabet in my name and he also updated his status each day with the alphabet until he got to the last one. I thought it was very sweet and he got me waiting with excitement each day to see what he was going to come up with, they weren’t massive gifts but the trouble and thought that was put into it made it special and was well worth it…also my name has an S in it so there was a spa day incorporated…we ladies love being pampered…since naija wife likes quality time spas offer couples packages…it will be so worth it and you get to spend time together.

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