Experiencing pangs of decision remorse

“Are we still good or are you having decision remorse?”

It was Dec. 13 when Better Half and I had this conversation, 12 days before Christmas when I posed the question after I’d eaten some dinner.

I was feeling grumpier before that, having an empty stomach and all. Now I was properly fueled. I could think about Christmas stuff. Gifts specifically. For me. From my loving husband.

“What do you mean, decision remorse?” Better Half asked.

“Christmas gifts — you know, we’re not buying for each other, right?” I wanted to reaffirm the not-written-in-stone decision we made in haste. It was probably done under duress on my part a month or so earlier when it seemed like such a sensible idea, back when we were in Halloween-Thanksgiving mode, that scary and grateful time of the year.

Not to be confused with the most wonderful time of the year — the time of year when you open gifts from your loved ones — i.e., your spouse.

Better Half suddenly sat straighter in his chair, smiling as he admired his Charlie Brown Christmas tree adorned with its single, solitary bulb. I could sense the no-buy idea suited him. He was glowing.

I get it. Who doesn’t want a low-stress Christmas?

“Sounds good to me,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and following up the gesture with a Tony the Tiger “that’s grrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ate!” for good measure.

Better Half is not a shopper, after all, so the prospect of not having to look around and buy me a gift(s) makes his Christmas a true ho-ho-ho experience. He was all for it. I was, too, initially, but I wanted to be sure he understood the ramifications of such a bold concept.

The bigger burden for him, I feared on his behalf since he wasn’t, would be decision remorse setting in on Dec. 25.

That’s why I wanted to double check with him on this no-buy choice we had made out of season.

“Well, I just don’t want you to feel bad on Christmas morning,” I told him, feigning great concern.

“Bad about what?” he asked innocently enough.

“Nothing being under the Christmas tree aside from pine needles,” I tried to paint the grim scenario for him.

He looked over at it, at what looked like stark space to me, but simply an area minus clutter in his eyes.

“I can handle that,” he said, mentioning only as a mere afterthought that there really wasn’t anything I needed anyway. And surely I didn’t need, much less want anything like, I don’t know, jewelry, did I?

Ahh, at last, an opening.

I gave him my best poker face and glanced over at the barren space below the Christmas tree. I contained a sigh.

Better Half suddenly frowned the frown of a man who knew he was probably destined to have a shopping outing in his near future.

But that’s way easier to handle than decision remorse.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)