Nancy Roman

O Christmas Pan!

Time for Christmas reruns….

Here’s my favorite Christmas story. To my husband’s chagrin, I tell it often.



I met my husband in November 1989.

By Christmas we were pretty much living together.  We weren’t kids – he was in his forties and I was thirty-eight. So we didn’t see much sense in taking it slow.

Over decades of dating I had learned one thing about love. You’re better off not expecting him to be perfect. Real love is not loving everything he does, but forgiving him for most of what he does.

The following year was the test.

Christmas 1990.  We had been together just over a year, and I was just six weeks away from my fortieth birthday.  These two events led me to conclude that my Christmas present would be an engagement ring. I was desperate sure.

And that Christmas morning we exchanged gifts.  I can’t remember what I gave him. But I remember what he gave me.

A roasting pan.

Oh yeah.

And that’s not all. It seems he did all his shopping in one store – a kitchen store.  I got dishtowels too.  And an apron.  Let me repeat. AN APRON.

I can’t even express how disappointed I was. I knew that he was a sweet guy, and didn’t mean to give me servant’s presents. He was actually excited about the pan. It was big. He likes big.

I smiled through it all, even though my jaw was beginning to hurt.

Then we went to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner. His brother had met his girlfriend about the same time my husband met me.

And guess what his brother’s girlfriend got for Christmas.

Oh yeah.

A diamond ring.

And she was twenty-six. I was thirty-nine. And what comes after thirty-nine?  It was bad enough to be a forty-year-old bride, but now I wasn’t even going to be a forty-year-old bride.

“We’re engaged!” That little bit…baby squealed.

That’s when I stopped smiling.

And later that evening, back at home…well, let’s just say I was slightly upset in a moderately loud way.

“You wanted a ring?” he asked, completely surprised.

Oh yeah.

It all ended well enough, I guess. I got my diamond ring six weeks later for my fortieth birthday. And we squeezed in a wedding before the end of the year (November 30, 1991 ) – so I didn’t have to be a forty-one-year-old bride.

My brother-in-law doesn’t even have that wife anymore.

And I have a diamond ring (a big one), and the same husband, and a roasting pan to boot.

But every Christmas, when I take the roast out of the oven, someone inevitably says, “What a great pan.”

I would recommend you not do that.


  1. I take it they may have said pan wrapped round their ear?
    Great post, really funny. 🙂


  2. You had me at “roasting pan.” I had to read no further. 🙂 But I did of course. I love your Christmas story. Definitely a classic.


  3. Don’t pan the reflection of memories! Great story. Merry on!


  4. I love this story. Happy holidays to you, your husband, and the roaster. Fuck the apron though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great story. I can see how frustrating that would be. Men… sigh. Sometimes they get it. Sometimes they don’t. I’m glad this had a happy ending.


  6. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for re-posting this. It is a very charming post. I also wanted to tell you that I just finished reading Just what I always wanted. I loved it. Good job and congratulations on your first novel.


    • Thank you Sonia, for liking the post, and especially thank you for reading my novel. I’m extremely happy that you enjoyed it. I hope you will consider going on Amazon and giving it a review. Good reviews are so important for books.


  7. Sometimes subtly doesn’t work. You have to spell it out. Glad you did because a person only need ONE big pan.
    I love this Christmas story. What a guy! 😀 😀 😀


    • This is actually a success story – because, every year since: JEWELRY!


  8. Man = Thick. lol… love it.


  9. My now (and first… we’ll see) husband and I were together 13 years before we got married so I completely understand the anticipation that preceded every major holiday and each birthday. Fortunately I can now say that he was worth the wait… even though I was almost 50 when we finally tied the knot.


    • You don’t want to expect it, but you expect it.


  10. I love it!!!
    Three years ago, on Mother’s day, my husband gave me a Dyson Vac. I would have strangled him, except that when I started to unwrap it, I thought he had given me a set of weights for the gym. By the time I figured out it was a vac, I was so relieved that I hugged him!


  11. Bwahahahaha! Your story sounds vaguely familiar. How about a vacuum cleaner? Worse yet – It didn’t come with an apron. 🙂


  12. Great anecdote. Was he really surprised you were disappointed? Too many times, men don’t get it. I see it all around me, when in the company of other husbands at parties, etc.


    • Yes, He was totally surprised that I didn’t love the pan. And that just maybe – at almost forty and together for more than a year – that I thought, just maybe – I would get a ring. To quote hubby, “Huh?”


  13. Men can be such…idiots! (That was as polite as I could put it). Yesterday I sent He-Who out to pick me up a new electric hand beater so I could finish some baking I had to do. We spent 45 minutes on the internet looking at what I wanted/needed and price point. Small, just beaters, inexpensive, retractable cord so there wouldn’t be any tangling around the other stuff it would live with. An hour later he came back with a huge, and I do mean huge, mix master type contraption that look like it was about to take off in the space shuttle program. I have no room for it. I can’t use it for what I needed it for because it does not detach so I can use it on the stove. It cost a fortune. I could go on but I had better not. Suffice it to say things got a little spicy here.


    • I got my hubby one of those huge ones, so he would stop asking me why we don’t have one. We seldom use it. The stick blender is so much easier – and it’s right in the drawer!


  14. Our first married Christmas, I got a microwave. My husband didn’t ever make that mistake again. Great post! Reruns are good. Just the other day, I laughed and laughed at the Lucy episode where she and Ethel had to eat all of the chocolates on the conveyor belt.


    • Oh dear, please let me refrain from re-runs in the amount of I Love Lucy. I have an original for tomorrow… I promise!


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