My husband and I have had 4 anniversaries, 4 Valentine’s days and spent 5 Christmases together. The first Christmas, we were only a month in so we bought each other things we had observed the other needed. The second, we were living together so we decided to go in on an in-home theater experience and DirecTV so we no longer had to go to the bar to watch our football games. The third Christmas, money was tight so we didn’t get each other anything and focused our finances and time on visiting our families. Last year, we skipped the holiday madness altogether and went to Belize, and this past Christmas we were so busy with the wedding and getting back from our honeymoon on Christmas Eve that gifts seemed totally pointless.
While our first Christmas was sweet and all, neither one of us feels like we need to swap gifts to make the other happy.
Why Couples Shouldn’t Exchange Gifts
Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts, but if I have absolutely no clue what to get someone, it becomes an obligation. And I’d so much rather not receive anything than get a gift just because someone feels like they must. What I love most about gift giving is it’s an expression of your thoughtfulness and how well you know another person.
Holidays stack the pressure on to get not only everyone somewhat important in your life a gift, but also to get your significant other “the perfect gift” or, at the very least, a gift that tops the one you got them last year.
I mean really, who needs that shit?
If you see something that reminds you of your love, or you know that they want something, buy it because you want to, regardless of the time of year. Sporadic presents throughout the year beat the hell out of holiday obligations.
The Best Gifts
I’m not saying to be a Scrooge this year; gift giving can be really fun, but if there’s nothing you’re dying to have and vice versa, or something you both really want—why not go in on it? When we splurged for the projector, screen, surround sound and NFL Sunday Ticket, we were both very excited. Not only did our co-gift allow us to splurge on both each other and ourselves without feeling guilty—but over the last couple years we’ve spent a ton of time enjoying that gift together.
So this year, why not consider these options instead of the usual gift exchange?
Do you love the same singer/band or sports team? Would it be fun to run a Spartan race together? Does ice skating, drinking cocoa and baking Christmas cookies together sound magical?
The perfect gift could be an experience you share. Whether you go in on tickets to a game or show, run a 5k together, bake (and eat) holiday treats or even take a snowboarding class together. The obligation to get something perfect is wiped away, and now you can focus on simply enjoying each other’s company.
Have you been together a little bit and have some extra cash to splurge? Then why not take a trip together? Whether it be a week in the tropics, a weekend getaway in the mountains or even just spending a night in a hotel a few towns over—taking a trip together provides you with the ability to make memories together. Memories last a hell of a lot longer than the joy a physical gift can bring.
Bonus gift: Take the photos from your trip and make a collage or cute little photo album for the next holiday.
Are you obsessed with movies? Is there a big ticket item you want but don’t want to blow the money on yourself?
On the cheaper side you could split the cost of a Netflix subscription; on the more expensive range, you could go in on a big ticket item that you both want. Keyword: Both. Don’t be an ass and try to only get something you want for yourself, make sure it’s something you both will enjoy.
Call me a cheeseball, but to me there is no better gift than a handwritten letter telling me how you feel about me. Sometimes we fail to express ourselves day to day, and if this is the case, professing your love via actual written word is a gift to be cherished.
If you find gift swapping to be insincere or are tired of the obligation, consider this approach. It just might make each holiday that much more enjoyable. What are your favorite alternative gift ideas?
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