My husband didn’t buy me a Christmas gift

My husband didn’t buy me a Christmas gift

Yup, you read that right – my husband didn’t buy me a Christmas gift.

You must be wondering why… I mean, it’s our first Christmas as husband and wife! Did he forget it was Christmas? Is he mad at me about something? Are we okay?????

Yes, don’t fret – everything’s okay! But, I’ve got to admit something, too – I didn’t buy my husband a Christmas gift, either.

*cue gasps*

Yes, it’s true – my husband and I didn’t buy Christmas gifts for each other.

Did we forget about Christmas? Nope, not a chance. As Catholics, we are very, very aware of when Christmas is.

Are we broke? – Eh… debatable. Yes, we’re in debt, but we made sure to include gift-giving for our families/close friends in our budget this year. Just not gift-giving to each other.

So, what’s the deal? As we were planning out our budget for the holiday season, we knew that we wanted to reign in the spending a little bit.

A new approach to Christmas gifts

As we went down our Christmas list, we knew a) we didn’t want to give up gift-giving altogether, and b) we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the people we love. Not to say that our loved ones aren’t worth it! But we figured our friends/family would be upset if they knew that our gifts put us in a tight financial spot.

We started off as we normally do, by deciding on some spending limits for each person on our list. What we did differently this year was we didn’t treat these spending limits as “must-spend” numbers. If we found a fitting, practical gift for a particular person and it was under their spending “limit”, we didn’t go searching for any add-ons to make up the difference.

This is the complete opposite of how I would gift in seasons past. Before, we would spend all the way to the limit. For example, if my budget for a person was $50, I would find something s/he may really enjoy for $20, but I wouldn’t stop there. I would still find $30 worth of random gifts that were just plain fluff to make up for the difference.

This kind of gifting was focused solely on the dollar amount. This year, we wanted to shift away from the dollar amount and focus more on practical gifts the receiver will actually enjoy. If that meant spending less than what we originally allotted to their gift, then so be it! We really wanted to focus on meaningful gifting, not just gifting useless gifts for the sake of spending that money.

The popular Christmas gift mindset

As we were shopping for others with this new mindset, we eventually asked what the other wanted for Christmas (might I add, people were asking us first what we were getting each other before we even asked ourselves). Not that we weren’t on each others’ Christmas lists – we were!

I think we just found ourselves at a turning point. In years past, we would gift nice holiday things you’re supposed to give your significant other, like chocolate, purses, electronics, jewelry, etc. Fuzzy holiday commercials will tell you that all your wife wants is a new bracelet or necklace. And ads on buses and billboards will tell you that your husband would love that shiny new watch for Christmas.

Usually, we would fall for these tactics. It wasn’t long ago when I absolutely loved the Coach purse he got me years ago. And it wasn’t long ago when he gladly received a Playstation 4 (3? I don’t remember now…) for an engagement gift.

But this year was different. Maybe it’s the mutual debt we’re in. But I like to think that our new focus on gifting more meaningful gifts has something to do with it, too.

That’s it – no Christmas gifts for each other

As we started talking about what we wanted for Christmas, we began to realize that we didn’t want much. Sure, there are things that would be nice to have. But Juan and I are usually pretty good about buying these things on our own time (if it’s in the budget, of course 😉)

Sure, there’s all the holiday fluff out in stores right now. Holiday themed candies, clothing, etc. But those are things we just don’t really want. They’re cute and all, but there’s no real purpose for those things in our lives.

Once we realized we both didn’t really want anything for Christmas, we both just looked at each other and said, “no gifts for each other this year?” And we both happily agreed. Great minds, right?

As we both were very happy about this decision, others in our lives were taken aback. What do you mean no gifts? Is he lying to you?? Is this a trap???

No – he’s not lying! I know this because we’ve combined our finances now and I know whether he’s spending on something not agreed upon 😉 And no – it’s not a trap! We both legitimately don’t feel the need to get a Christmas present for each other this year.

Maybe it’ll change next year, maybe it’ll never change. But it’s something we both feel is right at this moment in our lives. There’s something empowering about going against the grain and realizing that although a Christmas gift would be nice, we don’t really need it.

A more meaningful Christmas gift

For me, I’m taking this new “no Christmas gift” rule and taking it a step further. Instead of buying a physical Christmas gift for my husband, I’m going to focus on being present with my husband – not just on Christmas, but all the time.

A purposeful gift is a great thing to give. But what is more meaningful is time and full attention with your loved ones. Once those things are given on a consistent basis through out the year, the want for a Christmas gift goes away. Instead, my husband and I can now focus on what Christmas really is about – Jesus Christ coming to us a gift from God and celebrating that with those we love.

What do you focus on when you give gifts? Have you and your significant other agreed on no-gifts before?

AMDG,
Lisa

Lisa vs. Lent

Last night, I went out with some friends to celebrate Mardi Gras. AKA Fat Tuesday.

Super nomz.

Super nomz.

Which means that today is Ash Wednesday. Which means that Lent is here.

Which means that today, a few hours into work, I’ll be sneaking out of work for a little bit to get some ashes placed on my forehead. (JK, I don’t have to sneak out, they’re totally fine with it.)

I’m the epitome of a Catholic School girl – went to Catholic school from Kindergarten all the way through college and have been involved in ministry all my life. In fact, I have met most of my friends through my church. So every year when Lent comes around, we all feast on Mardi Gras since many of us will be giving up these things for the next 40 (or so) days.

Fun fact: Sundays don’t count toward the 40 days of Lent. Count it!

As we feast, we share what we’re going to be giving up (or picking up) for the next 40 days.

Lisa vs. Lent 2014

This is what my Lent will look like this year:

  • Giving up rice, bread, and pasta – I’m taking these next few weeks to really reflect on healthier food choices. I’ve been working out pretty consistently lately, but I know that that’s only half of the equation. In lieu of these, I’ll be consuming much more veggies and fruit.
  • No eating out with the BF – This one is going to be tough. We love to eat! But we’ve been going out to eat way too much lately. We’re going to be finding some more frugal activities to do together. We won’t be giving up eating together at all. Instead, we’ll be cooking meals at my house or his and enjoying frugal, quiet nights in more often.
  • Taking mandatory breaks throughout the day – Although I am incredibly excited about my new job, it does come with its own learning curve – a very steep one I might add. (More deets on that some other time.) Once I get into a groove, it’s hard to get out of it. With that being said, I’ve been coming home absolutely exhausted. My eye has been twitching for the past few days, and just the other day I almost forgot to eat during work! I’m instilling some mandatory, quick breaks throughout my day to just walk around and give myself (and my eyes) a rest. I’ll be stepping away from the computer and using this time for my own prayer time.

You vs. Lent

I know that not all of my readers are of the same beliefs as I am. But I still encourage you all to give up or pick up something for the next 40 days.

Back in college, I worked with someone who wasn’t Catholic but was bouncing off some ideas with me about what she should give up for Lent. I asked her why she wanted to give anything up at all, knowing that she didn’t believe what I did. I mean, why would anyone give up anything if they didn’t “have” to?

She told me it’s always a good practice to see what you can live without.

I know many of you out there want to achieve something – a bigger savings account, a healthier body, a minimalist lifestyle. I encourage you to jump start those goals today by giving up something for the next 40 days. Lent is a great time – for Catholics and non-Catholics alike – to really reflect on what you can really, truly achieve. If you want to make a big lifestyle change or if you want to achieve huge goals, take that first step today and take 40 baby steps throughout this journey with me.

Here are some ideas:

Give up:
  • Soda – I gave up soda for Lent back when I was in junior high. I rarely crave soda ever since.
  • The snooze button – One year, instead of snoozing, I would roll out of bed (literally) onto the floor and do some push ups until I was awake.
  • Facebook – Stop reading about others’ lives and start living your own!
  • Negative thoughts – For me, this was the hardest. I’m my own worst critic and it was difficult for me to silence my inner bully.
Pick up:
  • Compliment someone each day – Who doesn’t love a compliment?
  • Reach out to a friend you’ve lost touch with – For us introverts, this might be difficult. But your relationships can only benefit, even if all you do is say “Hey. Hope you’re doing well.”
  • Random act of kindness – Pay the toll for the person behind you in line. Help someone bring their groceries to their car. Open doors for anyone walking in/out.
  • Exercise – Start with 10 minutes a day. Work up from there.

 

What will you be giving up or picking up this Lent? I’ll be praying for y’all!

AMDG,
Lisa