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.
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?