Why My Husband and I Don’t Exchange Christmas Gifts
For the past few years, Terry and I haven’t bothered to buy each other a Christmas gift.
(Actually, I tell a lie: there was that one year when he got me a gel polish kit and I got him a dressing gown. We must’ve been feeling prreeeeettty darn fancy that year, is all I can say…)
I know: what a couple of complete Scrooges, eh? I mean, part of the joy of Christmas is the giving of thoughtful gifts, which show just how much the recipient means to you, amiright?
Er, I guess this would be the wrong time to reveal that we don’t send Christmas cards, either? Thought so.
In our defence, we didn’t stop exchanging gifts because we don’t care about each other, and, despite what you might think, we’re not TOTAL scrooges, either. We do buy gifts for the rest of our respective families, for instance, and we will, of course, buy gifts for Max – in fact, they’re already in stock.
So, why don’t we do it for each other? Lots of reasons, really…
Because we have way too much stuff, and not enough space to store it in.
We’re lucky, basically: we have a house that’s full to bursting point with STUFF. We just don’t need any more of it – and while there ARE things we’d both like (I mean, it’s not like we’re morally opposed to shopping or anything like that: um, far from it, actually…), we don’t buy those things for each other at Christmas either …
Because we’d probably get it wrong.
Honestly, we’re both super-fussy when it comes to shopping. For instance, I love clothes and makeup… but I’d much prefer to be able to pick them out for myself, knowing I’ll get exactly what I want (and in the right size/colour), than trust someone else – even the person who arguably knows me best – to do it for me. Terry, meanwhile, has pretty specific taste in the things he likes, too, and I wouldn’t even know where to start if I were to try shopping for him: which I know for sure, because I HAVE tried… and have normally gotten it wrong.
Of course, we could both just create wish lists, or simply TELL each other what we’d like, but not only does that kind of defeat the point of gift-giving (Like, if we each spend £X on buying something the other person has specifically told us to get, surely we may as well just each buy our OWN gifts, right?), it wouldn’t solve the next issue either, namely…
Christmas is expensive enough without allocating even more of our shared finances to it.
OK, so this one DOES sound pretty Scrooge-like, doesn’t it? The thing is, though, while we don’t resent spending money on gifts for other people, we DO have a lot of people to shop for, and it just doesn’t make sense to us to make the Christmas bill even higher by adding two more names to it, and buying things just for the sake of it. And, anyway…
We’d much rather put that money towards a holiday, or something we need/want for the house.
We stopped exchanging gifts when we started taking a winter holiday every December: those trips meant much more to us than a Christmas gift would, so they were basically our gifts to each other. This year, we’ve re-started that tradition with a week in Tenerife before Christmas, which we both agree is a better use of our budget than buying each other more stuff we don’t need. And I’m really glad we both agree on that, because…
We find gift shopping stressful
I’m not sure “stressful” is the word Terry would use (He’s one of those super laid-back people who don’t really DO “stress”…), but it IS one I would use. I know some people get a lot of pleasure out of gift shopping, and will spent hours on end tracking down (Or making – which is another big NO from me: I’m the least “crafty” person alive, and would find MAKING a gift even MORE stressful than buying one…) just the right gift, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them.
Again, this isn’t because I don’t want my loved ones to have something they’ll love: it’s simply that I’m really, really bad at working out what that thing might be, so I end up getting really stressed about it, before finally panic-buying something I know is probably just going to lie in a drawer, or end up in the charity pile. Over the last few years, I’ve become really aware of the fact that that’s what I was doing, so while I still try my best to find things I know the people I shop for will like, honestly, the best gift Terry could possibly give me for Christmas is freedom from the obligation to buy yet another gift. Luckily, he feels the same, which makes the ‘no gifts’ rule a bit of a no-brainer for us, really.
Despite that, though, it’s still the source of a bit of controversy when people ask what we got each other, and get the answer, “Er, nothing: we don’t really DO Christmas gifts these days.” Most of the time we’ll get some kind of lecture about how we HAVE to buy each other SOMETHING, and, even at best, you can tell from the various responses that people think we’re a couple of miserable gits, basically. Just wait until I tell ’em we’re not even planning on putting up the Christmas tree this year (and didn’t even own one until a few years ago)!
Still, though, lately I’ve noticed a slight shift in attitudes towards gift-buying, with a few people I know saying they’re either dropping it altogether, other than for children, or are looking at ways to try to cut it down a little. So, I’m wondering: what do you do at this time of year? Do you buy gifts for everyone you know, or do you try to limit it in some way?