On: Gift Giving
I have a confession: I am a horrible gift giver. There, I said it. I can never think what to give people and usually end up just giving something generic like a candle or lotion, or something that is kind of neat, but will really just clutter up the receiver’s house. All because I HAD to get them a gift (Christmas, birthdays, mother’s/father’s day, etc).
Luckily (or unluckily, I can’t decide) I married someone who is also a horrible gift giver, so we just kind of have a rule that we don’t get each other gifts, it’s awesome. When we first started dating, I still felt the pressure to get him gifts, but didn’t know what to get (guys are so hard to shop for!). I specifically remember one year in college, running to Wal Mart the day before his birthday and frantically searching for a present for him. I think I ended up getting him some Simpson’s boxers and a t-shirt. I love the Simpson’s, he thinks it’s okay, and he probably didn’t need more boxers or a t-shirt. So glad that’s over.
He used to always send me flowers for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. but that stopped pretty quickly once we started combining our finances, we don’t really need to spend our money on flowers that will look pretty for a few days and then die. Guys, let’s be real here, unless your significant other is REALLY into getting flowers, it’s kind of a cop out. If that’s the only thing you get her (or flowers + chocolates), you didn’t really have to think hard or put any effort into what you were getting her, and they’ll die/be gone in a few days and she’s left with no present! Meanwhile, she has to hunt for something you’re going to love, probably spend just as much money on a watch, tie, whatever, and you’ll have it forever! Just sayin’.
Usually, we just go out to dinner for birthdays/anniversaries and don’t worry about gifts. So much less stressful! And for Christmas, we usually think of something big we’ve already bought, or are planning to buy, and say that was our Christmas present to ourselves. Several years that has been a trip to a K-State bowl game, one year it was a dishwasher since ours went kaput one week before Thanksgiving (luckily we were able to get a new one ASAP since we were hosting Thanksgiving!), this year it was an Instant Pot! #adulting, am I right?
The bad thing about having a husband who is also a horrible gift giver, is that when there’s something we HAVE to give a gift for (Christmas, kid’s birthdays) he is absolutely no help. And I also have to wrap all the presents. We are both bad gift givers, but it has to be done, so why does it always fall on me? So I end up going out (probably the night before the event) and buy some random toy I think they might like. If it’s an adult, unless we can think of something really great, it’s gift card city. Bam. Done.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the “giving” aspect, and making people happy when they get something they really want, but who am I to know what someone else really wants?? When I can think of a gift that I think is really great, it makes me happy, I get excited about it and can’t wait for them to open it, and hope they get just as excited about it. This year for Christmas, we actually thought of gifts for our parents, so we didn’t have to “settle” for gift cards. I was so excited, I actually wanted to give my parents their present early, I was that excited about it, but I held back.
I’ve decided what we all need to do is make wish lists just like we did as kids. I actually really like participating in Secret Santa at work. If you write down a list of things you like and that I can buy within a specified budget, I can buy the crap out of that and find a sneaky way to get it to you. So why can’t we all do that? Because it lessens the spirit of giving? It’s “cheating” in some way? Wouldn’t you rather give, and receive, gifts that are actually wanted and won’t just clutter up your house?? I have started making wish lists on Amazon for my children, and if I think of something I want I will send a link to my parents or MIL, but even that’s often difficult. We buy everything we need (and want, honestly) as we need it, and the kids already have SO MANY TOYS. That’s where the college fund comes in, we always encourage fewer material gifts and more contributions to the college fund, but of course grandparents always want lots of fun things for the kids to open. Sigh.
What’s your take on gift giving? Is it something you love or dread? Any great tips to help me out??