My name is Heather… and I am a Christmas shopaholic (… hi, Heather…). The day after Christmas is never too soon for me to start shopping for next Christmas (in my opinion). Some years, I have gifts for the next Christmas already purchased before the current Christmas season has passed. Considering how much I don’t enjoy the run of the mill, every day, shopping, I do get a spring in my step when I have money in my pocket to spend on gifts. Eric is the practical, black and white, thinker in our family. If not for his good grasp of a dollar, I would spend up to half our money on gifts for people (or maybe even more than half). Okay, so I think I’ve made myself clear… I love to Christmas shop.
However, there is a downfall to my love of Christmas shopping. Sometimes I get overzealous and purchase… shall we say… junk.
Early in our marriage, I would get Eric toys. Things you would buy for a three-year-old would end up under the tree. Maybe he and I had seen a fun movie together and the action figure was available. Or, perhaps there was a stuffed Siberian Husky at Target. Oh, and let’s not leave out coloring books! Soon, I learned that just because Eric liked dogs and certain movies did not mean he wanted to color pictures of them.
The first Christmas or so he got about 80% kid stuff and 20% adult items. He kindly asked me if perhaps I could flip the ratio and get him 20% fun kid stuff and 80% adult items. It was hard, but I finally found the strength to comply with his wishes. The amount of junk in our house decreased after I stopped buying him thirty dollar store items per holiday!
Christmas shopping for your special man or lady can be a challenge. You want to appeal to their tastes, surprise them, and show them how much you care about them. This may not always come naturally to you, but it should get easier with each Christmas you spend together.
The reason I got Eric such silly gifts is twofold:
- I didn’t know him as well as I do now and I was grasping for things that I thought might appeal to him – or make him smile.
- I wanted him to have several things to open on Christmas Day, so I put less thought into the quality of the gift and shopped based on quantity. Quantity is fun on Christmas Day, but after all the gifts are opened and the wrapping paper is thrown away, what is left?
On my 22nd birthday, Eric got me the Back to the Future trilogy. We weren’t married yet, so he did not consider the weight of such a gift (he didn’t know that it was banned at my parents’ house and later found that I play it over and over and over again – mwuahaha….). It was the only gift he got me that year and it is still bringing me joy to this day!
For his next (28th) birthday, I thought it would be fun to give him an age appropriate gift for every year. So, he got everything from a baby rattle (representing year 1 of 28) to sunglasses, all cheap (twenty-eight gifts is a lot!). He had so much fun opening all the gifts that I missed the point and thought he wanted quantity. What he loved about the gifts for his birthday was the creativity involved (I also gave him a card with a poem, each line representing a gift, in order), not the amount of gifts given.
So, how do you shop for that special someone? The best thing you can possibly do to aid in gift giving is getting to know him or her as well as watching and listening carefully. Watch to see the items they gravitate toward whenever you are out on the town. Learn their favorite colors, musicians, cars, etc. When they comment on something they like, make a mental note.
Each year, I complain that Eric never tells me what he wants for Christmas. He prefers being surprised and he usually, honestly, doesn’t have a list of things he wants in mind. He tells me that he lets me know when he sees things that appeal to him, but I never seem to remember what he says. Learn from my mistakes and listen to your special someone! Discover if they prefer homemade, sentimental gifts, store bought gifts, or a combination. Would she prefer a poem to a necklace? Would he rather have an experience or a video game?
So, are you ready to find out the three gifts which will make him or her smile this Christmas?
- Find one that is completely them. Maybe it’s a movie he’s been wanting, a piece of jewelry she’s been eyeing, or anything that will be an obvious hit.
- Then, find a gift that is playful and fun. This doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs to appeal to the fun side of your relationship. Maybe you had a hilarious skiing experience that makes you both laugh whenever you talk about it. Some type of reminder of that time (a Christmas tree ornament of someone skiing, a skiing bumper sticker, etc.) will be sure to bring a smile to his or her face. Just be careful not to overspend on this type of gift.
- Lastly, buy something that is specific to your relationship. One year, Eric bought me a porcelain gazelle. We had paid off all of our consumer debt that year and the gazelle was a reminder of the accomplishment we’d made in that past year (a la Dave Ramsey from Proverbs 6:1-5).
Shopping in this fashion shows that you are paying attention to him or her, it shows that you enjoy your time with him or her, and it shows that you value the relationship. As you grow together, you will learn how to shop for your significant other more effectively.
Not everyone enjoys Christmas shopping as much as I do, but I do challenge you to make shopping for your significant other fun. Even bring friends along for advice… if you trust their advice. ‘Tis the season to shop and to show the one you love how special they are to you!
What are you planning to give to your honey for Christmas that will make him or her smile?