How To Compromise For Christmas

Love, Self

She loves gifts; he hates them.

My husband cannot shop. He’s awful at buying gifts. He tries really hard, but it’s just not his thing. One year, I got socks. Then there were the years where I got electronic gifts—fun for him, but not for me (and no woman really wants a clothes steamer as her big Christmas gift, no matter how useful it is). Once I got a fishing pole. He’s tried to buy jewelry, but I never like it.

I have to admit, I don’t understand why he can’t figure it out. After all, he’s been married to me for over 21 years. I love to buy gifts. Thinking about what the person would like, hunting it down, buying it and wrapping it up makes me feel so happy. Christmas was always big and over the top when I was a kid, so it’s what I grew up to expect. My husband’s family had more low key Christmases with fewer gifts. It’s just not as important to him as it is to me.

When I lived with my parents, I often got drafted to help my father shop for my mother. Because that made me so crazy (trying to live up HIS expectations as well as hers, on top of my own holiday obligations), I have put my foot down and refused to let my teen daughter shoulder any of the responsibility for him. Kids should not have to do their parents’ shopping! 6 Tips To Minimize Holiday Stress

In recent years we’ve been cutting back on gifts to each other and I now give him specific lists—with links—to try to help things along. And while of course it is the thought that counts, the problem is I know he hates shopping. The one day in December when he gives in and goes shopping is a miserable day for him, and by association for me because I know he’s suffering because of me.

And so, even though I absolutely love Christmas with a child-like excitement, I have learned, over the years, to try to put it aside and not let it be as important to me. There were too many years where I felt disappointed and hurt when I received gifts that were nothing like what I wanted. I think that part of marriage is compromise, and this has been one of the things I’ve done to make our lives simpler and happier. But that doesn’t stop me from eagerly eyeing the gifts under the tree, hoping that maybe this year, just this once, he got me something wonderful, unexpected and perfect. Calling All Men! 10 Gifts Your Lady Secretly Wants