The Why's and How's of Great Gift Giving For Your Relationship
Does gift buying stress you out? Malls make you queasy? Do you stand and stare at possible items and realize you have no idea what to buy that special someone on your list? If birthdays, anniversaries or the 24th of December catch you by surprise every year, gift giving might not be your thing. For many people it isn't. You may not feel loved or naturally express love by giving gifts and that is okay. However, giving gifts is still an act of love, listed as one of The 5 Love Languages and it just might be the primary love language of your partner. Because of this, gifts shouldn't be ignored. To someone with gifts as a love language it is truly the thought that counts and it is worth your attention.
So, now that you are thinking about it, how do you get something that will be meaningful and not just an exercise in consumerism?
Sometimes it is easy. I have this friend Amy who I love buying gifts for and love receiving gifts from because we get each other and always have. We have a long history, have similar tastes and like to shop. You might not have a lot of shared tastes with your partner, however, the ease of buying the right gift for anyone can be available to you with some simple planning and effort.
Go shopping, or worse, browsing, with your partner:
If you hate shopping, browsing is a lot to ask, but for a few times during the year, if your partner is going shopping so are you. I know my husband would definitely prefer a goal orientated shopping trip, an in and out approach to the outing, but it would save him a lot of grief to come anyway, watch and learn.
My brain is a steel trap on this kind of thing, as someone who listens for a living, this comes naturally and is handy for buying gifts, but even if you aren't hawk like on another's interests, you can work on this and have some success. How do you remember? Don't. Just write it down, start a computer file, or put it in your phone and keep track of a few things your partner likes throughout the year. Or buy it then. Why wait for the last hour? Get a box, hide the box and fill it with the things your partner likes or said they needed.
Take their friend with you:
I used to joke with Amy, that I could help a guy woo her, Roxanne style, with the vast gift knowledge I have on her. Amy would be a great person for my husband to take with him, actually a number of my friends could be helpful. So if you don't know what to get your partner take the aunt, best friend, sister, etc.
Look around your house:
There are clues everywhere. Find a dog eared magazine lying around and get an issue of that magazine or one in a similar genre, notice the types of notebooks your partner uses, favourite beauty products but ignore the barely touched ones, check out clothing labels for a good idea of the types of stores they like. Also, check the browser for the wishful online basket items that have never been purchased.
Make A gallant gesture and buy what you normally wouldn't:
My husband has bought me food items he thinks are vile, magazines, even though he thinks I have too many lying around, and beauty products, which he also believes are a plenty. Why? Because he knows that I will appreciate the sacrificial gesture. I know this isn't exactly Gift of Magi with the woman cutting off her hair to buy her husband a watch chain and him selling his watch to buy her combs, but I find it sweet, and your partner might too!
Buy something, make something, do something! No excuses:
I have been a counsellor long enough to have seen many a couple say that they don't care about gifts, only to later remark with sadness about how their partner never acknowledges occasions. If you balk at the materialism of occasions, that is fine, a gift can be so many things, a donation in their name, a meaningful card, a coupon book of acts of service. It is important for acknowledgment in some way. Even for the kids. They love to see their parents exchanging tokens of affections so it is good relationship modelling.
Need I say more?
So give it a try, you still have a few weeks to watch, track clues, grab a friend, buy what annoys you, ask for a list, or make a heart felt anything for this Christmas. Don't get stuck in the difficulties of buying for your partner or the inertia of past fails. Try something new this year armed with a few more tricks up your sleeve. It will be good for your relationship.