I’ve seen multiple articles circulating around Facebook about the importance of not making Christmas about material goods. I understand that sentiment. Many of these are centered around children, and trying to teach them to be thankful for what they have. However, I’ve also seen some discussions about gift giving between adults. I was recently talking to a friend who said that she only gives her boyfriend things he needs, such as socks or gloves, or tools for his job. She made a comment about how he could spend his own money to buy items that he wants.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 9 years now. Until recently I hadn’t really put much thought into our gift giving practices. I think we’ve both just done what felt normal to us, which was to splurge on each other during Christmas. I started wondering if that was the “right” thing to do or not. While I hadn’t really thought about my reasons why in the past, once I did think about it I found several reasons to support splurging on Ryan for Christmas.
1. Neither of us get gifts from anyone else most years. If I don’t get him something fun, nobody else will either. Of course, wants are not needs so if we had to go without that would be fine. However, getting at least one thing you actually want for Christmas certainly makes it feel more like Christmas to us than it otherwise would.
2. He doesn’t splurge on himself. We’ve never been in a financial position where we had much spending money on a month to month basis. If I had to guess, I would say he maybe spends $200-$300 a year on “toys” for himself. The fact that he isn’t generous in treating himself makes me feel like I should treat him when the opportunity arises.
3. He is generous in his gifts to me. I would feel bad for only getting him gifts that met needs of his, when I know that he often buys me a few things that I want but don’t need.
4. He understands what the holidays are about. I know that he values spending time with our families and the historical context to holidays. I don’t feel like altering how much I gift to him would alter his perspective on the importance of family or the holiday itself. I understand why people don’t want kids to grow up thinking of holidays as a day to get gifts, but I don’t really understand how that would work with adults who already understand the holiday.
5. The timing is good with our income. I usually have a higher-than-usual income in December. His birthday is in the spring which is a tough time period for us because of tax time and being self-employed at tax time means paying in, never getting a return. Honestly, there are years where his birthday gift is very small and cheap if our taxes costs more than we anticipated. Christmas is timed better for our finances so I like to take advantage of the time period and splurge a bit.
6. We don’t have kids yet. I know that in the future Christmas will be a more expensive time of year because we’ll have kids to buy for. Right now it’s just us. We do get gifts for our extended family members but that will never change. So this time period in our lives should be the cheapest Christmas periods we’ll probably ever have.
7. The holidays are (somewhat) about giving. I love the feeling that comes with giving a nice gift to someone else. If I were to skimp on getting a fun, nice gift for my boyfriend I wouldn’t be doing much giving myself.
Do you splurge on your significant other (or others) for Christmas? Why or why not?