The Giving Spirit

My husband and I have started a tradition for shopping for each other for the holidays. It’s not traditional, and definitely takes some of the fun out of opening gifts on Christmas morning, but it works for us.

My tradition:
I fail miserably every year at trying to surprise him with a gift I know he wants, but I also know he’s not going to be able to wait for. This usually ends in me giving him the gift early to keep him from buying it himself. He doesn’t seem to mind at all – in fact, I think he secretly gets a kick out of getting his presents early…like he’s flipping tradition the bird.

His tradition:
He has started this thing where, in lieu of trying to surprise me with something he knows I probably don’t want/need/like, he will take me out shopping for a day so I can pick out whatever I want. This usually ends in me getting exactly what I want, he gets to be all proud of himself for buying me something nice, and I use it as an excuse to go out to lunch somewhere nice. While I do miss the surprise factor of opening a package on Christmas morning, I’m okay with making things as easy as possible for both of us.

So why don’t I just do the same for him, and take him out shopping for what he wants?

Well, two reasons:

1. He hates going out and dealing with hoards of crazed holiday shoppers. Last year, he took me out shopping for my holiday gift in the middle of the week when it was less busy. I can’t really do that, so he’d be stuck going out on the weekend. He would spend the whole day complaining about how busy it is, how much he hates people, and how he’s missing football. Not really my idea of a good time, or his.

2. The concept of “go buy whatever you want” only works when you can afford to pull it off. In fact, he makes roughly 3x as much as I do, so I don’t feel guilty making him pay for something nice for me once a year. I, however, can’t afford to do something that frivolous, so my gifts have to be well-planned and budgeted for. This means I can’t unleash him in a Best Buy and tell him “It’s on me.” I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it.

This year, I know what I want to get him…I just have to keep him from buying it himself for a couple more weeks. I might pull it off this year. I really might.

Oh, who am I kidding – I never do.

And that’s okay.

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