Before I begin this Marriage Monday post, there's something you should know about me. I love to give good gifts. I sort of pride myself on it. I always try to get a gift that I know someone will love, and I'm always super bummed when something doesn't work out. I try to listen to people and the things they say they want. And I always try to dazzle them with a great gift, that's also something unexpected. I would say that, for the most part, I have a good track record.
That being said, with the holidays coming up soo soon, I figured it was a good time to talk about giving gifts when you're in a relationship, particularly when you're married. Do you and your significant other exchange gifts for holidays, birthdays, and other gift-giving events? A.P. and I do, though sometimes we're a bit lazy about it. For instance, we didn't give each other a gift on our 1st wedding anniversary or our 5th year anniversary as a couple, both of which we celebrated this year. Why not? Because we didn't do it, said we were going to, and ended up not. We do that a lot.
Christmas, however, is a big blowout. We do gifts. A lot of them. And it's not necessarily about spending a ton of money either. It's really about finding gifts you know the other will love (and needs). It's about making the other person smile big. And just like me, A.P. really loves to give gifts, too. And he sort of prides himself on his gift-giving ability, too.
The reason we're so big on gifts, though, is because we feel that if we didn't give each other great gifts, we'd never get any. You see, both of our families are kind of not so great with the gift giving. A.P.'s family will either give us stuff we don't need or a gift card (which is actually awesome...when we remember to use them). My family gives weird stuff we don't really need...or sometimes like, which means it ends up being crammed into some corner never to be used. Or, too, my mother's new thing is to give us old stuff from our childhood. It cracks me up, too, because you're always supposed to act like it's so awesome to get random crap you haven't seen in 20 years (and that you now have to find space for in your own home). Anyway, we never feel like we get good stuff. We never get to smile big. I don't know that A.P. and I ever discussed intentionally doing it up big for Christmas or if it just sort of happened that way. We both have a lot of fond memories of Christmas and opening gifts and I think we just wanted to have the same types of memories in our relationship.
The first year that A.P. and I were together as a couple, I had no idea what to get him. I wanted to give him something personal and special. He studied economics and still loves all things related. At first I wanted to get him cuff links, knowing that he likes nice stuff for his dress clothes (e.g. ties, shoes, etc.). I figured that would be a nice touch to his wardrobe. I wanted one cuff link to say "supply" and the other to say "demand." As it turns out, though, A.P. doesn't wear shirts with which you can wear cuff links. He has a hard time finding French cuffed shirts in his size. So, instead I found a beautiful sterling silver whistle key chain, which had a little tag that I had engraved with those words on each side. Then, I attached two keys to the ring. They were the keys to my apartment.
That first Christmas with A.P. was so magical. I would say that was when I really realized that I loved A.P. (though we didn't say it to each other for a long time after). There's something so magical about the season and it is by far one of my most favorite times of year! But it's not just about the gift giving (though that is a lot of fun). It's also about the snow, the magic, Santa Claus, Christmas music, and memories. And most of all, it's about A.P. and the traditions that we are starting in our own little family. And I guess, big gift giving is a part of that.
Some families do kids only gifts, some do grab bags, some do no gifts at all. For instance, my brother and his wife don't exchange gifts at all. In fact, they never even celebrated Christmas until they had kids. A.P.'s father and stepmother don't do gifts or decorations or even anything fancy anymore. They stopped when their kids grew up and had their own families. We have friends who exchange one gift. And I know some people who do a handmade gift. But us, well, we'll do big gift giving as long as we can. What can I say? We love putting those big smiles on each other's faces!
So...do you exchange gifts during the holidays? Or do you have a different tradition?