As much as I complain about the cold weather that plagues the Midwest during the seemingly endless winter season, there’s something about the chill in December that’s almost comforting.
I love this time of year. I love snuggling my face into a new cozy scarf and sipping on spiked apple cider. I love that first snow, when it’s still pretty and magical. I love watching Christmas movies in the evenings with the Hubbster, and singing along with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I love sending out Christmas cards. I love the lights that don all the city trees and the holiday tunes playing in all of the stores. I love watching people excitedly find the perfect presents for their significant others.
Not joining them. Just watching. You see, my husband and I… We don’t do gifts.
We don’t do gifts, and there’s no way of easily explaining that to people without sounding like pretentious jerks who look down our noses on those who dare to express their love with material goods. We are absolutely not those jerks. When we first started dating (in high school, because we are cool like that), we did gifts on every major holiday. Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day–we gifted galore. I still have the stuffed elephant that he gave me on our first Valentine’s Day and sleep with it whenever he’s away for work. Gifts can be great. We have many friends and family members who put a lot of time and effort into giving thoughtful gifts that really show the person they love just how much they love them. And that’s fantastic. It’s just not us.
For us, gift-giving was always so stressful. And we realized a long time ago that we don’t express our love by giving gifts. We express our love in much more mundane ways. Every time he takes out the trash or empties the dishwasher without my asking, you’d think that he just gave me a diamond necklace the way I fawn over him. And every time I make him dinner–whether it’s just whipping up an omelette, heating up some leftovers or cooking a three-course meal complete with his favorite pie–he says ‘Thank you, baby’ with the same genuine level of love and gratitude every time. If you’re familiar with the 5 Love Languages, (which I think are totally accurate) you’ll see that we both speak mostly “acts of service” as opposed to “receiving gifts.” Once we realized this and took the pressure off of buying each other presents, the holidays became much easier.
Except when someone asks,”What are you getting him/her for Christmas?”
“We don’t do gifts” is always met with shock and confusion. We do our best to try and to find a non-douchey way to explain it. Unfortunately there isn’t one. At least not a short one. So hopefully this clarifies things for both the gift-giving and non-gift-giving of you on the interwebs. Gifts just aren’t our love language.