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Married couples with differing views on Christmas presents

(41 Posts)
BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 15:30:03

Presents for each other, that is - we don't have DCs.

As with all my threads, worth keeping in mind that DW is not from the same country, and Christmas is very superficial here. Decorations go up, but it doesn't have any religious meaning. The most popular Christmas meal is the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket! One department famously some years back had a Christmas display in their window of Santa Claus............nailed to the cross!

Anyway, I love Christmas, as do my parents. We aren't religious at all, but exchanging presents and having a traditional meal is very important to us.

DW is very frugal, as many of her countrypeople are, and doesn't like wasting money. We are lucky enough to have that in common most of the time.

Our financial position is good - enough to buy more or less whatever we need. So for Christmas what seems sensible to me is to buy the other person something that they would like, but would probably not get round to getting for themselves. Plus a few amusing, cheap stocking fillers.

I have suggested ideas to DW, and she is very good at finding funny cheap presents for both me and my parents. The problem is getting ideas from her for her main present.

I have asked her a few times for some ideas, but nothing has been forthcoming. In the past I have gone for expensive scarves or jewellery, which were appreciated, but later she did say she didn't really need them, as she has quite a few already, and thought it was an unneccessary extravagance. Lasst year, fortunately, she came across a nice watch she wanted. This year, she hasn't given me a single idea.

Honestly, I don't want to nag her for ideas - Christmas is supposed to be fun, not stressful, but she doesn't want me to surprise her. I have terrible taste in clothes, so can't really buy them for her - the scarf I got many second opinions on.

Anyone else have problems shopping for their partner's Christmas pressies?

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 15:31:50

So AIBU in wanting ideas from DW?

I'm not labouring the issue, but every so often - two weeks or so - I say something along the lines of "Do let me know if there's something I can get you - not long to Christmas now".

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 15:37:33

YAB a bit U in asking for Christmas present ideas when it's October, and YABVU to be worried that she hasn;t yet given you an idea for what to buy for her when there's more than two months to go

CwtchesAndCuddles Sun 14-Oct-12 15:39:01

We only do token gifts for each other, I hate being bought expensive things I don't need / want. If there is something I would like eg a new watch I will make it known.

How about tickets for something or a tripaway?

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Oct-12 15:42:21

oooh yes, tickets to something is a good plan.

Other ideas, what's your budget? You could think of things that are roughly in budget then ask her if she'd like them for christmas. But it's only October, there's lots of time to be worrying.

mum11970 Sun 14-Oct-12 15:43:54

Does she like reading? You could get a kindle, if she's already got one get an amazon voucher for books.

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 15:44:17

Trills, you are right, it is early, but I left it late around her birthday - reminded her three weeks before, and with no suggestions at all, I had to do my best. I didn't do too badly, but they weren't romantic, more practical, for the most part.

I will also be returning to England briefly next month, so if there is anything from England she would like, I will need to know quite soon.

CAndC, that is more or less how she feels. We have our trips for the next few months all planned, but thanks for the idea.

Hopandaskip Sun 14-Oct-12 15:44:21

We do have kids, so bear that in mind...

We also celebrate solstice, not Christmas.

How we do it is "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read", can you think of anything that would fit those?

I also like to give and receive experiential presents, a gift certificate for a morning sailing plus brunch at a favourite restaurant, hot air balloon ride, tickets to a concert/show etc or a trip somewhere.

I personally think the very best presents my DH has given me is not when I ask for anything, but he sees something that bothers me and trouble shoots. One year it was an all singing, dancing garlic press because I was hating the one we had and the fact that noone ever cleaned it out and it stunk. He did a ton of research to find out what was regarded as the best garlic press. Another year I was complaining that I wish we hadn't got rid of the ugly plastic placemats because the kids were getting food all over the table. He had placemats printed and professionally laminated that had photos of the family from the past year all over them.

ElectricMonk Sun 14-Oct-12 15:44:25

If she doesn't want a "thing", how about a weekend in a nice hotel/b&b in a city she would like to visit? I'd be delighted if I was surprised with a visit to Whitby, Oxford, London (I love the British Museum), Exeter, Canterbury, Warwick, Bath etc. Vouchers for nightclasses in something she wants to do or National Trust membership could be nice as an alternative, if either of those would appeal to her.

If you are set on a "thing", good quality, comfortable and beautiful shoes are rarely an extravagance, as long as she likes them and isn't duplicating a pair that she already has.

ElectricMonk Sun 14-Oct-12 15:46:50

Oh, another alternative - if you don't already have one, could you put together a beautiful photo album as a surprise?

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 15:46:53

Would love to get her a kindle - it would save a lot on buying books from the UK, but she doesn't want one. The range on books in her language on it is quite small.

The budget is not an issue. I really appreciate the ideas but I more wondered if anyone else had a partner who wasn't really bothered about presents, and was hard to buy for.

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Oct-12 15:52:03

well then, I love presents, but I also love that DH picks them for me. I love it even more when he picks well.

Have you thought that she doesn't like having to tell you what to get her, more she wants you to think of something she'd like and it be a proper present (and a posh scarf is a bit of a cop out on that front, not personal at all unless she's a scarf sort).

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 14-Oct-12 15:53:38

You're not being unreasonable in wanting ideas. But she's not being unreasonable in not providing them either. I'm like your wife, can never think of anything I would like as a present. MY DH often gets me something based on an off-the-cuff comment I have made, e.g. mentioning some possession is damaged/getting a bit past it, he will gift me a lovely replacement.

CailinDana Sun 14-Oct-12 15:55:56

We've decided this year not to buy each other any big present, but to splash out on an expensive tv that we wouldn't otherwise buy (given our current tv is old and crappy but functions fine). Is there some big household thing she would like - a new bed?

I'm not bothered about presents at all. I like the sentiment but hate getting things I don't need or want. I'm very aware though that DH puts huge importance on presents and stresses out if he can't get me something so I try to relieve the pressure by thinking of something - like the tv idea this year. I've also sorted my own birthday present, which will involve him looking after DS while I bugger off on a jolly with my sister smile Is your DW genuinely not bothered what you get her? Because in that case I would take her at her word and just get her a few small things to open on the day.

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 15:57:02

Actually the National Trust idea has given me food for thought. We don't live in England, but she does like art, so I will maybe see if the nearby museums do season tickets.

Don'tmind, that has occurred to me, and I do that when I don't get any ideas from her. The scarf was the brand she likes, and was far from the only thing I got her. She liked it, but was conscious that she didn't really need it.

foreverondiet Sun 14-Oct-12 16:01:39

YABU to be posting about this in OCTOBER!!!

Just tell her you would really like to buy her a nice present can she think of anything, ideally before your trip... If she can't think of anything well, thats up to her.

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 16:02:05

Presents should always be things that you don't "need".

If you "need" something and you can afford it then you should just get it, not have to wait for Christmas or a birthday.

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Oct-12 16:06:19

Well then, perhaps you need to make it clear that this year, you'd like to get her something she doesn't need but would like. That this year, you want to get her something that isn't practical, that she couldnt justify getting herself, but will like.

Mind you, don't listen to me, I'm going to ask for an armchair for our living room and some new caserole pots, really need to think of fun things for next year... smile

chris481 Sun 14-Oct-12 16:08:19

I am an Economist subscriber, there I learned that the custom of giving presents destroys economic value. The value placed on presents by the recipients is less than the cost to the givers. For this reason, money is generally the most sensible gift.

I don't think people who have enough to buy what they want should be given presents. In many societies that probably means buying for children only.

Personally, I would rather give a gift in cash of ten times what is considered appropriate value than endure the torture that would be involved in choosing and procuring a "good" present. Women I've known who like the idea of presents have no idea of the stress and suffering this expectation imposes.

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 16:09:06

I can't help it, forever. I am a meticulous planner, and especially so about this, having not got ideas in the past.

Trills, poor choice of words, maybe. What I meant was that she had more than enough such scarves already, in her opinion, so she saw it as needless extravagance.

Whereyouleftit, you're right, she isn't being unreasonable in not being able to think of ideas. It's important to have a balance between asking for them but not to the point of it bacoming annoying nagging.

Cailin, I will indeed end up doing that as a last resort. I can do it without her suggestions, but it would nice to get her something she really wants as well.

Really appreciate everyone taking the time to reply.

StuntGirl Sun 14-Oct-12 16:18:42

What kind of things does she buy you?

Arisbottle Sun 14-Oct-12 16:22:48

If she doesn't want gifts YABU to insist that she has them.

I can remember being with someone who loved buying presents and I hated Christmas and birthdays because of it

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 16:27:09

For Christmas last year I got cufflinks, a Swatch, some suggestively-shaped sweets, a James Bond Blu-ray (requested), a cover for my kindle and a flashing light for my briefcase (for when I walk home in the dark).

Vix07 Sun 14-Oct-12 16:35:14

Badlad Was it you posting recently about your DW being keen on an overseas secondment?

Perhaps organising a special trip away might help assuage those itchy feet?

BadLad Sun 14-Oct-12 16:41:00

Yes, that was me.

Next overseas trip is already planned. Will perhaps try a quick hot spring trip in the meantime.

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