It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage!
Today I want to take a break from our "intimacy" run we've been on lately and talk about presents.
Christmas presents are a landmine in most homes because women fall into two categories:
1. Those who honestly, truly do not want their husband to spend a ton of money or buy a lot of stuff, because if we want it we get it ourselves;
2. Those who really, really want a nice present under the tree.
Photo by metaphysicalplatypus
Which group you're in often depends upon disposable income; if a family has enough that she tends to buy what she wants, she often doesn't want presents. If the family has been tight for money, presents are nice because it's him agreeing to spend money on something she wants.
The problem is, however, that those in group 1 have husbands who believe they're actually in group 2, and those in group 2 have husbands who believe they're actually in group 1. We can never seem to get on the same page.
I've been telling my husband for years, for instance, that I really don't want anything for Christmas. And I mean it. I have everything I need, and I don't want him spending money without us talking about it together. What I'd really like is just some time together, or to play games with the kids, or a more relaxed Christmas season. I don't want to stress trying to find something to buy him when he already has what he wants, too (and we both have hobbies that are so specific that to buy for each other is really hard).
He, on the other hand, thinks that it's all a test, so every year when we vow not to buy anything for each other, presents for me end up under the tree anyway, causing me to have to buy something for him.
I have a friend, however, who is in the opposite situation. Money has been tight, and there are a few things she would desperately like to spend money on. She's hinted to her husband what those things would be, but he doesn't get the hint. And he usually buys her something small, that she already has 15 of. She, on the other hand, keeps track of what he wants, and she saves money all year to buy him something nice, like a nice TV to replace the one they've had for twenty years.
I think she's really in the worse position, because on Christmas morning she feels hurt that he didn't put more thought into it, whereas I just feel a little perturbed when my kids whisper to me on December 22 that Daddy did, actually, get me a present and I now have to go shopping. Hurt is worse than perturbed by far.
What I don't understand is why we can't seem to get on the same page. I have explained this to my husband many times, but he still feels that it is his duty to buy me a present. My friend has told her husband after birthdays, or anniversaries, or Christmases when the present was lame that she would appreciate some thought, but it doesn't come.
So, here's my question today: what do you suggest? What should women do to create a Christmas that is more peaceful and satisfying?
Here are a few extra thoughts:
1. What does the husband want? I've been focusing on the wife's feelings, but what does he want? Maybe my friend's husband honestly is simply worried about money and wants to keep the family afloat.
2. How do you communicate things well to your husband? I have heard of one woman who asked two close friends to email her husband a month before birthday, anniversary, and Christmas to give him gift suggestions and stores to get those gifts at. She hasn't had a problem since. But I'm not sure how many husbands would appreciate it!
What are your thoughts? What do you do in your family? And is it stressful? Let me know!
Labels: Christmas, marriage, wifey wednesdays