Christmas Gifts

When my husband and I first got married, buying Christmas presents for each other was easy.  We were young and strapped for cash, so we both had a long list of things that we really wanted and would be happy to find wrapped up under the tree on Christmas morning.  I always tried for a variety when purchasing my husband’s gifts, usually settling on something like  new after-shave lotion, a wallet, a flannel shirt and maybe a money clip.  My husband was a firm believer in going with a sure thing, which is why one year I received four wool skirts, purchased from the Bargain Basement of a local department store.  They were the exact same skirt, only in different colors.  And he knew I would like them and they were the right size, because I already had one hanging in my closet.  I actually saw him checking the tag on it one day in early December.

But as the years have gone by, Christmas shopping for each other has become more of a challenge.  My husband now has plenty of clothes, a good supply of after-shave lotion, and there’s only so many years in a row that I can get away with giving a money clip or a wallet. But the problem is that there’s rarely anything new or original on his Christmas list.  He usually asks for a new golf glove, even though he only plays golf about once a year.  Apparently, each time he plays, he manages to lose his glove.

I know he doesn’t have it any easier trying to buy me a gift.  Most of my favorite authors aren’t especially popular and their books are out of print and hard to find.  Since I have reached the age where my body has, how shall I say, both settled and expanded, I usually need to try on any new clothes before buying.  And like my husband, I honestly have all the things I need and most of the things I want.  (Or at least the sort of things that can be wrapped and put under a tree.  The last I checked, world peace, end to animal and child abuse, etc. don’t fit in a gift box.)

img_2121But that’s okay, because with each year that goes by, I find myself even less focused the gift-giving aspect of Christmas.  We will, of course, exchange some gifts with each other and our kids on Christmas morning, and it will be a fun time.  But those aren’t the real Christmas gifts at all.  The real gift was having some friends over for a Christmas celebration, all crammed together in my living room, talking and laughing.  It was having the kids and their spouses for dinner and a rowdy game of bingo, and then meeting them a few nights later for a drink at a festive, if somewhat tacky, pop-up Christmas bar.  And tonight, it will be singing Silent Night in a beautiful sanctuary, lit only by the candles in our hands.  It’s a magical moment that, for me, defines the whole Christmas season.

Christmas shopping may be more difficult these days, but as far as I’m concerned, my Christmas gifts–those moments and memories that I truly treasure–just keep getting better.

60 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts

  1. Similarly challenging for Holly and I having gone through the same dynamics early on in our marriage. We went very light on our gifts to each other so that we could get the kids as much as possible. And now, like you, we are blessed and have everything we want and need. It will be a quiet and different Christmas this year with just my daughter and the five dogs. And I figure I’m off the hook for a few years since I bought Holly a new house this past Spring. 🙂 Just kidding – everything we buy and do we do together as a team. It’s been that way for 34 years and I hope for 34 more. This is the only gift I need at Christmas is our collective health and ongoing blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well, bear in mind that my taste is unconventional, but I do love mysteries, and I enjoy Andrew Taylor, Gwendoline Butler, Kathy Hogan Trochek, Magdelan Nabb, and Michael Bond (he wrote the Paddington Bear series, but his Msr. Pamplemousse series are mysteries for adults and are a hoot if you read the earlier ones). In addition to mystery writers, I also like Tracy Chevalier, Haven Kimmel, and then some writers that are well known, like Jon Katz and Ann Patchett. I also really like Amy Tan’s “The Opposite of Fate,” which is her autobiography. As I said, odd taste, but I enjoy the books! Like you, I enjoy reading books more than just about anything else. Sometimes I like an author’s ideas, other times it is his or her way with words, and still others can do a gripping plot. Any of those will make me willing to read!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Me and mine usually give each other cds or dvds – his I always get right because I ask him what he wants first; his to me – sometimes are spot on, sometimes not. But always given with love which is the important thing. Enjoy your celebrations, friends and family, and happy Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. While I agree with everyone that love is really the best gift, this reminds me how easy it is to make my Dad happy. I can spend a dollar on a bag of Twizzlers for him and it will make him happy for a day. It’s a simple gesture of how much I appreciate my family to give gifts. I recently realized my mother loves vegan soap. Any other gift she will appreciate, but the soap she can use on her legs as a medication for an illness that she has. I love my parents every year. But for one day I like to see my parents indulge in the little things that light them up because usually they don’t think about themselves.

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  4. My very favorite “salad years” Christmas was the year when we were so poor we could only afford bargain basement wrapping paper and a couple of spools of cheap ribbon, with which we wrapped emptied pantry boxes of what we WOULD be gifting if money were no object.

    We unwrapped gifts for hours that Christmas morn, delighted at how well we knew what would delight the other, were we of the 1% crowd of which we knew we would never be a part. The only “real” present of the bunch was a pair of inexpensive gloves I bought for him on special, because his had gone missing, the winter was unusually harsh and he sorely needed gloves. My gift actually upset him because he had no “real” gift for me under our Charlie Brown Christmas tree, decorated with a single strand of lights, bits of ribbon and home-made ornaments.

    I have never received gifts of greater worth.

    Although my soul mate is no longer on this earth, I still have the notes and cut out pictures of the gifts from that particular year, always a reminder that it’s what’s in the heart, not in the box, that really counts.

    Merry Christmas
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My wife and I, both in the seventies, share your sentiments on Christmas gifts. We have reached the point where we can say we have each other, our family and friends. And then there is the true meaning of Christmas reminding us of the greatest gift of all, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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  6. Beautiful post Ann and my sentiments exactly. Our gifts have become smaller but what counts is the love and thought that’s gone into them. And of course, as you said, the best gifts are those that money can’t buy. Hope your Christmas was filled with much joy and laughter Ann. xo

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  7. My husband and I also have most of what we need, so we share stockings. I love what my husband gave me: 5 different types of inexpensive watches to wear each day of the week for work. I gave him lottery tickets (scratch offs) and we will take a mini vacation together if time and money allow. We are in our mid 50’s also. My husband seems to handle aging sometimes better than me. Oh, and I also received a year at a local health club. Great deal, and all paid for. Met lots of people just like me trying to get their mid life together. Happy 2017!

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  8. I’m sure many of your readers can identify with you and your husband’s situation, Ann. The gift giving part of Christmas is fun when there are young children in the house, but as we age, it’s the companionship and good cheer of Christmas that becomes increasingly important. That’s been our experience anyway.

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  9. As always, beautifully expressed Ann, and directly from your heart..:)
    You’re so right about having all the material things we need. But the gifts that are most important remain in our hearts with those we hold near. Christmas, or any day for that matter, wouldn’t be the same without them.
    I hope you had a blessed Christmas and have a happy and healthy New Year😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, George, and I hope you had a blessed Christmas, too! One of the few benefits of aging is the clarity we develop about what is truly important. It’s people, the ones we love, not stuff. I was lucky enough to receive many nice gifts this Christmas, but my favorite, by far, is the time I spent with my family and close friends!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, please don’t apologize! We are all behind, because we are busy with the holidays and that’s how it should be. Honestly, I just feel lucky that anyone bothered to read something I posted on Christmas Eve, much less comment on it, no matter when they did it. When I count my Christmas gifts, I most definitely include my blogging friends. Thanks for being one of those gifts!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Spot on, once again. I sometimes wonder if you are peeking at my list of things to write about because, this blog was almost exactly (minus the golf glove) how I would have described our Christmas. I told those who buy gifts for my husband and myself, that the gift of time is worth so much more than any sweater or wallet. We also stepped out and hosted an Ugly Sweater party for our friends and neighbors and that was something we will continue on next year. Well written. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of a personal ugly sweater party! We met my kids, their spouses and my mother for a breakfast on Christmas Eve, and my daughter told me to wear an ugly sweater. I didn’t have one (I gave it to her years before for college Christmas Ugly Sweater party), but I did wear my christmas light necklace, turned on flashing. And the kids have great ugly sweaters! It was so much fun.
      As for the similarities in our ideas for posts….great minds do think alike, don’t they? Merry Christmas, my friend!


  11. Are you sick of hearing that I still and always agree with everything you say/write? We’re at the Christmas gift part of marriage where new tires count for each other’s gifts. But the magic of Christmas is our tree, the grandchildren and Church. The feeling that I’m reminded to be patient and kind and put others before myself. If everyone did that, problems would cease. If only I could remember to do that more than a few times a year…….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I hate the commercialism and how we are manipulated by advertisers to buy, buy, buy. I always rebel like a Scrooge – until Christmas Eve and day. I love watching the little ones open their gifts! As for my husband and I, we always had a tradition that we exchanged our gifts late on Christmas Eve, after the kids were in bed and asleep and “Santa Claus” had come. We stopped doing that a few years ago when money got really tight. Your post has inspired me to bring back the tradition. Thanks, Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. I love what Christmas actually is, but I hate the non-stop pressure to buy more, do more and in general over-indulge. I think the key is to shut out the external noise as much as possible and to simply celebrate Christmas they way that is most meaningful to each of us. For me, that means old-fashioned decorations, minimal gifts, Christmas church services, listening to lots of carols, and most of all, spending as much time as possible with my husband and my kids! I’m glad you and your husband are bringing back your Christmas Eve tradition!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Nicely put.
    The gifts that really matter are the ones we take the time to think deeply about.
    – making a difference in someone’s life
    – spending quality time with loved ones
    – being thankful for each other and each new day.

    Life is short. Be unique. Be special. Be wonderful to yourself and to others. Be remembered for being a beautiful human. That’s what really matters. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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