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December 6, 2015

Avoid Bad Christmas Gifts

Is your significant other a disaster when it comes to gift giving? In the past, have you received gifts that were disappointing, baffling, thoughtless, or downright insulting?

Maybe your loved one is a secret Grinch, out to ruin the holiday for everyone. If that's the case, there's probably nothing you can do. More likely, though, you are dealing with someone who is just clueless. In that case, you can help your sweetheart do the right thing.

The simplest and most effective way to avoid a disappointing gift is to let your partner know exactly what you would like to receive. Don't hint! Many people are unable to pick up on hints. If you simply admire a product in a television commercial or a store window, don't expect your partner to get the message. Be glaringly obvious. "I sure would like to have one of those. It would be great to find that under the Christmas tree this year."

Sometimes words go in one ear and out the other. Putting your wishes into a more tangible form can be very helpful. Ask your partner to exchange wish lists with you. These can be written on paper, or sent by email. (This helps you shop, too.) You can also create a wish list on Amazon and send the link to your partner. If you have a Pinterest account, pin pictures of items you would like, and make sure your partner subscribes to your board.

Remember that your partner may be on a budget, or the two of you may have slightly different ideas about what is appropriate to spend on gifts. Make sure your list includes some inexpensive items, so that your partner doesn't feel pressured to overspend.

In the meantime, take a good look at your partner's wish list. The kinds of gifts that appear there may tell you something about the choices this person has been making for you. In any case, act in good faith by getting something from your partner's list, if you possibly can, just as you hope to get something from your list.

The expectations each of you has about giving and receiving gifts is something that should be communicated as part of your relationship. It isn't unusual to find that two people have very different ideas about holidays, gifts, and celebrations, based on their different backgrounds and personalities. If you talk this through (ideally, not just before a gift-giving occasion) you should be able to come to some kind of understanding -- and compromise if necessary.

No matter what happens, remember to put it in perspective. If your sweetheart is kind and loving most of the other 364 days of the year, a little difficulty with this one issue takes nothing away from that reality.

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