I bet most people would say holiday shopping for their kids is really easy. Why? Because all year long, our sweet little children are telling us about the latest toys, electronics and other cool gadgets they want. But holiday shopping for your spouse or significant other is a completely different story. It can be challenging and stressful coming up with Christmas gift ideas for many reasons, which include:
• He or she has everything.
• He or she is very picky and so whatever you buy ends up sitting in the closet or returned.
• Deciding what to spend. While price shouldn’t matter, it could get uncomfortable or awkward if the other person spends significantly more or less on your gift.
• You want your love to be happy and excited about the gift.
Dr. Anne Brennan Malec is a Chicago-based therapist who specializes in relationship counseling. Malec said when it comes to gift giving, she is a huge supporter of gifts that create memories, such as a trip or tickets to a sporting event or concert.
“If you give in this way, you are sending the message to your spouse that says, ‘I want to be with you,'” said Malec, who holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and said she has been practicing since 2003. “Instead of buying a cashmere sweater that might sit in the closet, you are saying, ‘This is a gift I’m not just giving to my partner, but to my marriage. This is time for us to spend together and to create a romantic memory.'”
Malec said giving these kinds of gifts helps sustain warmth in a relationship, keep it on track, and even help improve things during a tough time.
“Just by your selection of a gift – any gift, it tells the receiver, ‘I am thinking about you. I am attuned to you, I listened to what you said you wanted six months ago. I know what makes you tick,'” she said. “It makes the receiver feel valued, seen, heard and appreciated.”
While there are countless gifts to buy that can be special and memorable, I think the best gifts exchanged between a couple are the ones that come from the heart – from the thoughtfulness that goes into them.
Here are 12 gifts you can give to your significant other that he or she will remember for a long time. AND you don’t have to spend a dime on any of them.
1. A handwritten note with 10 of your favorite memories together.
2. A one-hour backrub with no interruptions or falling asleep.
3. Sticky notes all over the house, listing the reasons you love him or her.
4. A homemade collage or photo book of pictures of the two of you.
5. A dance to the song the two of you danced to at your wedding.
6. Breakfast in bed.
7. A homemade video in which you list 15 reasons you married him or her.
8. A playlist with his or her favorite songs.
9. Arranging a day to volunteer together at his or her favorite cause.
10. Personalized homemade cookies.
11. A walk in a beautiful park, which includes handholding, kissing and hugging.
12. Five handmade coupons for nights of watching the kids, doing dishes, doing laundry or cooking dinner.
Any one of these 12 things would make someone feel like a million bucks, simply because they take effort, crafting, imagination, creativity, thoughtfulness and of course, time. Gifts like these make people feel important, treasured and truly loved.
The thing about giving is, even if the giver gets no gift in return, he or she receives something amazing: pure joy.