It’s that time again. The air is brisk. Every store you go to is decked out in red, white, and green. The radio is playing the same Mariah Carey song on every station. It’s Christmas time! (Or whatever other holiday you celebrate that gives you an excuse to receive and give gifts!) Maybe because I work in retail, all I think about with Christmas is gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I know it is much more than gifts. A day off to spend with family and look back on the year. All that good stuff! But listening all day to people buy gifts for their loved ones makes me happy. Be it a man trying to pick out a purse for his wife, or an older woman buying her grandkids what she heard on the radio was something kids love, it all makes my heart happy.
Although most people look at the gift portion as materialistic, I don’t. I know appreciating someone is much more than spending a certain dollar amount them. I know relationships aren’t made up of what you give or get. Gifts cannot buy love or happiness. But to me it, sends a message. Whether you make it or not, it says to me “I thought about you.” Now, I’m not the type of person to wait until Christmas to give my loved ones gifts. Not that I’m the saint of appreciating loved ones every other day of the year, I just have a shopping problem and can’t resist buying stuff. As you can imagine, this creates its own problems.
My boyfriend and I recently hit a year together. There are 12 months in a year. You better believe I made sure to celebrate every single one of those months. That may seem silly to most, but when you’re over the top in love and happy about it, you just want to shower that person. In love, kisses, chocolate, and presents. I tried to plan an elaborate surprise every month. With doing so, I think I’ve gotten that man every gift possible, real and homemade. (Yes, believe it or not, my non-artistic self was making Pinterest crafts.) So now it’s about to be Christmas and I have no idea what to get him! I’m all gift-ed out! He has everything imaginable! Of course I’m mostly to blame for this, but still- I’m struggling.
One of my really good friends, once told me her and her fiancé don’t try to give each other gifts anymore. Instead, they want to give each other experiences. That has always stuck with me (she probably told me this a year or two ago,) but it has really come into mind recently during my struggles.
If most of you guys know me, or follow me on social media, you know that every Thursday night is date night. My boyfriend and I make time out of our busy schedules and do something. Whether it is going to the movies, or dinner, or somewhere new, we always reserve Thursday nights for each other. It’s usually the only time of the week we get to spend time with each other with no distractions or interruptions.
While we do this, what my friend said really had me thinking of how this year (and the one to come) I can change my ways. While I’m sure I will find something to give my boyfriend, I definitely want to start thinking of the different ways to give gifts. Instead of just having a weekly date night, maybe going on an adventure once a month or every other month. I want to start creating more memories and experiences. I want to discover new things, travel more, push outside of my comfort zone. I think gifts are always nice and appreciated, but when the love is there, the gifts are just a plus. They definitely do not and should not define the relationship.
So this holiday season I want to inspire you to try something new. Maybe instead of getting someone a physical gifts, maybe spend that money to make dinner reservations in a different city you’ve always wanted to go to. Visit a museum, or buy tickets see a show at a local theater. Go to NYC for a day and be a tourist. And this does not have to be for your significant other. Take your parents out or a sibling. Make an adventure day with a friend. I am guilty of always wanting to do something but never putting in the time and effort to plan something. But as I get older I realize, the only thing we get to keep are our memories and experiences. Technologies become obsolete and clothes go out of style, but that one time you ate at that foreign restaurant and laughed so hard at how someone couldn’t pronounce a dish, will always be remembered.