I love the holiday season. The decorations. The goodies. Exchanging gifts. But while it definitely gives me the warm fuzzies, giving presents can also be complicated when you’re a couple. It presents a whole new set of challenges sometimes. How do you work it into busy travel schedules and not make it seem like you think it’s a chore? How do you find a way to buy something nice and thoughtful when you have two uncles and aunts, five nieces and nephews, a sister and a brother, and a mom and dad to buy for? And it can seem difficult for all sorts of couples – newly dating, dating for a while, married, engaged, and so on. So here are a few alternatives to traditional gift-giving to help you start your own traditions (and keep the holidays fun and stress free).
Take a winter themed day trip
Day trips are awesome and super romantic if done right. Take a drive to go sledding or to see the snow. You could even just be simple and drive around looking at Christmas lights. It’s OK to be a little cheesy and corny as long as you’re both doing something you want to do together.
Visit a holiday market
Last year, was my first holiday with my fiancé (he was just my boyfriend at the time). We weren’t ready to jump into the extravagant gift thing so we went to a Christmas market in Union Square. We grabbed a bite beforehand and then walked around for a while. We talked about a limit and then split up for 20-30 minutes to buy each other gifts. We ended up exchanging them immediately because that’s how we are with presents, but it was so much fun. It’s now become our tradition and we’re doing it again this year.
Give small gifts before the holiday
Another thing my fiancé and I have started doing is giving each other little stocking presents each day. We won’t be home on Christmas Day since we’ll be with my family and we really wanted to do stockings so we decided to just put a little something in there each day. We started the day after Thanksgiving and will continue until we leave to see our families. We keep the gifts small and low budget. We’ve also started to include little homemade cards and print outs of funny things (like my favorite Key and Peele sketch and the quarterback for the Bengals).
Share family recipes and make goodies
Baking has always been a holiday tradition for my family. We make cookies, candies, chex mix, and tons more. And I know that’s a pretty common thing in a lot of families. So make a day out of it as your Christmas celebration. He can bring his favorite family recipe and you can bring yours. Then bake them all while watching Christmas movies or listening to music.
Splurge after the holidays
Maybe there’s something for your house you’ve bother been eyeing. Or a restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Maybe there’s even a trip you’ve talked about. Pool your money together after the holidays and do it. What’s great about this is it gives you the chance to do something you’ve really wanted, but it doesn’t take away from expenses for other things. In other words? You can get the best of both worlds. It will also help you to unwind a bit after all the holiday madness.