December 18th 2016
Today I completed my Christmas shopping. Just about. In one final, seven days before Christmas push, Alice and I braved the Designer Outlet centre. It was less painful than I imagined, and it’s satisfying to know that I’m now basically all done. It was also satisfying because I got to pick out loads of things for myself, because Alice hadn’t finished her shopping for me yet either.
For a lot of our respective budgets we’ve chosen things that we’d like the other to buy for us. I’ve taken a few gambles, though. Alice provided me with a list, and I took some inspiration off that, but I wanted to at least put some thought into some of the gifts. So a couple of them are gambles, and are tests of how well I know her, I guess.
She’s struggled to buy for me, but I think she’d know what I like if she thought about it. And anyway, everything that I choose has the opportunity to be vetoed by her.
And I’ll accept anything that she thinks I’d like, the other way round is what I’m nervous about. I dropped a few hints today that I’d gone off-piste with my purchases, and that made her nervous too. Alice hates surprises, but she also really wishes that I was capable of surprising her with something that she likes. Which is why the stakes are high with this. I almost have to prove my worth, and prove that after ten years together I am actually aware of the kind of thing that she might like.
I appreciate that from her end, I’m a pain to buy for because I don’t really like anything.
I’ve never appreciated the gift-giving part of Christmas because I just see the numbers. I see that if she has a budget of £xxx for me, and I have a budget of £xxx for her, then our budgets cancel out so we end up just paying £xxx on ourselves. So, why bother at all (I used to think)? But now I kind of understand the thought behind it. And the thought is, well… exactly that.
A gift should show that I found something that I thought she’d like, and I wanted to give it to her to make her happy.
That’s the real spirit of gift-giving at Christmas, not the price tag.
Until tomorrow, the above is a stock image, and not a reflection of my purchases today.