A few days ago, I went Christmas shopping for my wife Holly. For those of you who have been reading us for a while, you may recall that neither of us particularly likes shopping in the first place. I’d rather stick a needle in my eye than go shopping for a normal person, yet Holly presents an even bigger challenge. What do you buy for somebody who literally hates “stuff?” How do you begin thinking about gifts for someone who is disgusted by things? It takes some mad skills to figure out what would be meaningful to my lovely wife.

Should I get her something that would make her feel really good, or should I get her something with a lot more meaning?  Which way should I go?

Obviously, shopping for my wife is kind of an arduous task. Yet, it didn’t start out this way. I used to enjoy shopping for her quite a bit. I would spend hours trying to pick out the right things to get her. I wanted her to know that I loved her, that I appreciated all of the things that she does for me on a daily basis. Unfortunately, approximately 39 of the first 47 gifts I ever gave her were returned to the store. The others were sold in a yard sale. She either decided that she didn’t need them or that she wanted the cash. Of course, this took most of the fun out of giving gifts to her, knowing that – although appreciative – she just didn’t like stuff.

The Annual “No Gift Bargain”

Now, all of our money is shared which makes it even harder to buy things for her because she feels like she is just buying things for herself. Still, every year I ask her what she wants for Christmas/Birthday/etc. She replies with, “Please dont’ get me anything. Let’s not spend the money.” Stupidly, I usually stop planning here.

By this point in our marriage, you would think that I would know better. Please remember, I was born with the brain of a man – which sometimes proves to be woefully inefficient in the romance quadrant. Inevitably, a few weeks later I hear from Holly the dreaded, “I got you something small for Christmas.” Again, I ask her what she wants and her reply is nothing. So, now I’m faced with a dilemma; do I buy her something that she will probably return, or do I honor our agreement by going sans gift – risking her thinking (wrongly) that I don’t care. At least my brain is developed enough for me to realize that there really isn’t a choice there at all.

Shopping Complications

Still, there are a few things that further complicate the matter further. First, I can never go shopping for my wife anonymously. Holly keeps a constant eye on all of our accounts. While this is a great thing and we know where our accounts stand at all times, it is a little difficult to hit up the Kohl’s store and her not know about it. Getting a call or a text as you are leaving the parking lot asking why you spent $50 at Macy’s is one of the few downfalls of completely combining our finances. Executing a surprise of any kind is nearly impossible to pull off.

In addition, I also have a timing issue to deal with. You see, Christmas, Holly’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and Valentine’s Day are all within about 6 weeks of each other. So, not only do I have to figure out one gift to buy for her; I have to get 4 gifts all at the same time. This is tough both in the planning, and on the pocketbook. We certainly don’t buy expensive gifts, but it does make budgeting a bit tighter.

Stop Whining Already…

The women reading this are probably wondering what I’m complaining about. That leaves 46 weeks left in the year for me to plan this Birthmas Valenversary Extravaganza, right? That may be true if not for the fact that she buys everything that she wants, when she wants it throughout the year. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to stop her from buying the exact present I was going to give a few days later.

Believe me, I’ve tried all sorts of different gifts. I’ve tried jewelry. I’ve tried clothing. I’ve tried photos and frames. I’ve tried special event gifts. I’ve even tried trips to the spa and massages. Unfortunately, the little frugalista is an expert at making a $10 bottle of Sun-in last for a whole year, and she feels uncomfortable having a stranger paint her nails or rub her back. So, what in the hell do you get somebody like that?

In the end, I just want her to feel appreciated. I want her to know that I love her and that she is the motor that keeps our family moving. She is my best friend, my companion, and there is nobody that I would rather spend my days with. I want her to know that she is a great mom, and that I am proud to call her my wife. So, while I do have a gift or two for her to unwrap under the tree, I think this closing paragraph will mean as much to her as anything I could ever give her. I love you Holly, and Happy Birthmas Valenversary!