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<p>So, I had an interesting conversation with one of my sisters and wonder what others' thoughts are as well.</p>
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<p>She said that she thinks it's very important for kids to see that their parents have purchased (or I suppose, made) thoughtful gifts for each other at Christmas (and birthdays, but especially Christmas).  She said that she especially thought it was important for them to see that each partner valued the other via gifts?  She said she thought it was especially important for them to see their dad putting time into finding a thoughtful gift for their mom.  She's not a very materialistic person, so this intrigued me.  She does however really enjoy shopping for thoughtful gifts and doesn't like "wish lists" because she'd rather someone "find something that they think she'll like" and vice versa. </p>
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<p>As a side note, we didn't have a lot of money growing up, and my parents didn't always gift each other at Christmas (and when they did, it was almost always something functional). </p>
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<p>I had never thought of Christmas gifts this way.  Dh and I have, since we married, always 'given' each other a gift of charity at Christmas.  We have bought angel tree gifts together, or donated to local charities, etc.  We love this - and when we are both packrats, it's nice to not bring more clutter into the home.  I've always eschewed jewelry (my only jewelry are my wedding ring, engagement ring, and a crucifix necklace).  I had always thought that dh and my decision to give to others in lieu of gifts FOR each other was a neat thing and nice role modeling although we obviously did this even before we had children - because we LIKED to do this.  We have also introduced our children to this idea, too - they choose a charity to give to at Christmas, or purchase for an angel tree gift. </p>
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<p>Now I'm wondering - is there a value in the 'thoughtful gift' from spouse to spouse, from a child's perspective?  In all honesty, I've often thought that the time spent trying to drop hints about the "perfect gift," and sleuthing that out, was a waste of time and that if I want something, I should ASK (and so should my husband) rather than wait for someone to figure it out.  Dh and I do many thoughtful things for each other - helping with projects, discussing our days, generally doing for each other and they do see that all the time. </p>
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<p>I'd be interested in a discussion about gifting and the way it's perceived by children, and what people think.   </p>
 

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<p>I think it really depends on what your family values. I don't think one way is necessarily better than others for kids to see.</p>
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<p>You and your dh value giving to charity over physical gifts. Doing what you and your partner value shows love. Your sister values the search for just the right gift and that is how she would understand showing love.</p>
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<p>Dh and I buy off of each other's wish lists for each other. We value getting each other exactly what we want for Christmas. We don't use a wish list for all occasions. I think it is more important that dd see dh treat me in a loving appreciative way daily rather than seeing him buying me things without any guidance from me. I don't think she is really analyzing whether it shows more love for dh to buy me the food processor I specifically asked for and love or a book of poems that I didn't ask for but also may like.</p>
 

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<p>Hhmm...I would have to say that I do not feel this way about gifts, but I do feel this way about parents showing one another affection and respect and kindness. I do not see this necessarily pertaining to Christmas gifts. But certainly could if that value is placed on it.</p>
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<p>As far as presents, it's most important to me that my children see the holidays are not just about <em>them</em> and people giving <em>them</em> gifts. We make it a point to have them buy or create gifts for others or at the very least be a part of the gift giving experience. My boys have been anxiously awaiting running out to the trashmen and postwoman to give them their gifts. Last night we had the boys pick out gifts for one another. Etc.</p>
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<p>I don't know that it's working though..(teaching my kids about giving as well as receiving and more importantly about the Spirit of the holidays), because my five year old said just yesterday: "Wow Mommy, everybody is giving us gifts aren't they?" *sigh</p>
 

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<p>I think it's more important that ds see dp and I treating each other with love and respect every day of the year, versus just buying each other gifts on Christmas. But I have a feeling that's not what your sister meant (I assume her dh treats her well the rest of the year).</p>
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<p>DP and I do get each other gifts for Christmas. It's important to ds to see that everybody gets gifts. We've put some gifts under the tree already and he loves hunting through them to see who has gifts and who they are from. We also each take ds out individually to get a gift for the other parent and help him wrap the gift.</p>
 

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<p>I hope not, because DH and I have decided that neither of us have time to finish our gifts for each other, and are instead going to exchange Presidents' Day gifts or some such nonsense <img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif">.</p>
 

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<p>I don't think it's important for kids to see their parents give each other gifts every year.  I think about my grandparents.  They had a good sized family and everybody went to their house for Christmas.  So that made a total of 21 people at their house every Christmas.  We all bought presents for my grandparents and they never got each other much of anything.  It was always something functional like socks or perfume or mixed nuts when they did buy the other one something.  </p>
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<p>One year after everyone had opened their presents and we were cleaning up my Grandpa looked over at my Grandma and said, "Oh, I forgot about something.  Go over and look closely at the tree."  My Grandma walked over there and right in the front center was a gigantic gold necklace.  I really don't know how we had missed it all day, it was huge and gaudy and my Grandma loved it.  It was such a special thing between the two of them because they never bought each other those types of gifts.  I don't think it would have made such an impression on me if they had done that every year.    When my Grandparents passed, that necklace was the only piece of jewelry that everyone remembered and wanted (even though none of us would be caught dead wearing what we lovingly referred to as Grandma's Mr. T necklace).  </p>
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<p>I would rather have those breathtaking moments every five or ten years, I think it makes it so much more special and unexpected.</p>
 

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<p>I think there's merit to children seeing that their parents (or the adults in their lives) value each other.  Gifts are one possible way to do that, but not the only way.  I think it really depends on the culture of the individual family.</p>
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<p>I think of my own parents.  My dad loves to give gifts and he's famous for getting gifts that are almost right, but not quite. He'll be so thrilled and excited to give you this gift that he thinks is just what you'll want, but it's not quite right. </p>
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<p>I saw that my dad loved and valued my mom because he was so thrilled to give her gifts.  I saw that my mom loved and valued my dad because she accepted his not quite right gifts with grace and appreciation for the thought behind it..  She either never mentioned it wasn't quite right or, if it was something that really wouldn't work for her, she was gentle about exchanging it or returning it.</p>
 

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<p>I think children grow up to expect in their adult relationship what they see their parents do.  My dh's dad always gave his mom a piece of jewlry for Christmas- so for many years, that was what I got as a gift- some kind of jewlry.  I honestly can't say I minded. :)  The last few years, dh and I have basically told each other what we want for Christmas, we live on a budget, so spulrging on getting each other something that isn't a necessity makes us happy. </p>
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<p>I think the most important thing for a child to learn about the holidays for future relationships, is that you make traditions with your spouce that make you both happy.  Honestly, if our first Christmas my husband had given me a card that said he'd donated a pig to a needy family in my honor- my children would probably never have been born.  I just wasn't that alturistic back then.</p>
 

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<p>I think it has to do with personality and family culture, more than anything.  Nobody can make a rule that my husband *must* value me by buying me something amazing every Christmas, and my dh can't make a rule for everybody else that such things are extravegance and silly. It just depends on the couple.  I personally am fine with how we do things.  Very minimal.  A "gift" from dh might be going out for dinner, and that is a gift because we rarely do that.  I usually make him something.  <shrug>  Neither of us feels devalued.  We could both go for a no-gift Christmas, and not feel devalued.</p>
 

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<p>I agree with those who said it depends on the culture and relationship itself. A gift does not fix the problems, and the lack of a gift does not signify a lack of love or commitment by any means.</p>
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<p>But I have to admit, I love exchanging gifts with DP. It's a romantic thing for us, and I love it. I don't care if it's a home-made "I love you card" or earrings, or a book I wanted. I just love surprises, and the idea of trying to make each other happy with a little somethinug special. We used to go all out, but now we set a budget, depending on our situation each year (this year it's $50), and we tease each other about it "Oooh! I ordered your special gift! YOU, yes,  YOU are going to love it!" And I'll nag him for hints, and he will drop me some really really bad ones, that always throw me off-track, but I love this game of a little surprise that we play for 2-3 weeks before the holidays. </p>
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<p>If you ever read the short story Gift of the Magi, by O'Henry, or listened to Leo Buscaglia talk about parents giving each other special little gifts for Christmas, then you'll have a perfect picture of what gift exchange means to me between DP and I.  <span><img alt="shy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span></p>
 

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I think I agree with that. Not for all families all the time, but for my family right now and as a child. My parents always got each other thoughtful gifts and I think those little bits of kindness did contribute to my view of them being a loving, romantic couple. I also think there's some value in showing kids that Christmas isn't all about them--other people give and receive special gifts too.
 

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<p>I speak 'gift giving' as a love language.  It's a deal for me.  Sounds like it is for your sister as well.  For me it is important to get presents.  (I want my Christmas Eve jammies, dangit.)  But I don't think that all people have to do it.  Wondrous variety is the basis of life. :)</p>
 

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<p>It sounds to me that although it's hidden behind the idea of gift giving, for your friend it's all about the thought behind it.</p>
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<p>Honestly, this is something I struggle with in my own family.</p>
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<p>I am not a hard person to buy gifts for.  I have a variety of things I like and enjoy, and they are all very obvious.  In addition, DH usually asks what I want.  A few years ago, I really didn't have anything specific in mind so I gave him a list of general ideas.  So, he gets DD all bundled up and they head out.  He goes to a store to get a gift certificate and that store has gone out of business.  So he calls me from their parking lot, wants to know what else to get or where another store is to get that gift certificate.  I give him the same list of ideas, then tell him that the other stores are on the north side of town.  He wants me to look up the address for him.  Um, how about you do a little work yourself.  Then he calls me from the bookstore down the street from his previous location, wants to know what book he should get me and how much is a good price for it.  IOW, he wanted me to tell him exactly what to get, exactly where to get it, and exactly how much to spend on it-he wanted me to do all the work.  If I wanted to do that I could just buy it myself.</p>
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<p>For Mother's Day this year, I told DH I wanted him to "have a thought."  I wanted him to really think about what he knows about me and use that knowledge to get a gift he believes I will enjoy.  Basically, I want him to show thoughtfulness.  I wanted him to show me that he knows me well enough or pays enough attention to me that he can come up with something apprpriate.  It's not about the gift, it about the thought and work that goes into it.</p>
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<p>BTW, he did do pretty good:)</p>
 

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<p>While DH and I usually purchase our gifts for one another after discussing what we will buy, we do open them on Christmas Day and pretend to the people around us that we dont know what it is :)</p>
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<p>I will say, as a child my parents didnt get each other gifts and by the time I was about 10 I started to feel guilty that they spent all their money on us and didnt buy gifts for themselves. Somehow, even at such a young age, I knew that that little crap present we all got mom and dad from "santa's shop" at school was just not enough.</p>
 

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<p>DH and I don't have gift giving as a love language (If you've ever read The Five Love Languages) so we don't exchange gifts. It's not a priority for us as a couple (plus we are flat broke at this point in our lives). I think it's more important for children to see their parents give affection and spend time together with the family (my love languages are physical touch and quality time).</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>goinggreengirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285802/christmas-question-gifts-for-spouses#post_16122320"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br><p>DH and I don't have gift giving as a love language (If you've ever read The Five Love Languages) so we don't exchange gifts. It's not a priority for us as a couple (plus we are flat broke at this point in our lives). I think it's more important for children to see their parents give affection and spend time together with the family (my love languages are physical touch and quality time).</p>
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<br><img alt="nod.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/nod.gif"> Same over here. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif">
 
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