My sister in law, Leah, inspired me this Christmas.
And she put a lot of thought, time and effort into her husband’s gift. She gave him a date night package with 2 dates a month for the whole year, catered to my brothers interests. There was a letter and 12 envelopes with gift cards and coupons and date ideas. Click here for her inspiration.
I on the other hand used all the mismatched left over scrap wrapping paper I had from years past and labeled the gifts with a black sharpie. I didn’t even have the decency to use tags.
Besides the hand-me down gifts for cousins, I bought every present. There was one thoughtful hand made gift I had in mind, but it hasn’t happened yet.
And the only surprise gift I had for my husband was a pair of running gloves I bought on December 22 because the running shop happened to be next to the dry cleaners where I was picking up shirts.
This year Chad and I agreed that I would buy my Christmas presents and he would buy his. Then we set them out for each other. I like this method of giving because I am dang picky and would rather have exactly want I want than a surprise in the wrong color. I got the make-up I needed and the essentials oils I wanted and the right size pants. He picked out a computer bag for himself and some techno wires and cords that I wouldn’t have had a clue about. We both said we were fine with our agreement.
And I was fine until I saw Leah’s giving and I remembered how I used to be on Christmas. I was a good wife once too. I cared. I thought about Chad months ahead. I tried to surprise him. I tried to do something special. One year I surprised him with a scrapbook from his Bishop days. Another year I heard him talk about his dream office and I took mental notes. Then for Christmas I surprised him with office decor.
But this year I was so consumed making sure I had the right gifts for my kids, kids’ friends, cousins, in-laws, grandmas, teachers, etc. that I didn’t do jack for my husband. Plus I was juggling sick kids and helping with class parties and a ward party and a neighborhood party.
My husband was last on my list. And he got the least amount of my energy.
Chad was feeling like a schmuck too as my brother gave Leah a beautiful Willow Tree statue and another brother in law surprised my sister with a unexpected gift. (He didn’t get me jack either.) We looked at each other and hugged. Chad teased, “Do we still love each other?” I replied, “I don’t know. Do we?”
As we witnessed Leah’s thoughtfulness and care on Christmas morning, we thought– “We want to do better.”
Now this doesn’t mean that I am going to wrap gorgeous gifts or make hand crafted gifts next year. But it does mean that I want to take back the season and make it what I want it to be. I want to put time into what I think is important not what others tell me is important. I want to enjoy December, not just see the month as a giant check off list. I want to go out less and sit around my tree more. I want to shop less and give more thoughtfully.
But most importantly, I want to put my husband at the top of my list like I used too.
Because there is something special to the gesture of gift giving. It says “Thinking of you. You are important to me. I know you and what you want and what you like. I’ve listened to you throughout the year. You are my priority.”
And I do still love him.