Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Managing Holiday Gift Expectations

Valentine’s Day may be a holiday promoted by the greeting card industry and their subsidiaries to get us to spend more money. There are numerous ideas out there on how to save money for this upcoming holiday. When you’re in a committed relationship, I think the holiday is all about expectations.

My husband and I are making an effort to spend less on stuff and to spend more on experiences. That doesn’t mean that a girl like me doesn’t appreciate the loving trinket here and there. One of my favorite presents my husband gave me was something that cost less than $10, but it was extremely thoughtful and completely unnecessary. It was a little trinket that he found with my nickname on it.

This year to manage expectations, C and I made a deal. We will be getting each other gifts, but the max price on them is $25. This way no feelings are hurt if one person spends a lot more or if one person decides to forgo the commercialism and get the other nothing.

Of course when you’re in a new relationship, it might not be so easy to be forthcoming and manage expectations. My friend and her boyfriend agreed not to buy presents for each other this past Christmas. However his friends were convinced that when they said no presents, she would still expect something (to a certain degree, I would agree that I would expect something small). He ended up getting her theater tickets, which she loved, but then she had to scramble to get him something. I think it’s much easier when you can honestly communicate with your significant other to ensure that expectations are met.