I’m that girl who is ready for Christmas in August. It’s my favorite time of year. Not just for the cookies, music, decor, shopping, and the whole Jesus birthday thing, but because of how it fills my cup spiritually. There’s an extra dose of love in the air that ripple effects from our communities into our homes. I feel closer to loved ones, closer to faith.
Some people argue that gift-giving this time of year detracts from the true meaning of Christmas, but to me it is a gesture that further spreads joy when exchanged with the right intentions. I love searching for things that will bring a smile to someone’s face or make their life easier, whether it’s a homemade card from my toddler, a $10 bag of cookies or a fancy $50 sweater.
When I was 13 and had no money, I used to burn CD’s to give people because I thought I had the coolest music collection. When I was making an income pre-motherhood, I would splurge on the extra costs of shipping to ensure that my care packages arrived to loved ones scattered across the world. And, now that I am a mother, I catch myself making lists and checking them twice even though my babies will not even be old enough to fully appreciate whatever gifts we end up wrapping under the tree.
So I took myself by surprise when I caught myself looking at our tight budget this year and told my husband not to get me anything. “Hey, let’s cut back this year. Don’t get me anything, and I won’t get you anything.” He agreed.
My marriage was the first relationship I thought to nix from Christmas festivities. Growing up my parents would often express the same, and I know so many other couples who do it too. “We don’t need anything. It’s about the kids now.”
As I started browsing ideas for loved ones (yes, I realize we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet), I kept running across stuff that I knew would make my husband happy. That’s when it hit me. My husband is the first person I should be thinking of during Christmas, not the last.
Yes, I see him every day of the year, and yes, this means we constantly give and take from each other, but this is also precisely why we should keep one another top of mind through the inevitable craziness of the holiday season. My husband is my best friend. My co-parent. My person. I would rather cut back our budget in other ways before cutting him out of it. If this means a few less toys per kid, call me selfish, but I never want to push my marriage to the wayside when given an opportunity to honor it.
I want my kids to grow up witnessing a marriage that is full of love and commitment, and a huge part of that means keeping our marriage a focus. A part of keeping our marriage a focus is investing the same level of giving in each other that we do with others around us, whether that be through the literal act of gift giving or the other love languages that exist.
Some years, our exchange may look like simply writing each other a letter with some homemade cookies, and other years we may have the privilege of splurging and wrapping fancy gifts for one another under the tree. Either way, I will never again cut my marriage from Christmas.