Reader Question: Do I Have to Endure Terrible Gifts from My Husband This Christmas?

by | Dec 14, 2020 | Uncategorized | 32 comments

Terrible Christmas Gifts from Your Husband
Merchandise is Here!

What do you do if your husband is absolutely terrible at buying Christmas presents?

Last year, a reader wrote in with this question about her husband who buys terrible gifts:


Do I keep enduring terrible Christmas/birthday/Valentine’s Day gifts for the rest of my life or is there something I can do about it? It sounds shallow, but giftgiving is a love language of mine and I work really hard to create and procure gifts that I think would bless my husband. I put time into it and thought and effort and love.

We’ve been married for 10 years and this year his valentines gift was the cheapest Valentine’s-themed stuffed animal he could pull off the shelf at Walmart. It’s absolutely not about the amount of money he spends, but about the amount of thought and care he puts into it.

We’ve had talks about it before and I always end up feeling like a jerk for bringing it up. But it seems like by now he should have listened. I’ve tried giving him hints, examples of what other people got, specific stores that he couldn’t go wrong buying from, etc. (All of those feel like huge compromises because I am wanting to feel loved by his act of giving a gift so when I pick it out myself it takes most of that away but at least shield me from some of the deeper disappointment.).

But he’s so pragmatic that he wants to check it off his list so he runs down to Walmart and grab stuff off the shelf… Mind you it’s been sitting in his car for two weeks so it’s not like it’s last minute because he forgot.

Anyway, it hurts every holiday and it doesn’t seem like anything I’ve tried as hoped. Any thoughts?

Great question!

When a husband routinely buys terrible presents, and you have let him know that this bothers you and he still does it, you have four possibilities of the cause:

  1. A knowledge gap, where he truly doesn’t understand how important gifts are for you, and he truly doesn’t understand the toll that this is taking on you
  2. A skills gap, where he has difficulty knowing where to shop, what to buy, or how to figure out what you want
  3. A stress gap, where he is so overburdened that adding anything to the mix feels overwhelming and results in him feeling paralyzed, or he’s so scared of spending money that he struggles to know what to do
  4. A character gap, where he knows that this is important, he has the time to go, but he just doesn’t care or he’s too lazy to do anything about it.

Here’s what often happens: We tend to assume that the problem is #4, but then our solutions treat the problem as if it’s #1 or #2. So the solutions that we tend to offer for the problem often don’t even match what we assume the problem to be!

So let’s think this through:

If he buys terrible presents out of a knowledge gap

When you’re relaxing over coffee, or taking a walk, or when you have some down time, ask him what makes him feel special and loved. And then tell him that what makes you feel special and loved is to know that he’s put thought into gifts. Explain how it makes you feel to get a great gift (and maybe tell him a story of one of the best gift experiences you’ve had), and then explain how it feels when you haven’t received a special gift.

Sometimes the knowledge gap isn’t about understanding how important presents are, but instead understanding what types of presents you’d like. I’ve got some tips below on how to give him suggestions, but it’s a good idea to set some basic ground rules. Do you want something expensive? If so, what price range is normal for each holiday? $100? $200? $1000? Would you rather have something that costs less, but is more meaningful, like something with sentimental value? Or would you rather have something that would pamper you that you would never buy yourself? Or is there a category of item that you absolutely love but you would never want as a gift? Clothing, for instance, can be a dangerous gift, because often people pick the wrong items for someone else. So be clear about what the parameters are, and he may do better.

If he buys terrible presents out of a skills gap

Maybe he honestly doesn’t know what you want, or doesn’t know how to shop properly for someone. Maybe shopping stresses him out completely. Maybe he’s on the autism spectrum and can’t figure out what sort of gift you’d want. If that’s the case, make it easy for him to do so.

  • Set up a wish list on Amazon.
  • Create a “note” in Evernote (or another app) that you share with him where you write down stores that you like anything from.
  • Give him the name of a sister/friend to call before he buys anything to run it by first.

If he uses a calendar app or a to-do app, even ask him to enter in that app two weeks before a gift is due that he needs to go shopping and check your wish list or check with your friend.

If he is on the autism spectrum, it may also be that you need to be at peace with the fact that he may not spontaneously think of amazing gifts for you, or surprise you out of the blue. This may be outside his wheelhouse. But he can still work with a list, and part of loving him is learning to be content with the effort that he does make.

If he buys terrible presents out of stress

Some guys truly want to buy great presents, but they’re so stressed at work or life that actually going out and buying something seems too much. And sometimes money worries paralyze them, as they want to buy you something amazing, but the mere thought of it sends worries about your credit card bill. If stress is the issue, then this is something you need to talk about outside of the gift giving scenario, because it’s not sustainable to live with that kind of stress. Perhaps he needs to change jobs, or you need to cut back on outside activities. Maybe you need to purge your life of toxic people.

Or if money is the problem, maybe you need to start budgeting together. Some men honestly want to buy their wives amazing things, and wives want amazing things, but the money just isn’t there. If the money isn’t there, then don’t be upset if the present is smaller. Budget now so that maybe next year it will be different! And the thrill of living within budget, and even saving something, can make up for not getting a huge gift you wanted.

But what if he buys terrible presents honestly out of a character issue?

And now we have our fourth category, which actually sounds like what our letter writer is dealing with: He’s just lazy, and he honestly doesn’t care. He knows this matters to her. He has the time to get her something. He has the money to get her something. He knows what she wants. But he just can’t be bothered to do it.

If this is the case, it’s quite likely that this is not the only area of your life where this is happening. It may show up most blatantly around holidays with gift giving, but chances are this is a recurring pattern in other areas of your life, too. What makes gift giving so blatant is that it’s something he’s supposed to do in secret, all by himself, for you. All of the other things that he’s supposed to do for the family you can partially do for him, or cover for him if he messes up, but on this one he’s all on his own. And when he’s on his own–he fails.

I can’t solve this big a problem in one post, but I will point you to two next steps. The first is to read these series that I’ve done on the blog:

Let’s Talk Emotional Labor and Mental Load. Last June I wrote about how women tend to carry the mental load and emotional labor for the family, and how this is exhausting and fundamentally unfair. If he can’t be bothered to buy decent gifts, this is very likely to be an issue in your marriage as well, and working through this series with him may help you have words to express the problem beyond just gifts.

The Iron Should Sharpen Iron Series: How marriage should make us better people. Marriage is supposed to help transform us, not enable selfishness. Often, though, we get into patterns of behaviour where one person’s selfishness grows and the other person covers for them. This series is based on much of the material in my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, and you’ll find that book helpful, too!

Do You Have a Difficult Time Standing up to your Husband?

God wants us aiming for His will. That sometimes will mean that we need to confront our husbands when they’re doing something wrong.

Struggle with how to do that? Are boundaries a difficult concept for you? 9 Thoughts can help!

And last but not least, I’d suggest seeing a licensed counselor.

If he is too lazy to get you a decent gift when you’ve asked, and he routinely doesn’t care about the things that you need, then talking to a third party is likely a good idea! It doesn’t mean your marriage is in trouble; it just means you have some things to work on, and it’s better to work on them early before they blow up.

Usually atrocious gift giving is NOT a character issue, but rather a combination of other things.

In your family of origin, gifts meant different things. You have different expectations on how much you should spend or how much work should go into this. You just have different values around gifts. And as you talk about it, it can usually get resolved–especially if you make it easy for him to find things that you do like.

And I hope that, with all the hubbub about gifts this year, that both of you, regardless of what’s under the tree, will be able to truthfully say that you are each other’s best gift.

4 Reasons Husband Gave You Terrible Christmas Gifts

What do you think? Have you gone through this in your marriage? What was your solution? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Katydid

    My husband is a mix of 1, 2 and 4. 1 and 2 are low on the scale, though. They aren’t his strengths, but they aren’t so beyond him that they can’t be overcome without some effort.
    Back in my “never ever make your husband look bad” days, I covered for him and hid my emotions. All that did was enable him to become steeped in #4. To combat that, I dropped the fundamentalist abused wife ploy and just started telling the truth.
    It wasn’t like I went on social media and slammed him, but when people asked me what he got me and I told them the truth, he had to face the embarrassment and upped his gift-giving game.
    For gift-giving-hating husbands, I do recommend dropping a holiday, like Valentine’s Day. Many men would be so grateful to get that holiday burden off their shoulders, and it might open them to doing better other holidays.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Katydid, I love that you just told the truth! I think we believe that we have to cover for people, but we really don’t. It’s okay to tell the truth. And I totally agree with you about Valentine’s Day!

  2. AN

    As a wife, I always struggled to get my husband gifts. Receiving gifts is one of his love languages, and I love giving gifts, but I always found myself stressing at the last minute about what to get him. It doesn’t help that his hobbies (for example, building flashlights) require very specific parts that I know nothing about, so I can’t just use his hobbies as a guide. In the past, I have asked him for lists of what he wants, and bought stuff off of that, but it always felt less personal that way, even though he was getting what he wanted. This year, I finally found a solution. I started keeping a list on my phone of things he wants or that I think he would like. Anytime he mentions wanting something, or mentions having really enjoyed something, or I just randomly think of something he might like, I pull out my phone and add it to the list. For example, a few months ago we were browsing in a store that sells camping gear, and in the course of our browsing, he pointed out several things that he thought were cool. I discreetly made note of all of them, and added them to my list later. Now I have enough gift ideas to last several holidays, and will keep adding to the list as more things come up. It works well because I no longer stress about what to get and he is still getting stuff that he wants, but now he gets to be surprised as well. Just thought I would share in case this is helpful to anyone else.

    • K

      That’s what I do 😁

  3. Jess

    I think love languages come hugely into play here. My love language is “thoughtful gestures” which I guess falls under gifts. Early in our marriage, after asking countless times for these, I gave my husband a list of examples (bring me a sonic drink after work, plan a game night with snacks for after our kids are in bed, write me a note and leave it where I’ll find it later in the day). He would do a couple things and then stop again and then it would be another discussion, another disappointment.
    On the flip side, his love language is acts of service…including cooking and cleaning. I very much disliked loving him in that way because it made me feel like he only cared about me for what I could do for him instead of who I am.
    I definitely think we should make efforts to love our spouse in the way that makes them feel the most loved. That being said, I also feel that we need to learn to RECEIVE love in the way that our spouse best loves.
    10 years later, we both are still kind of awful at loving each other in the other’s number one love language (though we are both still working on it and growing in that area). BUT, we have both grown a lot in receiving love well. I have learned to try to view the things he does for me as his expression of love towards me and he has learned to view my “thoughtful gestures” towards him as my love for him.
    Sometimes I think its just a lack of connection between what the spouse is asking for and seeing it as an expression of love. I still don’t really understand why he views acts of service as an expression of love and he still doesn’t really understand why I view thoughtful gestures (gifts) as an expression of love.
    It’s a struggle and it’s hard to navigate, but we both make efforts to learn and grow and we both give each other loads of grace when the other hasn’t grown as much as we wish they would. That to me is what makes our marriage work.
    I hope that all makes sense…I feel like I could write a whole blog post on the expression and interpretation of love languages. 🙂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally get it! It can be an uphill battle. At least you’re able to talk about it.

  4. Jane Eyre

    This one falls under stress: some people come from background wherein gift-giving is a cover for emotional abuse. The pattern is that someone treats others badly but gives lavish gifts to show to the world how much they care. If the victims complain, they are made to look like ungrateful louts.
    Or gifts are withheld until people kiss the ring, or used to play favourites, or any other flavour of using gifts for the exact opposite purpose of showing love and spreading joy.
    They may have grown up in a family wherein one person always said that the gifts were never good enough, leaving the person to think that gifts are about a power struggle.
    Therapy tends to be the answer.

  5. Robin Bird

    I totally get that reader! My primary love language is also gifts. It’s not my husband’s. So he just doesn’t understand how much goes into that, or how significant it is. He tries, he does, but it’s not his primary language. I resort to Amazon lists, and it helps,somewhat. At least it’s not the first gift item on the seasonal aisle at the box store. His language is words. So on birthdays or Valentine’s, or other card occasions, I get great cards. Christmas gifts feel more like it’s a to do list item for him. Which is hard, but after 20 years, it’s just a different love language. I know he cares, and he genuinely does try. It took some conversations in the early years to help him understand, at least partially, how to “speak gift”. And I try to “speak words”, though I do a lot of gift language throughout the year.

  6. Sarah

    My husband has gotten me some bad gifts over the years but it’s because he’s an out of the box thinker and tries to come up with his own ideas rather than buy off a list I make, which he sees as being lazy. The problem is we have different tastes so he ends up getting me a gift he likes but I don’t. After many discussions he’s realized that it’s more thoughtful to get me something I want, even if it isn’t a suprise, than an original idea that I won’t use.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I think you’ve just described me! One year I tried to go out of the box with my girls and I think I failed miserably.

  7. Melissa

    My husband and I ran into this issue for the first several years of our marriage, but for a different reason. In my husbands family, going and returning or exchanging gifts is very normalized. Very much a “they might like this and if they don’t they can return it and get something they do like” mentality. To them it’s part of the fun, which I don’t understand AT ALL, because I am a person whose primary love language is gifts. For a person like me, it’s not about the item, it’s about the thoughtfulness and affection expressed through the gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of my favorite gifts have been coffee mugs with funny sayings on them that make people think of me! I had to find a way to articulate to my husband that maybe his family considers returns/exchanges part of the fun, but I don’t. It cheapens the gift giving experience for me. I don’t need a dozen presents on Christmas morning that were snapped up thinking “she might like this, she can exchange it if she doesn’t”. I would rather have just a few presents that I truly like or need. What we started doing was making digital lists for each other with links to items we would like. It got us into a groove of giving gifts that were thoughtful and/or practical that made the recipient feel loved and appreciated.
    He still goes overboard on gifts for our kids and I have to tell him to stop buying extra stuff. 😜 He has a generous heart, what can I say. 🤷‍♀️

  8. Anon

    I stopped thinking about gifts a long time ago because my wife buys so much. She has already put us in debt so every time we get close to her birthday , our anniversary or Christmas I tell myself, I am not going to buy anything and she always says she doesn’t need anything. Then some week before I freak out and realize I am being petty and that she bought me something on my birthday (even if I didn’t want something so expensive) and then I end up asking and she wants something expensive. And then I regret buying it because it’s only a financial burden because she keeps buying things. I’m still paying off those shoes that she wanted but j realize now she didn’t need.
    Gifts has just become a stressful thing. I have said that this time I won’t buy anything because she bought a long size bed without telling me. We needed new phones and she wanted the most expensive one and I bought it and it will arrive before Christina’s. Gift giving has lost its importance. We don’t do anything special together anyway during Christmas more than hang out with family. But gift giving is frustrating. It’s not special anymore.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      oh, Anon, I’m sorry. That’s really not healthy. And there definitely needs to be some boundaries drawn about budgeting here. Buying so much that it’s putting you in debt is simply not okay. I know you’re seeing a counselor; could you talk to a counselor about how to figure out the debt issue, or how to put your foot down and stick to a budget?

  9. Krysten Traylor

    My husband is into cars, gun, electronics and other things that go over my head. If I was left on my own, I would be a terrible gift giver to him even though it’s my secondary love language. He keeps an update Amazon Wishlist and passes it to everyone who asks what he wants for Christmas. Gifts is his bottom love language and while he’s fine with surprises, he really likes getting the practical stuff he has on his Wishlist.
    I really like Sheila’s suggestion of a Wishlist. It may take some of the romance/surprise out of what you are getting, but at least you would be getting what you want and takes away any excuse the husband may have.

  10. NoMore"Nice"Girl

    Yes, yes, and yes!!! Wow, this struck a chord. We’ve been married 10 years as well and I’ve lost track of how many birthdays/Valentines/Christmas days I’ve cried over. I’ve talked it over with him. He understands the 5 love languages. I’ve made lists. I’ve set reminders. He always feels “bad” but nothing changes year after year. And it’s exactly as you said: “All of the other things that he’s supposed to do for the family you can partially do for him, or cover for him if he messes up, but on this one he’s all on his own. And when he’s on his own–he fails.” This shows up in so many other areas of our marriage. I literally told him this morning (before reading this post) that I don’t want a present from him this year – I’m going to buy myself something I want. For me it isn’t about the gift, it’s about the thought and care he put into getting it – so instead of some some last-minute grab, this year I’d rather do my own thing. Your posts have been very encouraging (I’m the woman from the reader question in episode 91 whose husband didn’t want to help clean up the turkey blood in the fridge (I was SO thrilled you chose my question: total fan-girl moment)) and they’re helping me as, over the last little bit, I’ve realized I need to take some very firm boundary-drawing lines with him. It’s SO HARD as I naturally want everything to be “ok” and “happy”, so I’ve been smoothing things over for years. But he’s just gotten worse. So thank you (and Keith and Rebecca and Joanna and everyone!).

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, you’re so welcome! And I’m so glad that you heard that episode. Yay!
      (We used to notify people when we answered their questions, but then a few got really mad that we used their questions and got mad at our answers, and now we’ve stopped doing that. So I’m sorry we didn’t email you! But I’m glad you heard it anyway).
      And I’m sorry that your husband doesn’t “get” gifts. Boundaries are hard. I’m sure this will be a year of real growing for you!

  11. Crystal

    Yeah….well, it WAS in fact #4 for my hubs. I never pushed gifts, but when he was so flippant about it, and did NOTHING for most holidays….and when he DID do things, they were usually more for HIM, and not for me. Or he would buy me things I never wanted. Like alcohol. I never drink. But he would always buy me a bottle of something for our anniversary? I should have bought him like a pack of cigarettes to send a message, but I wasn’t cruel.
    Well, he WAS cruel…..the moment I would bring it up, suddenly “nothing was good enough for me” and he would stop trying (not that he ever did.)
    So, I told him there was only one thing I wanted for ANY holiday. And I was truthful, all I would have loved is for him to sing me a song. He’s a PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN mind you…..and can play songs at the drop of a hat…but for me, he “couldn’t”….he would tell me he didn’t have enough time to practice. He would tell me he didn’t know what song to pick. It was pathetic.
    Then, as a last resort to try and “make it easy on him”…..I would tell him EXACTLY what I wanted….”There’s an office chair at Costco, on sale this week, that I would love for my birthday. Here’s the aisle it’s on….” and you know what he said? “Go ahead and pick it up.”
    Well, I wasn’t asking permission, I was literally spelling it out for him, and he just would. not. do. it.
    That’s when I knew he had no more excuses.
    Look up “intimacy anorexia”.
    Sheila, it may be something you want to do an article on!!
    Once I read that book, my eyes were opened to his deliberately insidious behavior (of course not just with gift giving, but ANY form of intimacy). Any time a husband (or wife) REPEATEDLY do not listen to your requests…’s not an accident or a “clueless” trait. It’s DELIBERATE.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, intimacy anorexia is a thing. I’m so sorry! Have you had any help for how to deal with it and make sure you’re getting cared for? That’s just awful.

    • NoMore"Nice"Girl

      “The moment I would bring it up, suddenly “nothing was good enough for me”” – I can so relate to this.

      • KW

        Me too.
        Our daughter (19) even said “wow, that’s the first gift mom genuinely liked” (a cool jigsaw puzzle)

        We ALL like puzzles, they aren’t that expensive, the kids get off their phones and we have family time =all good things.

        It drives me crazy the unnecessary expense– WE DON’T HAVE –for gifts.

  12. Meghan

    My husband’s love language is gifts, along with physical touch. I also have physical touch as my primary language, but gifts is waaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom for me. It took a long time to convince him that I’d rather have consumable gifts like a tin of tea or a bouquet of flowers, because I can’t stand clutter and feel guilty if I throw a gift away or donate it. But I want to let him show his love in the way he prefers, so this is a good compromise for us.
    Now if only I could convince both sets of our parents to do the same…although! There is hope! This year I specifically asked for some high quality workout gear and they’re honoring my request! YAY!

  13. Leah

    I find that one issue with the knowledge gap problem is partially due to us women not being completely honest. We’ll be up front about what kind of gifts we want and what frustrates us, but then when we actually open the terrible gift, we pretend we like it because we want to be polite, or not ruin the day, or not hurt his feelings. So he thinks he did a good job and then gets really confused when months later we bring up the hurt feelings surrounding gift giving again.

  14. Anna Dau

    My new husband, Jordan, is a hard-working and caring man who makes sure that I always feel safe, loved, and respected. He is more of a practical gift giver and receiver which I knew ahead of time before we got married. I personally think that it’s the way he likes to show his love for me and I try to find and give gifts that he will enjoy using time and time again. It’s a give-and-take kind of situation for us.

  15. Emmy

    It may also be possible for someone to give “terrible” gifts while finding gifts very important. I know people who are capable of putting real thouht and effort in buying gifts and who still manage to produce something like the cheapest stuffed animal from Walmart, and finding it truly wonderfull themselves. And they even expect others to appreciate it too!
    My husband finds giving gifts and receiving them really important. I believe it is his secondary love language. The gifts themselves are often, however, well…it would be heartless to call them terrible, so I won’t do it, but a cheap stuffed animal or something like that is a real possibility. Something like, well, what-must-I-do-with this-thing stuff.
    The other side of the coin is, you can hardly bring him a gift he’d not appreciate! Once someone brought us a decorative object I really could stand to look at: a candle with a little artificial flower wright around it. Not my colour. Not my style. Of course I said “Thank Yoy, How Nice” to the giver, but later on I mentioned to my husband I really did find the thing quite ugly.
    His reply was: “Try to look at it differently. The thing itself may not be your style, but this person has put time and energy and thought in selecting it. Every time something gives me a gift that I do not find beautiful in itself, I think of the effort and love the giver has put in it, and that makes the thing beautiful for me.”
    So…well…yeah, that’s what I try to do with some of his gifts too 😛
    I don’t think it’s a totally bad advice.
    I must say, we have had other problems such big and such bad that an ugly teddy bear or a candle of the wrong colour belong to the least of my worries.

  16. Sara

    For those with a skills gap, one thing a friend of mine found helpful (for anniversaries but could extrapolate for other celebrations) is to give a theme; so for each anniversary they give gifts that match the “traditional anniversary gifts by year” (yr1=paper, yr5= wood) etc. While not perfect, it might give a clueless gift giver a baseline to start from if you or they are vehemently opposed to lists. (You could even add additional ‘requirements’ like something practical, something decorative, something consumable, a upper and lower price bracket, etc).

  17. Happy wife?

    I totally understand this. My Hubby of almost 10 years is amazing at caring for me and helping me out in SO many ways that I feel guilty for being hurt that he always forgets about holidays/birthdays until the last minute and scrambles to pull something together. (He has memory issues)
    I’ve struggled with wanting to celebrate mother’s day because of my Mom, and now that I have to dictate and plan everything for me to have a mother’s day, I’m ready to cancel it totally. There’s no joy in planning something for yourself. Just feels like another day of running the house.
    How do you accept that as much as he wants to, it likely will never happen because of his memory issues coupled with his uncertainty of what to do? I don’t care about the gifts. I’m just tired of feeling like an afterthought.

  18. Jen

    We’ve been dealing with this for 13 yrs. Every holiday turns into me being hurt and him getting mad and thinking I’m just ungrateful. I have told him specifically what I would like, I’ve made wish list, I put reminders in his phone, and remind him that it’s important to me. He didn’t even buy me a present for my 30th birthday.
    I make list of the things I notice he wants, I shop in advance, and always go out of my way to make holidays special for him. He has time he just won’t. He will stop at a grocery store buy something random. Even though he knows I can’t have sugar and other things because of health issues.
    I don’t understand why he won’t try. I’ve tried to everything.

  19. KW

    My husband is not the most astute gift-giver. We have the added stress of limited finances, and he way over-buys, (me and 2 teen plus him in the house)

    He bought our son and daughter each a headlamp this year–they have no use for this and, we already have 2 (that each aren’t bright enough). Guess what, I got one also. The kicker, is, this was just a fraction of the gifts, BUT we have necessary house expenses. Right now, this includes ordering 3 expensive furnace filters because he “lost the remaining 1 or 2 we already had in a box. (These come a bit “cheaper” as a multiple purchase, rather than a single one)

    Our furnace will shut down if the filter is too dirty. We have to order these bc they aren’t the usual standard skinny filters you can buy anywhere. I’m very frustrated bc my thinking is common-sense and practical… If our furnace doesn’t heat, we have several issues. Those 3 headlamps were probably the cost of 2 or 3 filters.

    We have this issue every year, and there are some well-thought gifts, but the aimless spending is the real tough issue. We DID post a list, btw.

    My list had a suggestion of 1 thing, a certain type of cookies-1 I got 4 bags, and a whole lot of chocolate. I just recovered from gallbladder surgery, so all this is not great for me. I’m not working right now bc of the surgery and leading up to it. I got clothing for all 3 for very reasonable discounted prices shopping online, and used a gift card, so spent nothing out of pocket for those gifts.
    I probably spent $15-$25 cash otherwise.

    I’m so frustrated, and I feel like I’m a Grinch… but he’s complaining constantly about finances, so don’t think I’m out of line. I don’t know what to do.

  20. Cheryl M

    Thank you for posting this. My husband is a terrible gift giver and it has created hurt feelings over the years. I shared the article with him , it was a great discussion opener.


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