It’s your first holiday together as a married couple. Even if you have been together forever, the pressure is on to make this important first a memorable one. That includes the gift(s) you plan to give each other. Sometimes trying too hard is all it takes to send your stress level, budget, and the occasion spiraling out of control. Before you venture too far down that path and make it memorable for all the wrong reasons, use the following tips as a guide to help you plan your wish list.
Talk It Over
While this holiday represents an important milestone in your lives together, it is very different than navigating the first holiday after you met. Back then budget differentials and awkward unknowns made determining an appropriate gift virtually impossible. The chances of an epic failure were high, and someone was bound to be disappointed or read too much into the cost or nature of a gift. Now you are a married couple. You have navigated through the deal-breakers and decided to make it legal. You know one another’s fears, incomes, debts, personalities, and deepest desires. Don’t set yourselves up for disappointment. Discuss your expectations well in advance, and decide together how much to spend, and what level of thought needs to be put into the purchases.
If the transition into marriage has left you with household needs, consider using your holiday budget to acquire some of the items that didn’t make it from your registry to your wedding reception. Knife sets and vacuum cleaners may not be as exciting as jewelry or new tech toys, but they very effectively reflect the deep meaning of the commitment you have made to one another. Just make sure if you go the practical route that you both agree. Stepping outside of this agreement harkens back to that very first holiday after you met, and can lead to hurt feelings and disappointment. Here are more gift ideas that every couple needs in their home.
Low on Budget, High on Fun
Couple’s today are covering more, if not all, of the cost of their own wedding. That often means the first holiday is a cash-strapped one. Newlyweds can combat the urge to dig the debt hole even deeper by turning the holiday into an adventure. Set a very specific spending limit, and consider gift shopping only at thrift stores. For added fun, shop your personal items that made it into the marriage, but not into the house or apartment. This will also serve as a reminder to make a final decision about those items instead of leaving them in permanent storage in your attic or basement.
If budget is not an issue for you and you’re hoping for a major wow-factor, consider purchasing that one item that your spouse has been eyeing but just couldn’t bring themselves to splurge on. This might be as small as a new cell phone or as large as a new car. Just make sure if it is a major purchase – anything requiring a contract commitment, or anything else they will have to live with for years to come – that it is something they truly want, and you have been given the authority within your relationship to make that decision without them. An alternative, to avoid any fallout that might result, is to make this major purchasing commitment together.
Financial circumstances will certainly dictate the gift exchange for this first official holiday as a married couple, but it doesn’t have to dictate your level of enthusiasm. Setting expectations in advance will help you both navigate the gift exchange with minimal stress. It will be a wonderful and memorable experience as long as you remember to enjoy the time together and make gift decisions that strengthen your bond and help build your future together.
Article by contributor, Julie Morris
Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.
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