7 Variations on Gift Giving for Your Spouse or Partner

There are plenty of occasions that may justify a gift for your spouse or partner: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or just because. Giving and receiving gifts is certainly one way to show your love and appreciation for one another, and it can go a long way in keeping an element of surprise and romance in your relationship. That said, many couples eventually reach a phase where gift giving becomes more of a chore than a fun diversion. Perhaps you and your partner feel you have everything you need, and the time and expense of additional purchases isn’t appealing. Maybe you’re at a point in your relationship where you’re both willing to admit that you’re better at picking out items for yourselves than relying on each other to “guess” what you’d like to receive. Or, instead, perhaps your concerns may be related to the environment and the desire to go without extra items that will eventually end up in a landfill.

Whatever the case, as with most things in a long-term relationship, communication is key.  If you feel there are too many gifts – or not the right types of gifts – being exchanged, discuss the following ways to simplify the giving with your spouse or partner.

  1. Be clear and selective. Start by having a conversation with your spouse about your gift preferences. If you really want (or need) something, whether a gift or going out to dinner, and hate to be disappointed, say so. Or if you prefer not to receive gifts, make that known as well. You also can think about reducing the number of gifts you exchange or the occasions when gifts are expected. For example, you could agree to limit it to one gift at each occasion or exchange cards instead. If you like the tradition of opening a gift under the tree or receiving something special on Valentine’s Day, agree to stick with tradition but try not to go overboard.
  2. Give experiences. Experiences – such as an activity, trip or a day spent together – could be even more meaningful than a physical gift. Consider recreating your first date, checking an item off your spouse or partner’s bucket list, or making a day of doing his or her favorite activities.
  3. Give gifts that keep giving. Consider making a donation in your spouse or partner’s honor to a favorite nonprofit organization or signing up for a service project. Many organizations will allow you to tailor the project to his or her preferred cause or volunteer activity if they know about the occasion in advance.
  1. Complete your to-do list. Is there a task or two that your spouse or partner wishes you took care of last week, or last year (e.g. purchasing the items needed to finish the basement remodel, planting the vegetable garden or organizing the attic?) A birthday or other celebration may be the perfect occasion to surprise him or her by (finally) following through on the commitment.
  1. Give the gift of time. Does your spouse have a “guilty pleasure” they never seem to make time for? Encouraging him or her to indulge in uninterrupted time to catch up on their favorite TV show, read a magazine or book, or nap, while you take care of their responsibilities can be a great way to show your love and appreciation for them.
  1. Buy for value. You can be practical and lavish at the same time by buying gifts for one another that have the potential to retain their value or appreciate over time. Fine jewelry, art, furniture, a collector’s item and even stock are thoughtful gifts that may be assets in their own right.
  2. Be flexible. Prescribed gift giving can stunt the fun in a relationship. Leave room for spontaneity as long as you have good intentions and sufficient discretionary income to cover the costs.

Amy Keller, is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. in Skokie, IL.  She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 24 years. For more information, please contact Amy at 773.657.3374 or visit www.ameripriseadvisors.com/amy.m.keller

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

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Content provided by Women Belong member Amy Keller