As an adult, I’ve come to find that gifts aren’t as important to me as they once were. I find the greatest joy in the giving as opposed to the receiving. Last year, my husband and I opted not to exchange gifts and yet we still celebrated Christmas and its true meaning with our daughter. It caused me to feel such gratitude because I had everything I needed. The most wonderful gift I could have been given was the gift of family and the love we share.
This year, we decided we would exchange gifts despite being on a budget. Most of our funds this holiday are allocated to going on a few family adventures, getting the girls their presents and giving back to our community. My husband has asked me several times what I wanted for Christmas and while I’ve been coveting a Clarsonic for ages, what I want most can’t be bought or wrapped and tucked under the Christmas tree. The greatest gifts my husband can give me don’t cost a thing and yet they hold the most value.
For those who are on a budget or for those who seek to do more than just gift things, I’ve rounded up some of the best gifts you can give your loved ones. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Christmas to give these, and guess what? They’re free! Take a look at these 10 free and meaningful gifts to give your spouse this season.
10 Gifts to Give Your Spouse 1 of 11
There are some things that money can't buy. They happen to be some of the best things you can gift someone, particularity your spouse. Take a look at 10 gifts that are both free and meaningful.
The gift of touch 2 of 11
It is amazing how critical touch is to our livelihood. It causes us to feel close and connected. It reaffirms feelings of love and passion. Whether it is cuddling by the fire, embracing your partner in a hug, or kissing them underneath the mistletoe, touch has the power to cause even the grumpiest of people to become a bit merrier. When my husband wraps his arms around me I feel safe, protected and loved. And when I've had a rough day I find solace and comfort in his arms.
The gift of a listening ear 3 of 11
So many times we are hearing what our spouse is saying but we aren't truly listening. Active listening is a powerful tool. Has your spouse been having a hard day at work? Are they worried about over committing during the holidays? Allowing them to express what they are thinking or feeling can be healing for a worried heart. And don't worry so much about having a solution. Often, spouses aren't asking you to solve their problem. But what they will appreciate is empathy and compassion for what they are experiencing.
The gift of quality time 4 of 11
December is a busy month for lots of families. Between holiday parties, school performances, holiday shopping, and supporting your favorite causes, you may find the month slipping away and experience feeling a bit disconnected. Consider saying no to a few commitments or staying up later during the week to squeeze in some quality time. Unplug and focus on each other. Watch a favorite Christmas movie or dance to a romantic holiday song. Be present with one another.
The gift of friendship 5 of 11
One of the things my husband and I have been working toward is becoming even better friends. I believe it is our friendship that will sustain us when we are "old and gray" and the romance requires a bit more work. It is the friendship that helps us look at each other with loving eyes when we are sick and helps us to have forgiving hearts when we hurt one another. While romance is nice, it is our friendship that keeps us connected even when we aren't feeling all that giddy.
The gift of compassion 6 of 11
This past year has been a bit emotional for me. But one of the things that has helped me is knowing that my husband feels for me. He has empathy for me. Sure, he may not get what it feels like to be worried about getting my monthly blog posts completed on time or the sense of urgency I feel to get as much work done as possible while the baby is asleep. He may not quite understand why I struggle to resist eating that chocolate cupcake despite desperately wanting to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans again or why the idea of not being by my baby's side causes my eyes to well up with tears. But the fact that he doesn't minimize my challenges and concerns and genuinely feels for me means the world to me.
The gift of a compliment 7 of 11
When is the last time you told your spouse they looked beautiful or that they were a great parent? The other day I had a mini meltdown via text to my husband. I had driven to our daughter's school three times that morning first to drop her off, then to deliver the jacket she left in the car and again to deliver her lunch (she could have bought lunch but I was worried she wouldn't have a snack). Meanwhile our baby was in the car screaming and I was still struggling to get over being sick. His response, "You're a good mom." And suddenly my mood had changed. I responded with, "I'm trying." My husband doesn't agree with everything I do and I am far from perfect, but I'm doing the best I can and his affirmation meant a lot to me. Yes, it is important to be confident in our abilities as parents and individuals but sometimes I'm not.
Sometimes I doubt myself and I worry if I'm blowing things. I put so much pressure on myself to get this right. My husband isn't a man of many words and yet those four words instantly impacted the way I saw myself. I went from feeling annoyed at myself for not double checking to make sure she had everything in tow, to realizing that I'm doing my best. And that's all I can do. It also happens to be enough.
The gift of gratitude 8 of 11
Gratitude is one of the most powerful gifts. It shows the people we love that we are appreciative. While many of us don't do things expecting something in return, it is nice to feel appreciated. Expressing your appreciation for your partner can have a significant impact on them. There are days when I feel so overwhelmed trying to do my part to contribute to our family unit and juggle various outside tasks and obligations. Hearing my husband tell me he appreciates me and all I do for our family means the world and makes some of the hardest aspects of my career and day-to-day life more bearable. (So do the faces of him and my babies. They make everything worth it).
The gift of indulgence 9 of 11
What's your spouse's guilty pleasure at home? Do they have a favorite show, do they love to take long bubble baths when they can sneak away, do they love to clean and cook with the music blasting (despite your spouse being a fan of quiet)? Does your spouse love to read but seem to never have the time? Help make it possible for them to partake in one of their favorite pastimes. Prepare dinner and get the children ready for bed or take them out for the afternoon so your spouse has the house all to him or herself. Don't underestimate the thrill of being able to take a nap or read through your favorite magazine without interruptions.
The gift of helping hands 10 of 11
Helping your spouse with tasks you normally don't help with is sure to put them in a merry mood! If you see them folding laundry, start folding alongside them. See them washing the dishes? Offer to dry. Don't be afraid to step outside of your normal household duties to help relieve your spouse. I can't help but smile (and be appreciative) when I see my husband folding our daughters' laundry. Because let's be real, these days clean clothes can sit in the basket for days before I get to it.
The gift of fun 11 of 11
I love having fun as a family and making memories with our children. It's one of my favorite things but I also love how life has a way of reminding me how fun my husband is. My heart is happy in those moments when I find the two of us laughing at each other's jokes or being silly together. When we erupt in laughter, sing songs, challenge each other or play games with our 9 year old. In these moments I am reminded of how much fun going through life with my husband is. I am grateful for the duets and the emails with links to funny YouTube videos and the tickle fights. Reason being, they lighten up the mood in our house and they remind me of how blessed I am to have someone in my life who I can laugh with.
And there you have it, 10 gift ideas that won’t break the bank. These 10 gift ideas just might show you that you are perhaps richer than your bank account might suggest. If you have any additional free gift ideas, please leave them in the comments!