Why my husband and I don’t exchange gifts on holiday’s

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My husband and I decided shortly after we got married that we would forgo exchanging gifts during Christmas. For many people, this would be a huge deal.

Some people measure their marital success, love, and happiness on those gifts. For us though this is not the case.

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Forgoing gifts was one of the best decisions we made.

We have an appreciation for the bigger picture and work hard to paint that picture.

Sharing a vision

My husband and I fell in love very quickly and were engaged after about a year of dating – we got married 6 months after that. It was because we both had clear visions of what we wanted out of life.

After marriage we knew we wanted more children, to travel the world, and do more experiences in life.

We both had come from horrible past relationships. So we also knew what we did NOT want to experience again.

Thus, wanting to spend our lives together became a very easy choice for us. Our big dreams and goals were not wrapped in boxes with shiny paper or a perfect bow.

We’ve always been in sync like this and it applies to our attitude towards the notion of exchanging gits with each other in that simply adding another item – another possession – to our home would not bring the type of joy we wanted to achieve together.

Saving for larger ticket items

Within our first 5 years of marriage, we made some huge purchases. Forgoing gifts helped with that.

We bought a brand new car off the lot. We purchased a home. Traveled across the world to places like China, Panama and The Dominican Republic.

For us, this was our vision. We wanted to raise a family in a home of our own and explore traveling with our kids.

During these 5 years, I even took the gift-giving further.

We don’t do up Valentine’s Day really big, celebrate sweetest day or other days similar to that.

I can vividly remember telling my husband, the year before we bought our house, that buying me roses/flowers on Valentine’s Day was not needed.

Sure every girl loves receiving huge flowers, I included. But to be honest I have a huge problem with the fact that roses can cost anywhere from $50-$150……or more! All for flowers that have a short life and bring short-lived happiness.

It just doesn’t seem right to me.

Instead, though, I told him “lets by a house where I can have roses all the time”. And so we did. I have 3 rose bushes in my house with many other flowers that bloom every season.

Now if my husband does buy me flowers, which he still does every so often, it comes as a complete surprise and the good feeling of appreciation is so much more than the expectation of the glorified hallmark holiday.

The gift of time

The gift of time now with my husband looks very different than it did before we had 3 kids.

We are constantly on the go with the kids. Plus, our youngest is under the age of 2.

Not to mention my husband travels for work as well.

This is why on our 5th year anniversary we decided to take a couple’s trip to Disney. Something I would highly recommend!

We left our two older ones at the time and spent a week at Disney and also drove to the ocean and Cape Canaveral. Having the freedom to just spend quality time and experience things means so much more to us.

Getting the undivided attention, love, affection, and time with my husband means more than any regular type of gift could.

I can’t even begin to explain how much more even his words of appreciation mean to me. For example, he thanks me for making dinner every night. He teaches our kids to do the same.

This goes far beyond opening 5 gifts for Christmas from him.

During the holidays my husband saves a huge chunk of his vacation time to be home with the kids and I. We do all sorts of activities and he gets quality time with the kids.

Just because gifts

My husband and I have forgone traditional gift-giving for almost 8 years now. We more than likely will continue the tradition. Our main gift-giving is for the kids.

We also enjoy seeing our kids happy and showing them the world. Teaching them more about what’s beyond our backyard.

Throughout the year though we do random gifts for each other. Which I would much rather have.

The surprise of the gift is more thoughtful and more meaningful. I call them “just because” gifts.

To give you an example I came across a football jersey for my husband that I knew he would love. He is a huge sports fan and even though he never spends money on himself, I knew he wanted a new one.

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It was a player he loved and I knew he would love the jersey and would be so excited to get it.

So I bought it and gave it to him to celebrate the starting of training camp for the season.

It’s in these moments that we get to celebrate each other individually.

Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts

You may be wondering about Mother’s day and father’s day gifts. Those we do exchange some years, but it’s not an expectation and often we do experiences over traditional gifts that come in a box.

We also take this approach with birthday gifts as well. When we do wrap up gifts, the tag often is from “the kids”, but since we still have young ones we know who really picked it out – haha!

Our dedication to raising our family is a symbol of love.

We chose for me to stay home with our kids. My husband does some unbelievable things as a father.

As busy as he is at work he will FaceTime us almost every day around noon to eat lunch with the kids. He calls them every chance he gets during work trips. He does bath routine with me every night and even calls the nights he travels.

To celebrate him and the things he does as a father is something that is so important to me.

No gifts holiday’s tradition

As the years go by we will more than likely continue our no gifts for the holiday tradition.

Our family is still young.

Going down to one income plays a role in that too. We still want to travel and not even two years ago we added our 3rd child.

Maybe you have considered giving up the traditional gifts for Christmas.

Maybe you are reevaluating gift-giving for monetary reasons.

I feel this approach can open your eyes to something more. I believe the appreciation of each other goes further and the focus changes.

Not everyone will agree. That’s OK. Ultimately I think you should do what fits you best and makes you the happiest.


What do you feel about this approach? Do you and your spouse forgo gifts? If so, what was your reasoning behind it? I love to hear what others do, so feel free to share it in the comments.

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