Whenever there’s occasion that requires gifts or celebration, the BF and I like to clarify our expectations – such as a budget and activities – in advance. He really enjoys giving and receiving presents, so we pretty much try and participate in all the obvious things, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas . The key to this being a success is that 1) we both get a say in the activity (which means there are no surprises surrounding any event – I think Lance’s GF is kind of lame for insisting that Valentine’s Day is all about the girl) and 2) there is a budget that we agree not to exceed.
For Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, it’s typically along the lines of $25-50, depending on our financial situations at the time. Birthdays run around $100-150, and Christmas is about $200. To help the first person get something the other person will like (I am not especially interested in presents and so tend to have a very difficult time deciding what I could ever want), we keep categorized lists with items, stores, and websites as “inspiration” for the other person. These are updated as we think of new things we want and also as we get things on our lists.
These gifts are usually separate from any celebratory dinner…I have learned that depsite the fact that he is very good with people, the BF is an introvert – he prefers to go out only with me rather than in a group with friends. Since his birthday is on Monday, we are going to go out for dinner on Sunday (it’s looking like crab is what he’s craving) and a movie. Then Monday I’m giving him his gifts, which it looks like I am going to go Tempe Festival of the Arts to try and find him something cool that’s not on his list. This has him a little nervous because apparently he doesn’t like deviation (and also he is a huge fan of returning gifts he doesn’t like and he wouldn’t be able to do this). To which I say, ha! Too bad for you
Actually, there are at least four vendors that I know he likes because we’ve bought things from them at previous street fairs, and these events have tons of nice decorative and artsy things (you just have to keep your eyes peeled because there’s a lot of chintzy crap, too). I love street fairs! He’s going out shooting with one of his buddies from work, so I have the afternoon to drink wine outside and inspect all the booths. Awesome!
How do you handle gifts and special occasions when you’re in a relationship? I’m trying to think of something to do to celebrate the fact that I’m graduating with my PhD this May…I actually never would have even thought of this as a celebratory occasion, but then he asked what I wanted to do and I was like, hey, this is a big deal! Our 3-year anniversary is the same week so it’s kind of difficult (and kind of expensive) to separate out the occasions. My best friend and her husband want to go to Vegas with us, and I think that’s actually kind of cool as a PhD celebration thing (and he was on the fence about whether or not he could go so this gives me a little bargaining power) and then we can just have dinner and a sex fest here for the anniversary.
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