Ok, I'm going to go on ahead and do something I very rarely do. I'm going to gender stereotype for a moment.
Hear me out, because there's a reason and I see this happen over and over and over again in my office. Ready for it? Men. Stop what you're doing and make sure you have a THOUGHTFUL gift for your partner. If you've already aced this, pat yourself on the back and go about your business, knowing your partner will be stoked.
For those of you who haven't, I'm talking to you. Now, before you get all mad at me for making the holidays about material things, I'm going to stop you. Because a gift doesn't in fact have to be from the store at all. The entire premise of gift giving is letting the receiver know that you took time out of your day to think about them, and that you put some effort into bringing them a little joy. Yes, I know I could write many blog posts about consumerism and the real meaning behind the holidays, but the point is your wife/girlfriend WANTS to know that you care enough about her to go out of your way to do something to show it. That's it.
Now I know that there are many reasons that you may have put off gift giving or skipped it all together. One reason I see often, is that women get so wrapped up in being the "do-ers" or the gift givers themselves that they don't know how to communicate what they actually want and end up hoping by dropping some crafty hints or by osmosis you'll know. I know that's unfair, and that it's about communication skills and not assuming your partner can read your mind - but as it's actually Christmas Eve and no one has time to get into all that right now, I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you what your partner didn't. SHE WANTS YOU TO GIVE HER SOMETHING THOUGHTFUL.
Ok, so maybe you knew she wanted something but you blanked because you're short on cash/ don't know what she wants/ forgot/ thought it wasn't that important. The answer to those are: it doesn't need to be bought/ Ask her (or better yet, truly think about what she likes)/ you're remembering it right now/ it is important.
Look, gifts aren't going to solve all your relationship issues, but the premise of gift giving is about knowing and liking the receiver. In fact, according to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman- knowing your partners inner world (love maps) and making sure your partner know that they are loved and admired are the 2 most foundational parts of a healthy relationship.
Ok, so you're like- great it's already Christmas Eve, thanks for making me feel like crap at the last minute. But here's the thing, late is better than never. Perhaps you do have a store nearby that is still open, go and channel what you're wife might like. Maybe it's a scarf that you think would look pretty next to her hair. Maybe it's a pillow because she's always complaining about the one she has now. Maybe it's a fancy bag of coffee that she loves but would never buy herself. Go online and purchase a massage for her. YOU know your partner better than almost anyone else.
And let's say buying stuff is moot for whatever reason. Write her a letter, letting her know why you love her and just how important she is to you. Don't forget to highlight the reasons that you think she's amazing/sexy/wonderful/smart/funny/etc. Own up to the last minuteness of everything and tell her you want to make it up to her by doing XY or Z. Corny as it sounds, make up a list of coupons of all the things she hates doing that you're going to do for her (and follow through on it). Take her out for a drive to see the lights, bring her favorite hot beverage and remind her of all the reasons y'all fell in love in the first place.
I'm not picking on you guys, I promise. Sometimes a little tough love is nicer than keeping you in the dark. YOU have the power to start making small changes in your relationship today. Do it!