Are you the kind of couple who buys each other Christmas gifts–or who goes in together and buys one big couple gift?
It’s Wednesday, the day we always talk about marriage and how to feel close. And so today I thought I’d tackle Christmas gifts.
Keith and I have a real problem every year with gifts, because our anniversary is also December 21. So every year, just when we’re trying to figure out gifts for everybody else, we also have to figure out TWO gifts for each other. And since both Keith and I have very specialized hobbies (I’m a big knitter; he’s a big bird watcher and miniature soldier painter), it’s hard for us to buy for each other. We both want such specific things the other isn’t knowledgeable about.
It’s always a little bit stressful, and as a person who does NOT have gifts as her love language (and neither does my husband!), we often wonder if it’s worth all of the worry.
Besides that, we totally share bank accounts, so if he “buys” me a present, it’s not really like he’s giving me something, since it was my money already. It’s more like he’s spending our money, in a way to say, “I want to bless you with this without having to worry about spending money on yourself.” That’s lovely, but again–it’s not always what I want.
That’s where couple gifts can come in handy.
Some years, to avoid the hassle of having to find two presents for each other, we just decide that we will find something we both really want and buy it to bless our marriage. In fact, often this gives us something we want more! If he buys me something he thinks I’ll like, he doesn’t always get it 100% right, and vice versa. Plus, he only has 50% of the money to spend as he would have if we went in together. So often a couple gift gets you more of what you want–you just lose out on the surprise factor Christmas morning.
After all, if you combine forces, you have twice as much money to spend! And that can get you something awesome.
So today I thought I’d talk about couple presents that can bless you together. I don’t just want to look at buying stuff you both really want (like a new couch or a super cool espresso maker or a new appliance, even if those may be wonderful), but instead buying a couple gift that will actually bless your marriage. So let’s look!
Try the “Gift of an Experience” Couple Gift
One of the best couple gifts I can think of is an experience where you go and do something together and build memories, have some fun, and laugh together!
Here are a few ideas:
1. Buy a trip together
Keith and I just loved our walking tour of Ireland we did last year with Hillwalk Tours. It was a self-guided walking tour, so they made all the arrangements at the B&B and provided the maps, itinerary, and all the instructions we needed, and off we went!
Maybe there’s some place you’ve always wanted to visit–or maybe you want to go back to the place you went for your honeymoon! Maybe you never even took a honeymoon. Instead of putting money towards individual gifts, maybe that money would better be put into a fund to save up for a trip that you both would absolutely love.
2. Go on a marriage weekend
Keith and I just got back from speaking at FamilyLife Canada’s Weekend Getaway (we’re speaking at the one in Niagara Falls in March, too!). It’s such a fun weekend where you learn great SMALL things you can put into practice right away to enhance your marriage–while you also get a weekend away in a lovely hotel, and a chance for a great extended date night on Saturday night.
Check out some marriage conferences in your area, because every marriage needs a tune up sometimes.
3. Plan a Weekend Away
Or there’s always the option just to take a romantic weekend getaway, just the two of you. That’s cheaper than a trip, and if you need extended time together, it’s a great way. Choose a location a little bit of a drive from where you live, so that it seems at least a little exotic, and choose a great place to stay. Remember–staying for 2 nights during the week is often cheaper than the weekend, so if you all have a flexible work schedule and flexible baby-sitters (if needed), that may be an option, too!
4. Go to a Concert, Play, or Something Super Cool
My youngest daughter would absolutely be in heaven if she could go see the musical Hamilton. So would my oldest son-in-law (unfortunately they’re not the ones who are married!). Maybe there’s a show or a play or a sporting event that you both would just love to go to. But often tickets, especially good tickets, can be over $100. When you have to buy 2 tickets, that can be too much for a single gift. But for a couple gift–suddenly it may be in the budget.
Remake your Bed as a Couple Gift
What’s more of a “marriage” gift than a luxurious bed? And the bed is the piece of furniture you will use the most. You will use your sheets far more than any item of clothing. Your bedding matters. So pamper your marriage by getting a great place to sleep!
5. Buy a New Mattress
Did you know that mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years? Yet most people don’t do that. And considering that a good mattress can save you from back and neck problems, as well as help you sleep better, it really does matter.
Plus, a mattress that doesn’t squeak when you’re making love and that is just the right firmness to make this awesome is really a pretty important thing in a marriage!
Don’t scrimp on the mattress. Scrimp on the appliances, but not the mattress!
And the same can go for pillows, too. I’ve got neck problems simply because I’m on my computer all day, plus I slouch, so I’ve gone out of my way to find pillows that cradle me properly at night.
6. Buy New Bedding
I’ve talked a lot about Slumber Cloud, because they’re a big sponsor of this blog, and I just love what they offer, especially as I’m approaching menopause. What Slumber Cloud does is create bedding that is super comfortable, but that also regulates temperature. NASA developed this fabric technology for astronauts, and Slumber Cloud has the patent to use this technology in bedding. Here’s how they describe it:
Outlast® technology is made up of thousands of microscopic “beads” called Thermocules™. Each one of these Thermocules™ is designed to absorb, store, or release heat based on your ideal sleeping temperature. As your skin temperature increases, the technology will absorb that excess heat to reduce overheating. The technology will then store the excess heat away from your body until your skin temperature begins to drop. When this occurs, the stored heat is released back to you to keep you at the perfect temperature.
In other words–if you both sleep at different temperatures, this can compensate. And if you’re a woman going through menopause, or a guy who hates being hot at night, this can be amazing. I’ve been using Slumber Cloud’s Nacreous mattress pad, Cumulus pillow, and Nacreous pillow cover, all with the Outlast technology, along with their sheet sets. The next thing I want to try is their duvets! I spent all year when we were in our RV testing out the mattress cover. It really does keep the temperature constant. It helped me with hot flashes a ton–the mattress didn’t feel hot and sweaty. But on those cool nights it also helped me stay a little warmer. Awesome bedding is worth investing in–and you can combine it with a basket of strawberries or chocolates for a romantic post-Christmas evening!
Choose a Romantic Couple Gift
7. Learn to give an awesome massage to each other
Nothing says “I love you” to me than when Keith takes some time to knead the knots out of my back. My shoulder blades get bad because of my bad posture, and my lower back gets bad because of how I sit all day. And when he gives me a massage–I feel much more romantic in every sense of the word, too!
MELT Massage has been an awesome partner of this blog for years, and I’m so grateful because we got a free membership to their video series where couples can learn how to give a great massage. It’s so fun. The lessons are only 5 minutes long, and they teach one skill per lesson. You watch the video, and then you practice. And after a few videos, you’ve learned a whole bunch of techniques that you can then combine into an awesome massage night!
Right now Dennis, who created the videos, has a really cool special on. He’s created his own unique massage oil, which he’s selling at 50% off. And here’s the deal: When you buy the massage oil (which really won’t be expensive), you’re eligible to buy the massage videos for 40% off! But there are only 700 bottles of massage oil available–and so only 700 discounts (and it’s only in the U.S. I’m afraid!).
See all the details here!
8. Take ballroom dancing lessons
One of the most romantic things Keith and I ever did as a couple was learn to ballroom dance. We’re not awesome, but we’re passable. And that means that when we’re at weddings or on cruises or something where there’s dancing–we can actually dance!
Don’t know where to take lessons? We’ve also discovered how you can take ballroom dancing lessons online (I’ve got a whole post on it here, including video of Keith and me trying!). And if you want to take a Crash Course in Ballroom Dancing (where you learn enough to do 3 dances in just 1.5 hours), try this one! But remember: It’s only a real couples gift if you actually practice. 🙂
Choose a Couple Gift that Focuses on Couple Fun
I’m a big believer that couples should have hobbies together! The more time we spend just doing things together and having fun, the better our communication will be. When we’re able to just chat and laugh together, then we build the foundation to also address serious stuff in the marriage. And we build great memories and camaraderie, too.
9. Try Couple Board Games
One of my most popular posts on this blog is my post on board games to play as a couple! Every Christmas I buy a new board game for us and for our kids, now that they have a significant other. Why not invest in some of these 2-player games yourself? (Jaipur is a new one I just added; I update that post all the time with the best new games. And that’s my pick for 2017!).
10. Buy a Membership
My oldest daughter and her husband have bought a “couple gift” for themselves of a membership at a rock climbing gym, because they love doing that together. Maybe you could get a season’s pass to a ski hill, or a swimming pool, or a tennis club. Just choose something that you both enjoy doing.
Choose a Couple Gift that Helps You Pursue Your Goals
11. Get a Personal Trainer
Often you can hire a personal trainer as a couple for the same price as you can individually, so you can work out together! If getting in shape is something you enjoy and also something you really feel is important, this may be an awesome couple gift choice for you.
12. Take a Cooking Class
Want to learn to eat healthier? Want to simply learn to cook better at home, so you’re not always ordering take out? Lots of couples love taking cooking classes together! That’s an experience that can also teach you an important life skill.
So there you are–some ideas to pool the money you would have spent on each other this year and buy something that will enhance your marriage!
But now let me ask you for your suggestions–what are couple gifts that you’d like? Let’s brainstorm together in the comments!