Five Holiday Ideas for Couples Who Don’t Want to Exchange Gifts

By Janet Howard

Choosing the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list can be stressful. And for long-term couples, traditional gift exchanges may also get a little boring. This holiday season, create a new tradition that focuses on togetherness rather than materialism with these five holiday ideas for couples who don’t want to exchange gifts.

1. Spend a Whole Lazy Day Together
If you’re in a long-term relationship, chances are it’s been a long time since you spent a whole, uninterrupted day with your partner. Between work, family obligations, errands, and maintaining a social life, it can be hard to find the time for each other. This holiday season, treat yourselves by taking a day to focus solely on one another. Take a vacation day, ignore your chores, turn your phones off, and spend the day doing whatever you feel like doing. A lazy day will help you and your partner to relax and reconnect just in time for the new year. Plus, you’ll forgo materialism and get to experience the real meaning of the season by celebrating your love.

2. Go on Vacation
Spending a lazy day at home can be great for a quick recharge, but nothing says relaxation quite like a vacation. Instead of exchanging gifts, consider pooling your resources and going on a vacation at the end of the year instead. A vacation allows you to leave behind all the stressors of everyday life while also experiencing new cultures. If money is tight, skip birthday and anniversary gifts for a year too and save for your holiday break instead. It will be worth it – especially if you live somewhere with harsh winter weather that you can escape.

3. Plan a Fancy Date Night
If you can’t quite afford a vacation, planning a fancy date night is a budget-friendly alternative that can be just as special. Choose an upscale restaurant and get all dressed up for a night of great food and great memories. Then finish the night by taking in a movie, or choose another activity that the two of you enjoy. Splurging on a fancy night out will probably cost you just as much as you would have spent on gifts, but the memories you’ll make will last a lot longer.

4. Choose Practical Gifts
If you’re not quite ready to completely forgo traditional gift exchanges, you can still distance yourselves from materialism by focusing on sensible gifts. Fill a stocking for your partner with practical items like razors, socks, and other commonly used items. That way, you both still have gifts to open, but they are necessary items. You can also add a few small, fun gifts in the stockings as well. Little surprise gifts will keep the holidays fun without the pressure of having to find the perfect, expensive present for your partner.

5. Splurge on a Shared Gift
Instead of buying each other gifts this holiday season, pool your money and buy something together that you can both enjoy. This could be something fun, like a new TV, or something more practical, like a new piece of furniture for the house.

Many stores have sales throughout the holiday season, so the money you would usually spend on each other can be used to snag a great deal together instead. Plus, you’ll have the chance to work on your communication skills as you compromise on a gift you’ll both enjoy. If conventional holiday gift exchanges are getting stale in your long-term relationship, it may be time to start a new tradition.

Instead of gifts, set aside time to relax with your partner, either at home or on vacation, or spend a fancy night out at a great restaurant. If you still want to exchange gifts, focus on sensible items, like everyday necessities or something shared for your home. These new traditions alleviate the pressure of having to find the perfect gift for your partner, allowing you to focus instead on each other this holiday season.

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