The ABCs of Gift Giving

Buying for the Man Who Has Everything

Fred is always the hardest person to buy for on my Christmas list.

When we first got married, I would dread buying his gifts. The challenge was that if there was something that Fred wanted, he would buy it. That meant that everything I thought of to get him, he already had.

Plus I’m definitely more frugal than my husband. So no matter what price limit we set for each other’s gift, Fred would always exceed it. As a result, my presents for him inevitably looked like something from a Cracker Jack’s box by comparison.

About six years ago, we came up with a solution. We would use the alphabet to determine what gifts we would buy for each other. We started with the letter “A” and are now on the letter “F.” The catch is that the gift cannot cost more than $35.

While this plan hasn’t made gift giving any easier, it certainly has made it less stressful. I’m no longer worried about trying to find the “right” gift to show just how much I love him instead we both have fun showing off our creativity and knowledge of each other on a tight budget.

Of course, our alphabet soup of gifts has had its hits and misses. Fred wasn’t too thrilled with the argyle socks he got the first year, but last year was sheer genius. We combined our resources and purchased an “escape” for two – a $70 room downtown, and my sister agreed to watch the kids for a night.

On second thought, maybe we should just do “E” every year.


I Should Buy Stock in Kay Jewelers

After knowing someone for nearly two decades, it becomes a bit difficult to buy her gifts. I want my gifts to my wife to be meaningful and not given out of obligation because of a holiday. But Kim makes thing harder because she doesn’t have any hobbies, she’s a bit of a Luddite so technology holds little appeal to her, and she’d rather buy her own clothes.

I refuse to buy my wife a gift card or give her cash because it seems so cold and impersonal. Therefore, I often resort to buying her jewelry. If she were to wear all of the jewelry that I’ve bought her at once, she’d rival Mr. T.

That’s why I was so excited when we came up with an idea to make our gift-giving more creative. Each year we have to buy each other a Christmas gift that starts with a specific letter of the alphabet and can cost no more than $35.

These constraints add a bit of fun and anticipation to our gift buying and giving experiences. It took me a couple of years to get out of my automatic jewelry buying mode (I purchased an amethyst necklace for the letter “A”).

This year, we had to buy a gift that began with the letter “F.” I was stumped. I tried to get some ideas from my friends on Twitter, but they were no help. They suggested things that such as foosball table, foot-in pajamas, and fruitcake (BTW – fruitcake is NEVER an appropriate gift).

I finally settled on a football jersey because she’s a big Houston Texans fan. She got me a film, a family devotional, and my favorite – footwear.

Now what’s a good gift that starts with the letter “G”?


Question: Do you have a hard time buying a gift for your spouse or partner?

  • Cheryl

    Oy. We finally killed the whole gift-giving thing because it was so stressful. Interestingly enough, since we did, I find myself making crafty cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. He loves it. Best gifts ever!

    Jumping right in for G. I’d make the category “getaway” and you could do your E all over again. ^_-

  • Originalwombman

    It’s almost impossible! We just end up giving each other cash and saying, “Buy what you want!” But I like your system! :)

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