Recession Love: It’s Your First Christmas Together, Do You Buy a Gift?


I don’t know about you but this holiday season is kicking my ass. There’s one week left until Christmas and I haven’t bought a single present. Hell, I’m not even partaking in my office’s Secret Santa. What I look like spending $30 on a co-worker I don’t really care for. Every time I hear a Christmas carol my eyes roll. Then there is the issue of this damn recession. We’re all in the same place as far as watching our paper but when you’re involved with someone your approach to the holidays (should) change. This got me to thinking and about two things: The Recession and Love. I introduce to you the Recession Love series.


I’m bad at a lot of things: hellos, goodbye, hugs, remembering birthdays and lastly, presents. Something about the pressure of going shopping, finding the right gift without asking them what they want…whew, I just got tired thinking about it. I’m the type to ask you what you want, have you print it out with a list of stores where I can get it and give it to you unwrapped. Surprises are not my thing.

It’s not that I don’t want to show how much I value a dude, but I’m constantly thinking about what the gift means and whether I’m putting more into it than him. I’m all about balance and fairness. Can’t go out looking like a sucka. Because of this I usually end up giving “sentimental gifts” aka some shit I made myself so if he ends up giving me some wackness it’s no sweat off my back. To date I’ve given old flames crocheted hats and scarfs (think Common during his E. Badu years), sweaters and a box of condoms. Trust me, I was justified in each case.

Of course when the love is new you try to put a disclaimer out there:

“Let’s make a deal, how about we don’t spend more than $50.”

“How about we just make dinner and stay home.”

“It’s OK with me if we don’t exchange gifts.”

For the record, no one wants to be the Scrooge and suggest not to buy gifts at all but one of you is always thinking it.

The easiest way to handle X-mas gifting is to add a monetary value for every month you’ve been together. Depending on your financial situation try increments of 10 or 20. This means if you been together six months you’re shelling out anywhere from $60 – $120; ten months = $100 – $200. It doesn’t sound that bad when you think about it, right?

It’s similar to the rule of the engagement ring: an engagement ring should equal two-three months of your man’s salary. Ladies, don’t hit your man up now trying to figure out if you’d be rocking a cubic or the real thing.

Of course this gift giving formula only applies to relationships 12 months or shorter. If you’ve been with someone for longer than a year, of course you are getting a gift and it better be a good one.

Now that the question of “How much?” is answered there is the issue of “What to give?”

When I do buy gifts, I am very practical. I like to buy shit that I know is going to be used and not collect dust. I want to purchase a gift that I know will be in use for years to come. Even if we break up I want the next chick to ask where you got so and so from and you have to ‘fess up, “My ex brought me that.” Zing.

Men love clothing, gadget and video games. I don’t buy them that. I’ve been known to buy microwaves, pillows, toilet bowl cleaners…things that make his and my life easier. Sue me.

Whatever you decide to spend your money on you need to know that you should, without a doubt, buy your boo a gift. How much you spend and what to buy, I’ll leave up to you.

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