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     As Christmas approaches, last minute gift searching frantically increases. Finding the perfect gift for your partner always takes to mind during the holiday season, and can even be quite stressful. No matter your budget or gifting style, it is important to show your appreciation during the season of giving. After all the time, money, effort, and care put into finding the perfect gift, it can be quite hurtful when your return is not the same. 

     It is not selfish or ungrateful to be disappointed when opening a gift you had high expectations for. I have spent several holiday seasons in relationships, and it can be quite hurtful when the time to exchange gifts come around. And of course it is important to appreciate any present, but I have found myself getting my feelings hurt when I open something that shows me my partner does not listen, or possibly doesn’t care. 

     For example, I outspokenly do not like caramel. Whenever ordering desserts at a restaurant or picking out ice cream at a store during a past relationship. I always made comments to show this like, “I am not going to get this because it has caramel in it,” or “Can we pick something else, I am not a huge fan of caramel.” But yet, I found myself on Valentine’s day with a box of chocolate caramels. Although as a small example this may seem insignificant, I feel when this happens to many people, ideas start to cross our minds. “Do they not care?”, “Are they not listening?”, and “how could they not remember?” All of these questions have come into mind when receiving less than personable gifts on holidays, and is that okay?

     Gifting is a sensitive subject not only due to monetary reasons, but also effort. You can’t tell that the amount of planning and effort your significant other put into finding your gift based on the final product, and depending on the point of your relationship, you might not have predicted their budget. Although these may be obstacles, as more opportunities arise and you are continually disappointed and upset, these gifts might be telling you something. Is it possible you are putting more effort in then your partner and maybe care about them more? Or is gifting not something they find importance and therefore do not think you do either? Either way, you are still feeling upset and unimportant, what is there to do?

     When something arises in a relationship that truly bothers you, it will not go away. You will find yourself not being able to progress together because you can’t come over an obstacle your partner is not aware of. The only solution is to let them know, and have a conversation. If your partner does care, they will put in more effort to show you that they in fact do care, and maybe just aren’t good under the pressure of holiday season gifting. However, if your partner shrugs this off or doesn’t try to understand why you are upset — that can be an indicator of a deeper relationship issue, and may signal that it is time for you to reevaluate your needs in a relationship and if they can fulfill those. 

Hannah Cotton is a sophomore Neuroscience major on the Pre-Medical track at Baylor University. She is from Wentzville, Missouri which is just west of St. Louis. When she is not at the library she can most likely be found out with friends or getting coffee. In her down time she enjoys binging Criminal Minds and reading murder mysteries.
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