The Complaint Department

The Gift Jason M

The writer doesn't like her Christmas present. The Soul Sister answers.

Dear Soul Sister

I know it’s a bit late, but I simply can’t let go of my disappointment - yet again - about my Christmas presents (or rather, lack of them). Am I being pathetic, or am I right to expect a bit more than a voucher and a bit of perfume after 10 years with my husband?

Dear My

Ah yes, the eternal Christmas triangle - you, him, and the present. It seems there are very few men able to come up with a present that pleases their chosen one. I hear still of kinky red knickers proffered as ‘gifts’ (for whom?), slimming products (how nice!), and of course vouchers (the lazy man’s ultimate solution). It would seem that men who buying good presents are the same as the ones who are emotionally literate - so we are in the rarity area, I’m afraid. I wish it wasn’t so.

The only way to tackle this thorny, every-year issue is to go to the root: are you two talking? Do you communicate what you 'd like and make sure he takes notice? Do you talk to him about his wishes, too? I have heard of husband training programmes, where a small present is given every month or a fine is 'levied'. If you have tried these sorts of things and have failed to get the desired effect, maybe make a written list of things you really like - that takes the guessing out of it for him. If he still ignores that, ask yourself if you have a real relationship - maybe that’s where the focus should be for both of you. If people don’t manage to please each other in small ways, how will they be partners in the big, demanding ways a long-term relationship requires?

And then you could make great new beginning- and solve the vexed issue at the same time.

Good luck!