Why I Didn’t Buy My Husband a Birthday Gift

Brian and I haven’t bought “presents” for each other in like, four years. For anything.

I’m pretty impossible to shop for (50/50 picky and I just buy anything I want for myself), and he’s the simplest person in the world that’s happy with a thrifted tshirt and a good six pack of IPA.


one of the last presents Brian bought for me – and possibly the only one I didn’t exchange. hanging on to it for dear life.

Which is exactly what his brother gets him every year for Christmas. A bag of old tshirts and something to pour in a pint glass. It’s his favorite gift.

I’m used to the horrified/confused looks people give when I answer their gift inquisitions with “Nothing. Really, I didn’t get him anything.” by now, and most of our good friends just know better than to ask.

No, we’re not hippie, non-materialistic, “our love is present enough” do-gooders. We’re also not fun sponge lame-o’s trying to suck the happiness from exciting events by pretending they aren’t worthy of a little extra attention. We celebrate (not the Hallmark holidays, though, cmon), we just don’t do it with wrapping paper and bows.

Previous “gifts” over the years have been : trips to Cancun, Jamboree in the Hills, Vegas, and Big Bear; the Baseball Hall of Fame, Spring Training, All Star Game, and that one magical year the Tribe *ALMOST* went to the World Series (uhhh we like baseball) brewery adventures at Great Lakes, Stone, and Ommegang; and flights home to celebrate with the fams (even if they are gift-givers…)


See? Non-giftwrapped presents are fun. And Brian doesn’t lose sleep trying to come up with an idea I won’t hate, because lord knows I won’t pretend to love something if I can exchange it for something I’ll actually use.

The point of all this is today’s Brian’s birthday, and once again I’m off the gift-giving hook. He’s getting a tribute tattoo for his grandpa that served in WWII at Pearl Harbor, something he’s talked about for YEARS. He finally found an artist and concept he likes and I don’t have to worry about birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmases for like four years because HOLY SHIT getting a custom piece of artwork etched onto your skin canvas is expensive.

This weekend we did the cheap birthday “acknowledgement” with breakfast at our favorite hidden spot and a 4 mile hike through Peters Canyon. It was awesome.


photo 4


yes, emily, rattlesnakes. this trail will not be included on any upcoming itineraries, promise.

Happy birthday, babe. No bows required.

Sarah OUaL


24 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Buy My Husband a Birthday Gift

  1. Brad bought me my first Christmas present this past year – the first one in the 8 years we’ve been together – and it was a Kitchen Aid mixer haha. So basically it was a gift for both of us. We don’t do the gift thing either and I’m 100% okay with it. Even flowers make me a little nauseous. Super non-traditional and I’d like to keep it that way. Forever.


  2. dude, my hubs and I are the same way. if I want something, imma gonna buy it! the one time he bought me a necklace (this was over 8 years ago) it was horrendous. “but I thought you liked big statement necklaces” OMG. And before kids, we also did lots of fun vacays to celebrate our anniversary n’ stuff. having those experiences together is the best use of your money, IMHO :)


  3. Thank GOD I’m not the only one that’s part of a non-gift-giving couple. My husband and I are the same way – we both find it much more satisfying to DO something than GET something. Or something. Plus, the expense is just going to come out of the same bank account so if I really need/want something, I’m much happier buying it myself (as is he).


  4. We don’t do Thing gifts either (or rarely – last birthday he gave me a book that I’d been talking about reading for ages but couldn’t find in the library), but we do give/ get Doing gifts (so much more fun!) Plus when we were just starting out working/ in grad school and doing long distance we were so broke that we just gave each other Chrismabirthdayversary experiences. I recommend it. Takes the stress out of the entire year.


  5. You’re supposed to give your spouse a birthday present?

    Our birthdays are 4 days apart (aren’t we cute?) so presents basically turns into swapping money. If there’s something really big we each want we’ll do that and call it our gifts, but otherwise – meh. I do buy him gifts from the kids (and vice versa) but it’s literally stuff the kids pick out — like candy. For some reason Christmas is different.


  6. The horrified looks, YES! On Christmas my cousin gave us a look like we were bad people. We don’t really do gifts either, it’s an unnecessary pressure and we would much rather take trips and do fun things together. Glad to hear we’re not alone!


  7. Happy Birthday to Brian!
    I kinda loved this post because this is exactly the way I am with my immediate family. we’ve never exchanged gifts and done that whole thing. It doesn’t mean anything to me, doesn’t phase me and isn’t out of the ordinary at all – but I get that for a lot of people, it’s probably weird!


  8. We’re the exact same way. My husband’s birthday was a week ago. On his actual birthday I brought him a Shamrock Shake when I picked him up from work, and then on Saturday we toured two LA breweries (Angel City and Golden Road. Highly recommend the Golden Road tour, btw). Last year we toured Stone, Green Flash, and Ballast Point. Yeah… he likes beer :). For my birthday we went to Disneyland.


  9. Josh and I don’t get each other gifts for anything either. Havent done it for at least ten years. We take trips or buy big items and say “Happy (insert upcoming holiday)” or I buy myself something and say “Look what you got me for Mothers Day!” It works out great for both of us.

    Happy Birthday Brian!


  10. I love this…we’re moving more in that direction. We didn’t do anniversary presents this year- just dinner out together. We’re going to Blues and Brews in Telluride this summer- that’s our real ‘present’…y’all wanna come?


  11. My husband and I didn’t get each other birthday presents this year or the last few years either! We usually do something together instead like a mini trip or something….but our birthdays are also a day apart. We do Christmas gifts but nothing expensive. I don’t think we really do anniversary gifts either? Either we take a mini trip or do something together. My sister calls us cheap all the time but its the way we like it and has nothing to do with expenses.


  12. I love this idea… just that I also like getting gifts from my hubby. I’ll try and think up something I can do for his birthday instead of the pressure of buying him a gift. But damn, he loved the Fossil wrist watch I got him last year :-)



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