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If Your Partner Doesn't Want Gifts, Here's How To Know If They're Really Serious

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As mortal beings, the end of the year inevitably ushers in some existential crises: What have I accomplished this year? What have I accomplished these past 29 years? Why does winter make me so sad? (Maybe that last one is just me.) Receiving gifts from loved ones mitigates the "Am I of value?" woes. A present is a tangible way of saying, "I care," once a year. (Just say no to adult birthday gifts.) However, there are some noble partners who say they don't want gifts for the holidays.

First, I'm not going to pretend I am one of those people. Nope, not even for a minute. In fact, I'm confused about those people who say "no thank you" to gifts. I love getting presents. If you say, "I really like you," you could be lying to me. But if you surprise me with a puppy, you really, really must like me, you know? (I'm kidding... ish.)

Second, telling your partner that you do not want anything for the holidays does not, in fact, make you humble, — it just makes you incredibly hard to shop for. Your partner is going to get you something, because everyone wants something and you're going to get them something and blah, blah, blah. True, your partner might not want a material gift like a Sonos system, but would they really turn down a massage, a contribution to a "save for Thailand" fund, or a night out with you? Methinks no.

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I do not think presents are requisite for showing love, but I would never turn down an item someone picked out for me. Plus, I really love choosing gifts for people I love, wrapping them up adorably, and then doubting myself about my gift of choice, but still gifting it and crossing my fingers they understand what it is when they open it. It's thrilling.

So, how can you tell if your partner is being serious when they say they don't want anything for the holidays? You work backwards. Here are some signs they might exhibit that suggest they actually do want something, even if their words say otherwise:

1. They Insist They Don't Want Anything, But They Mention How Annoying It Is To Spend Money On Netflix Regularly

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So here's the thing, your bae is a wee bit cheap. Here's the other thing, while your partner may not want anything, you can foot their Netflix bill for the year. They think they didn't want anything, but they really did. Cute and highly unlikely to annoy them. Also works with electricity bills, Spotify memberships, or even student loans if you're a baller like that.

2. They Say They Don't Want Anything, But They Are Consistently Googling "Best At-Home Brewing Kits"

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Again, while you may have had to peep their internet history in order to discover this newfound interest your partner has in being a total hipster and brewing beer at home, indulge their curiosity. Surprise them with a kit or a class. This goes for any hobbies your partner may have mentioned in passing to you: a distillery tour, drink-and-draw class, a neon sign-making course... (Yes, I live in Brooklyn.)

3. They Don't Want Presents, But They're Really Fired Up About The State Of The World In 2017

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OK, so your partner truly is selfless and noble and wonderful and #goals. You can still show them some present-love, however. Donate to whatever charity is fighting for the cause that matters to them most. There are many options to choose from in 2017.

4. They're Adamant They Don't Want A Gift, But They Are Obsessed With A Particular Podcast

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Snag them tickets to a live show. This also works well for bands. Again, this is like a diet present, you're just helping them save money on something they would probably end up going to anyways.

5. They Are Angered By Gifts, But They Love Eating And Drinking

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OK fine! Some people just don't want the pressure of a gift exchange. If you and your partner decided you would not exchange gifts this year, and you both agreed to it, don't surprise them with a new iPad and make everything awkward.

Because I do still really believe that gifts are gestures of love, what you can do is pick up the tab the next time you go out to that sort of expensive restaurant your bae loves. Just sneak the waiter your credit card, and voilà. You've tangibly shown your feels, and don't have to feel guilty when your friends talk about the epic gifts they've spent months picking out for their SOs.

At the end of the day, the holidays should not be about presents. They should be about feelings and reflection, joy and cookies, and showing those we care about that we really do care about them. This is why I stand in favor of creative, low-key gifts, even if your partner is not so into the idea. You'll come up with something. Cheers, and happy end of the worst year yet!

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