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Presence instead of Presents?

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Presence instead of Presents?

‘Tis the season for giving, presents apparently. Like big, extravagant, expensive gifts. I have never been one to care much for material gifts. Perhaps it comes from growing up in a very poor household. Holidays for us were very different than others. We would be lucky to have one or two gifts under the tree for each of us.

The holidays for me have always been more about the lights, the music, and the cozy feelings I have created around this time of year.

Fortunately, my husband isn’t much into material gifts either.  All of our Christmas holidays together have been very low key with regards to material gifts.

Back to my original thought behind writing this post. I have been hearing this phrase “presence versus presents” and the like, everywhere! And I LOVE the intention behind this. Sure, material gifts are great and sometimes absolutely necessary, but what about giving our presence instead of or along with presents?

As we all know and are probably guilty of in this day and age, we do not give others our full presence. Let’s change this. Let’s turn off our phones, televisions, computers, and any other device with a screen and be with one another, fully.

This year, my husband and I are adopting this mantra for our gifts to one another. We will give our full presence to one another on the day after Christmas. We have a maximum $20 budget (to cover any costs that may be included in this time together), and no technology is allowed for the time together to ensure our full presence. The rest is up to us to imagine, create, and enjoy!

Want to join in on this gift giving? Here are ten ideas for you to either use or to help inspire your own:

  • Take your loved one out for ice cream or dessert of their choice
  • Go for a long walk
  • Write them a note of gratitude and then read it to them aloud
  • Make them their favorite meal and enjoy it with them
  • Take them for a scenic drive
  • Purchase a book to read together in bed
  • Together, handcraft each other personal creations
  • Make a playlist of songs that remind you of them and then ask them to dance [this will require technology, but use it strictly for playing music]
  • Create a new tradition together
  • Build a fire, cuddle up, and reminisce together


Ps: these all are great ways to have non-sex sex with your honey!

If you decide to give your presence in place of or in addition to your presents, I would love to hear how you did so. Remember, this doesn’t have to be just for a sweetie, you can do this for anyone you care for like a child, family member, or friend; I am confident they would appreciate it. Plus this can be done throughout the year, not just the holiday season!

Happy Holidays to all and I most certainly hope you get plenty of presence this year!

Until next time,


*Hint* if you are still in need of some gift ideas for your partner, don’t you worry! I will be sharing my top three gift ideas this week with Denver Natural Mom. Check back or even better, subscribe to my blog to ensure you don’t miss it.


headshotAbout the Author:

Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.

About the Author