Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Gift Giving For The Opposite Sex

One of the challenges for men and women this time of year is buying gifts for the opposite sex.  This is one of those lists of tips to be applied generally. There are exceptions to every single one of these tips/rules for gift giving. In no way am I implying that I’m an expert in gender roles and the developing relationship between women and men in the 21st century. These are simply good guidelines that if you follow them, more likely than not you will observe a sincere smile when your gift is received.

1.  Avoid giving things that imply that your significant other needs to be more organized, like wallets, bags and organizers. You may think that he wants to replace that wallet which is currently more duct-tape than leather, but he doesn’t AND he doesn’t want you trying to “fix” this part of his life.

2.  Don’t get some kind of bobble or key chain that is really feminine that you expect him to carry and keep with us all the time. It’s a nice thought, but more likely than not other guys will make fun of him for the “I love you” dog tags you had made.

3. Unless you are 100% sure of the style and size of an article of clothing that he wants, don’t buy it for your man. One of the biggest fears guys have is of girls who try to “change” them. I agree, your man needs to actually learn how to dress for work but gifts aren’t the way to do it. Then we feel pressured to like the clothing and wear it and it’s a bad vibe. Go shopping with your man and show him a bunch of stuff he should wear, that’s fine, but don’t spring it on him on Christmas morning.

4.  Electronics.  This one is hard because most guys buy electronics they want and are very picky about things like video games and iPhone cases.  We're oddly particular about brands and specifications.  A lot of guys really like researching this stuff.  Maybe you can green-light one of these kinds of purchases, but don't do it yourself.

5. Some Good ideas:

  • CD box sets
  • Nerf Dart Gun
  • miscellaneous licensed products (i. e. Simpsons’ Duff Beer Can) from TV shows, movies and video games 
  • comic books: everything from Superman to Calvin & Hobbes
  • stand-up comic albums
  • humorous t-shirts featuring cultural references from his childhood
  • sports and film memorabilia
  • Food: Bacon, sausage, popcorn, beverages, potato chips, salsa, steak. Guys like food. Food as a gift is a great idea that is under-utilized. I’m not talking about cookies and chocolates, we get plenty of those during the holiday. Get your guy some real food.
  • Books: Guys actually do like to read. We just aren’t really into The Notebook. Do some research into what your man is into and find a fun, easy to read novel that reflects their interests. Don’t buy a book that is “good for us,” find a book that we would really like.

1. Don’t buy a girl a purse. This is a highly personal purchase. It’s just like how you are happy with your old wallet and you don’t want a girl to buy you a new one. Leave that one alone.

2. Unless you are 100% sure of a size and a style of clothing that she likes, don’t buy a girl clothing. What you buy sends inadvertent messages about what you think about her body, the kind of woman she is and the kind of woman that you want her to be. It’s thoughtful, I agree, but it’s a big roll of the dice. Maybe once your married think about doing the clothing thing, but before then, bad idea.

3. Woman don’t care about TV size, how many megapixels a digital camera has or the memory in a laptop. They want electronics that are functional, easy to use and are in cute colors.  If you are going to buy electronics for her, bring along another woman and really listen to the questions she asks the salespeople.

4. It’s a good rule of thumb to not buy things as gifts that remind woman of chores associated with being a housewife. Vacuum cleaners, dishtowels, pots, and irons, probably will not go over well. Cooking stuff can be a great gift, if she like to cook, otherwise, it sends of message of trying to get her to do something that she’s actually not that into.

5. Some good ideas:

  • Stuffed animals
  • Picture frame with a picture of you together
  • Photo album:especially in this day and of age of digital photos, getting some photos printed and put together means a lot
  • Calendar of cute puppies
  • Coupon not for 10 minutes of your “affection” but for you to do a certain chore that is usually her responsibly,
  • Jewelry (keep it simple)
  • A DVD of her favorite film that you might think is a “chick flic” and a promise that you will watch it with her.
  • My Little Pony
  • Potted plant: these last a lot longer than a bouquet of flowers

Men & Woman
Probably the best gift you can give this holiday seasons is a hand-written note.  You don't need fancy stationary, a piece of notebook paper will do.  Just speak from the heart.  Write about how grateful you are for all he or she has done in the past year.  Write about how much you cherish your partner as a person.  Tell about the meaning that their presence brings into your life and express how much you are looking forward to your future together.

You attach this note to any gift, even a toilet plunger and I promise you''ll see some tears welling up in your loved ones eyes.

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