By Gina B.
I remember spending my childhood Christmas Eves shopping with my father (bless his heart), who was frantically combing the malls for gifts for my mother. When I was very young, I thought the frenzied pace shopping was kind of fun and actually talked myself into believing that my mother would appreciate the pre-wrapped hat and scarf set displayed in the aisles of Marshall Fields for the clueless last-minute shoppers. As I grew older and witnessed the annual Christmas morning look of displeasure in my mother’s eye as she unwrapped gifts that ranged from boring to downright heinous, I wondered why he hadn’t given any real thought to her presents.
Granted, my mother was difficult to buy for and often hard to please, but even I picked up on hints that she would drop during the year and I noticed things that she could have used but wouldn’t have bought for herself.
If you’re like my father, you’re really missing out on a great gift-giving experience. Not to boast, but most people who have been recipients of my presents can agree that I’m a thoughtful gift-giver. My father’s traits have pushed me to become his polar opposite, so I like to give a lot of thoughts to those on my holiday list – especially my significant other.
A bad gift can sour the holiday season, and because I believe that everyone should get laid during the holidays, here’s my official gift giving guide!
Gina’s Guide to Great Gift Giving
- Start gathering data early and be attentive. It’s a little late to start this year, but going forward it’s helpful to remember whenever your honey has mentioned something that he/she would love, but wouldn’t ever budget to buy for him/herself. If you have a bad memory, make a note or download a list-making app to your smartphone. Maybe even buy the gift when you think of it, even if it isn’t the month of December. (Although, if you’re like me, you’ll get excited, and won’t be able to keep your gift a surprise until the holiday!)
- Don’t buy gifts that are for both of you. The gift should be selfless, and all about the recipient. Think twice before buying appliances or computer equipment that are purchased for everyone to use. And, guys? Unless your girlfriend/wife has specifically asked for cookware or a vacuum cleaner, don’t do it. Unless you want to get hit in the head with it on Christmas morning.
- Avoid mundane gifts. While it might be nice that you've noticed that she has run out of deodorant, try to resist the urge to buy six bottles of Secret roll-on and put them under the tree. Not sexy. Also, the annual bottle of his favorite cologne might be useful, but won't make the holiday special.
- If you don’t know, you’d betta ask somebody! If stumped, don’t be shy about involving the best friend of your significant other. Chances are your sweetie has shared secret gift desires with his/her friends, and they will be happy to help make that dream come true. (By the way, if my boyfriend asks? I want a Maserati. Which segues nicely into my next point . . .)
- Don’t be afraid to splurge! So many people put limits on their gift expenditures, but the goal is to put a smile on the face of your sig other. If it’s reasonable and won’t break your bank, don’t be afraid to make a great impression.
- Be creative! If you can’t think of one thing, grab a stocking and stuff it with a bunch of small things.
- Consider an experiential gift. Certificates for cooking lessons and spa days don’t make for big packages under the tree, but they’re fabulous to receive.
- Avoid pre-packaged pre-wrapped gifts. My father is a fan of these, and while he is a great role model in many ways, I think we’ve clearly established that he is NOT the benchmark of a good gift giver. They’re very impersonal, and are better choices for a generic grab-bag gift rather than a choice for your significant other.
- If you’re doing last minute online shopping, be mindful of shipping dates. Nothing’s worse than selecting a great gift, and realizing that it won’t arrive until 12/29. Not a good look.
- Give of yourself, and make her life easier. If she detests the act of washing her car or getting oil changes, give her a gift certificate good for a year of you performing those unpleasant activities for her. And plan to honor that gift when requested.
- Guys, if all else fails, go for the blue box. You don’t have to get her an engagement ring, unless you’re so inclined, but a little sparkle from Tiffany always makes the holiday a bit nicer.
- Have fun with it. Holiday gift giving should be about excitement and mystery, not stress!
There are only 11 days until Christmas, so get busy shopping. If you have any questions or dilemmas, reach me on Facebook or leave a comment.