Gift giving guide for men

So, I’d like to present some simple rules to follow for giving a gift to your mate.

PERFUME: Many men have some weird notion that women love perfume.  Many do, but generally not just any perfume.  You can’t just give Red Door to someone who wears Chanel #5.  Every perfume is different and, furthermore, smells different on different people.  You can’t just spray it on yourself and know what it will smell like on your mate.  In my opinion, the only time you should buy perfume is if it’s the variety that your mate already wears.  You know she likes it, so just get what you know.

CLOTHING: This can go one of two ways – great or awkward.  First, don’t buy anything unless you know it’s her size.  If you really know her, you should be able to tell from looking whether that is a true size Large or if perhaps the manufacturing was way off on their sizing.  (No one wants to get something that’s way too big for them – this gives them the sense that you feel they are much larger than they are.)  Second, (and this is true of all gifts) don’t buy something just because YOU like it or because you imagine it is something a woman would/should like.  When is she going to wear a sweater with a feather collar?  Just because it’s “girly” does not mean your girl will like it.  Buy the kind of clothes she already wears.

JEWELRY: Tread lightly in this department.  Do NOT buy cheap jewelry.  Do not buy any jewelry from Kmart, Walmart or Target.  Do not buy anything from a pyramid of stacked boxes.  A great place to buy jewelry is at a boutique store that sells hand-made, unique, original jewelry.  That way she’s not walking about with something from the Zales catalog.  Jewelry is a statement.  The statement is either “You’re special” or “I’m cheap and/or unimaginative.”  Know whether she wears white or yellow gold.  Know whether she likes modern, southwestern or traditional jewelry.  Know whether she wears stud or dangly earrings.  Many women have a certain set of jewelry that they wear all the time.  If there is a necklace she wears every day for sentimental reasons, don’t get her a necklace.  She will not wear it!  Earrings and bracelets are pretty safe as long as they’re in her style.


Do not buy anything that has been pre-packaged for the holidays like Christmas mugs, Christmas candy, a Christmas bear in a mug, etc.  Buy items that you would buy for yourself; seek out quality.  What does it say about you if your gift breaks after a month?  Or if you give worthless gifts that have no function?  Give her gifts that say something about your relationship – built to last, enduring, quality.  If your girl doesn’t cherish quality, get a new girl who does.

It is OK to get practical gifts (like a garden spade) if she loves gardening.  Get gifts that say “I love who you are, and I know what you love.”  Don’t buy her a toaster.  No matter how much she needs one.  If you do buy her a toaster, make two fake pieces of toast and write sweet things on them like “A toast to you for the holidays!” on them and slip them in the toaster.  All gifts to women should include a large amount of sentimentality.

We are sentimental creatures, and we like occasional reminders that you’re paying attention to us.

Books are great gifts as long as they are in genres that you know she likes.  You can see an underlying theme here:  pay attention to her!

Listen when you pass a storefront, and she says, “Oh, there is that sweater that I totally love!” If it helps, buy things throughout the year as you see them, or at least make a list of the things she seems to want.

And remember, it is not about the quantity or cost of the gifts for most women.  It is about the thoughtfulness with which you selected them.  A nice wrap-job doesn’t hurt either.

If you get desperate, ask her to keep a Wish List on  It’s easy to go through the list and pick out a selection of things that you really know she wants.  It requires less thoughtfulness on your part, but it ensures that what she gets is something she wants.

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