I need your help. Pretty badly, it would appear.
Being a Dad means, by definition, that I am a man. And being a man, by definition, means I have no idea what to get a woman for Christmas.
Here are a couple of unfortunate and all-too-true stories to illustrate my point.
Story #1 – It’s the thought that counts, right? Nope, not always.
One Christmas, I foolishly chose utility over desire. My wife (then girlfriend) and I were in university, so I got her an amazing, state of the art computer mouse.
This went over like a lead balloon… as it should have, in hindsight. Amazingly, we are still together.
Story #2 – A girl’s gotta eat!
My sister-in-law was making her way through university on a shoe-string budget. There was little money for the necessities, so I went with a gift certificate for the local grocery store.
It appears one will always find money to eat, but this will usually come at the expense of clothing.
So here I am. A man, hat in hand, asking for your advice on what women want.
And don’t give me “I-just-want-a-good-man-in-my-life-who-will-treat-me-right-and-never-let-me-down”… that man doesn’t exist, and if he did, he would be way too expensive.
I mean, in general, what advice would you give a man who is shopping for lady-related holiday gifts?
I do not intend on repeating past disasters this year. I haven’t even told you about the time I bought a piece of jewelry that didn’t fit, only to lose the receipt.
Shawn, if it’s hard to make the time at other times, then it makes it special. What woman would not love to hear that what you really want is to spend time with her?
And in response to some of the other stories, may I add that one year for a birthday I got a massage-y new showerhead and a wooden toilet seat. Another year – and this I asked for – I got a new door bought and installed by my dad and husband working together. I was thrilled for that one, because I asked for it. the shower? Well, let’s say i refer to it now and then – still. Ten years later.
I need y’all to clarify something. There are lots of suggestions that I get her a nice night out on the town with me. Couldn’t that be construed as a POOR Christmas gift because that should be something I get her at any other time of the year?
You’re married to her so I assume you know her pretty well… The worst gifts I’ve received from boyfriends or husband began with the phrase “I don’t know what you like” Umm, really, well, maybe we shouldn’t be together!!!
Follow the rules I use with kids’ gifts….and I’m sure you can answer each question. Four perfect gifts “Something you want, something you need, something to eat, something to read”
So, you live with her, you KNOW what she wants….even if it is a movie night out, a spa visit, YOU KNOW what she needs….maybe you are tired of seeing a ratty bathrobe or notice she is wearing that cozy sweater a few too many times…so she NEEDS a new one!, Something to EAT…yes, well, if you are stumped, chocolate never goes over badly, or delicious jams or sauces to cook up a yummy meal….and to READ…. well, even if she isn’t a big reader there must be something you know she likes to read, like magazines, cookbooks…etc
I should send this to my husband…
I agree with a couple of the girls. Just ask. If, like my mother, she’s one of those ladies that will never tell you, then pay attention. Most likely she’s giving you clues on something that would make her happy, and it may not even be a physical object.
I, for one, would be thrilled if my husband gave me just a day to “be.” If he woke up before me, took care of the baby, maybe even enjoyed a father and son day out so I could indulge in much needed sleep, an excessively long shower, lounging time in front of the TV with my favorite shows, or even getting out to the gym or store. Whatever tickles my fancy.
I’m a working mom, and I would also kill for basic maid service every other week or so. That would top a diamond in my book.
Shawn, as a mother of four, I would love a night out with the love of my life! Dinner at a nice restaurant, theatre tickets etc. Big bonus if I get a gorgeous dress to wear!!
Huh, we have very little money and I often ask for a grocery store gift certificate if someone is kind enofe to ask me what I “need” I look in terms of need and want and truly if the pressure can be taken off my food bill for a week – even $20 off it helps SO much I am a very happy lady.
Now from hubby we only have about a $20 budget for each other, but I love a great book – the best gift he ever gave me was $20 cash and time away from the kids to go to a great book sale (used books, they were all $1) I came away with 20 books!!!! The best gift EVER! for me. But I am a very practical person 🙂
Shawn – vet funny post! My former husband was a phenomenal gift giver but I left him anyway! Go figure. It is really just the icing on the cake – but what icing.
Every Christmas he would buy me one or two dresses (I love dresses) and they would fit me perfectly and I would love them. The idea of him choosing, thinking about me and nailing my taste and size was extremely romantic.
He would also write me a love letter and pick up a few things that “made me think of you”- a book , some music, a sexy nightshirt. if you are not metrosexual get a friend who is to accompany you.
MAKE an effort, put some thought into it and well- remember the Foreplay post?
coffee with julie says
Wow, I always pictured you as the romantic, great-giver of gifts type! (But fear not, my husband gave me a TV antenna one year. I kid you not. And he’s still around.) 😉
But like the other ladies have already noted, I think something that she wouldn’t normally treat herself to is the way to go. A decadent spa trip and then to a movie with a girlfriend, super-high quality makeup, tickets for the two of you to go out (and you’ve already organized the babysitting so she doesn’t have to!), a snazzy new tech gadget she’s had her eye on … anything that she loves to do but might feel guilty splurging on! (But please, if you buy diamonds, don’t buy blood diamonds. Go Canadian.)
I’m with Tracey– asking is always a good idea. Push the issue, too. Sometimes it takes a while for women (moms particularly) to start being selfish and focusing on what they really want, since for most of the year their needs and desires are aimed at their family. This is the first year my husband has asked what I liked versus assuming, and it’s been wonderful. I personally do NOT like jewelry (which I got one year) or spa services (which I also got) or flowers (which I also got). When he started really delving into the Christmas gifts, I realized I wanted a video game that would’ve never registered on his radar.
ALSO! Another good reason to ask– if we want anything practical or thinly insulting, it’s always MUCH better if the suggestion comes from us. Heh. I want a treadmill, for instance, but you’d better believe if he just showed up with one, he’d be sleeping on the couch for awhile. 😉
ENOUGH ALREADY MARTELLS, DAMN!
Um. And then there was this.
Thanks for the advice y’all, keep ’em coming!
Gav, your suggestion reminds me of a Margaret Cho routine… where she says she made her Mom coupons for Christmas one year. Then, when she went to redeem them, Margaret told her “Sorry Mom, some conditions apply!” Hilarious.
Weird. I posted on this as soon as it came up last night…
For me, I just make a list now. DH is a HORRIBLE gift giver. He just is and he knows it.
We’re at a point now where I want him to get me something I really want, not something he thinks I might want. He can’t go wring if I give him a list of things that I would like. And if I get one or 2 things off the list – and some chocolate – then he did good.
let’s have a “win a date with gav” contest!
y’know, on the jewelry front, my husband got me a pandora charm bracelet for our anniversary. not only very cute but it is a gift that keeps on giving….there are hundreds of charms to choose from…you’re set for EVERY special day!
Gav – Fabulous idea! Please send to my husband ; )
One year I got a satellite dish for my birthday (Dec 22) & a glorified mop (an “enviro-steamer”) for Christmas from my husband. The first Christmas we were married. “The Christmas that will go down in infamy” is now what we call it.
My husband insists that they were both things that I wanted, & I insisted that neither of the gifts were Birthday/Christmas-worthy. More, say, worthy of, I don’t know, a Thursday.
Whatever you do, don’t go with the LOGICAL choice. ANYTHING other than that will be just fine.
And Gav, do you run “romantic husband” seminars? I’m fairly certain you could make a mint!!!
Yeah, time for herself and a little pampering is good, if she is the type.
A weekend away or even a decadent date night are good.
Jewelry is always good – IF you understand what she likes.
Also? Ask if she has wish lists on any websites. Lots of them offer that, and it’s a nice thing.
I don’t think you can go wrong with awesome bath stuff. A gift box of Lush products?
Also, a gift card to Sephora wouldn’t go amiss b/c you can get makeup or perfume. Another idea would be a class g.c. So your wife and her sister can go together to learn how to make jewellery, do some pottery or something along those lines. Sometimes getting out of the house once a week is a gift itself!
The 12 dates of christmas:
Make a card for each month and put a date you will take her on for each month of 2011:
January – skating outdoors
February – Art Museum
August – picnic lunch in the park
Game, set, match.
Ha! A mouse, Shawn? Really? Too funny.
I’m not much help to you, unfortunately, ’cause I don’t even know what I want. I think I’m going to end up with a Chapters gift card and I’m OK with that. Generally speaking, though… gift cards are not the best option.
I think a weekend together would also be wonderful — but I am with Julie — I would kill for a weekend to focus on myself — even just a hotel stay would be heaven
and Sara — damn when I go home tonight I am throwing out my anklet ; )
hahaha – omg reading Jen and then Julie’s post made me howl…
not an anklet…my ex got me an anklet once…I told him they were for strippers…he told me his mom had one…doh.
Patricia Anne Gray says
I love the weekend away – for both of you. It’s romantic and says you value your time as a couple and not just as parents. Let’s face it, being parents tends to back burner most everything else.
I have received a diamond ring for Christmas (tucked inside a beautiful pair of leather gloves) and it was a wonderful surprise, but the best Christmas present I ever received from my husband was professionally framed pieces of our children’s artwork.
He did this last year for me. So saving all that artwork in a box in the basement for 20 odd years paid off. They now hang in my home office above my desk so I see them every day. the best part was he gave them to me with my kids so they were just as surprised. You could see the pride re-beaming from their faces just like the first time they were presented to me after school and given gallery status on the fridge.
I’m sure you have a fridge gallery now and this is not such a relevant gift, but keep this idea tucked in your back pocket for the future.
Diamond rings don’t come cheap and if you’re going to do it, do it right. My best advice is to LISTEN..I bet she tells you what she wants every single day…you just need to pay closer attention.
i don’t want to rain on jen’s parade…but how about a weekend away….without you? i know! it sounds really really bad!!!! but “permission” to be on your own is such a treat!!!
anyway, gifts and women can be so tricky. my husband got me a food processor one year….but i really really wanted it! for real! and i love it! really!!! (i used it today as a matter of fact).
i guess the rule of thumb would be…the more frivolous, the better!
I’m with Jen. Something surprising and elegant. Maybe a weekend away just the two of you? Something thoughtful and a bit decadent. (emailing this link to my husband now…)
I’d love it if my husband surprised me with a diamond ring this year. I can get my tech stuff (camera, computers, etc.) any time of the year.
Now, how can I CC my husband on this response….