Christmas shopping is hard, especially if it’s for someone you love and want to see happy. It’s the season of giving, and we all want to give our loved ones something special. So what are you giving the person you love?
Sometimes shopping for the opposite sex is puzzling. Shopping for women is a little easier because most gifts are targeted towards female shoppers (jewelry, trinkets, cashmere sweaters, perfumes, and such.) But when you go to shop for a man, what do you buy?
Before you continue, let me just say that I’m writing this based on responses by men I know. I know that different people like different things. Not every guy would turn down a nice sweater, or maybe even one of those weird holiday ones with the goofy looking felt reindeer lovingly stitched on. The fact that we’re different makes us human. The good thing about dating is that you know the person you love, and what you choose to buy or not buy should be based first and foremost on what you know about the person you’re dating.
I decided to go straight to the source for answers. When I polled my own boyfriend as to what he wouldn’t want to receive, he said, “Ties. No one likes getting ties.” His friend added that sweaters and satchels of any kind should be stricken from the gift list, as well. At least they’re honest. One of my male friends also mentioned that he didn’t want things like cologne, because he could purchase that on his own any time.
When I think of the things they’ve listed, (sweaters, satchels, ties and cologne) I notice a pattern. These are all things that are sold for men and that we might think that they need. They’re not particularly personal, so they’re categorized as “Safe Bet Gifts,” as opposed to something very personal that they will either love or hate.
On the other hand, when they tell me what they would like, the majority said things like gift cards or electronics, which aren’t very personal, either. (Most of the guys polled were between the ages of 20-25, just for the record.) So I guess the hardest element of finding the perfect gift is finding the balance between something he’ll like and something from your heart.
So, here are my top five bad presents:
Impersonal Things in General
Since “personal” is subjective, the meaning this could change from reader to reader. I don’t want to say, “Gift Cards” or “Clothing” because these could in fact be special to someone. Maybe it’s a gift card for the restaurant where you had your first date or where you got engaged. To each his own. So to avoid any generalization, it’s just “Impersonal Things.” These aren’t great because there isn’t much feeling in them. Christmas isn’t about giving awesome gifts, it’s about love and joy, the warm feeling you get when someone says, “I care,” and for this reason, a personal gift will be special for both people involved.
Things You Want
Sometimes we get sidetracked Christmas shopping. We see things and we think, “Eeee! Too cool! I’ve got to get that!” Unfortunately, this sometimes coincides with our gift shopping and we end up buying something our unfortunate loved one really has no use for. When shopping for someone, make sure you’ve got them on the mind. You can shop for yourself, too, but your prime objective must be clear!
Novelty Items/Gag Gifts
Once again, everyone likes different things, but sometimes things do get out of hand. I can recall an old episode of some talk show where an older woman constantly bought silly gifts for her family members on the holidays. (I’ve searched up and down the internet, but I cannot find a reference to it or recall the show’s host.) The adult offspring had piles of useless junk, ranging from the mildly funny to the crude. The children constantly told the mother that they had no interest or need for any of things she sent them, but she did it anyway. I know how much reality there typically is in daytime talk shows, but the point still stands. Just because you think it’s hilarious, others might not want it. Be considerate!
Things that are Out of your Budget
Once again, it’s the spirit of giving, not the spirit of crushing debt. Most of the time, if you buy something that’s ridiculously out of your budget, you’re going to make your boyfriend feel weird. Sure, it’s a nice flatscreen and he might love it, but is it really worth selling your kidney over? If he loves you, he won’t want you to ruin your finances for one silly gift. Don’t make things awkward. Get something you can afford.
A Gift to “Out-Do” His
If he felt bad about you buying him something pricey, he’ll feel horrible if you get something simply to beat him at the gifting game. It’s not a competition. Buying a gift is supposed to show that he loves you, so don’t stomp on his tiny heart. No matter what you bought, it won’t make up for how crappy you would make him feel.
So remember as you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, keep it personal! Don’t buy him things he won’t use or junk he buys himself every month. Use what you’ve learned to purchase a gift that will make everyone smile.
Merry Christmas and happy hunting!