A Guy’s Guide to Romantic Gift Giving

December 13, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 6:15 pm   Category: Life

Husbands, boyfriends, and guys with crushes: You would be wise to listen to my words for they will serve you well.

It’s that time of year for you — a time of feeling, overwhelmed, frustrated, and maybe a little fearful. You must find the perfect gift (or maybe just a gift) to give to your beloved and you have no idea where to begin. Stress no more for I, the angel of Christmas presents, am here to guide you through these yuletide obstacles. In other words, this is just a little friendly advice to turn you from doofus to hero on Christmas morning.

My first bit of advice is this: Never, ever show up empty handed. This is an extremely bad idea. One you will pay for many, many times throughout the year. You might think she will not notice but you have never been more wrong, my friend. In fact I had a friend mention to me just the other day that she got nothing for Christmas last year. A caring soul patted her on the back while the rest of us shielded our eyes from her. It was a bullet many of us had barely dodged (or not) on many occasions.

Here is another bit of wisdom for the rubes amongst you: Kitchen appliances do not a full present make. Your gal may ask for a Kitchenaid, a lovely and expensive gift, but if you want to be a true champion throw a little bling into the mixing bowl.

Wait! Wait! Calm down and take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be an expensive bauble, just something to show her that she isn’t your kitchen maid but a treasure worthy of beautiful things. Look, go to an accessory section in any local department store and you will find many shiny things. Another secret for you; there is often a clearance section in the accessory department where you can find these treats for a mere pittance (make sure to remove the red tag clearance price from the gift).

Another piece of advice for the inexperienced: Lingerie is a gift for YOU. If you purchase this type of gift you might as well write “To: Me, From: Me”. Sorry to burst your bubble, that’s just the way it is. Now if you want to make sure she feels inclined to wear any lingerie for you in the following year do not drop the ball on Christmas morning.

Finally, if you are going to give her clothes make sure they are not dowdy, dumpy, or ugly clothes. One Christmas my dad gave my mom a dress made of polyester with an attached (yes, I said attached) pearl necklace at the neck. As soon as my mom saw it she said, “This looks like a dress your mother (my grandma) would wear!” It was not a pretty scene and my dad had to do some major backpedaling on that Christmas morn (sorry Dad, I had to tell that story).

I don’t want to leave you feeling more frustrated or overwhelmed than before you read this post so I’m going to leave you with an inexpensive yet lovely idea for a Christmas gift for the one you love. Find a romantic poem, lyric, or saying, copy it to a word file, change the font to something elegant, and put it in an appropriate picture frame. That could do the trick for you. (Of course this gift shouldn’t be a solo gift unless you are a struggling college student or struggling financially in general.)

Life can be cruel and demanding. Make sure that your loved one knows that at least on Christmas morning (this advice works for birthdays, anniversaries, and valentines too) somebody thinks she is special.

Fellow readers feel free to share experiences, give advice, or ask questions. I know that with a little effort this Christmas can truly be a day of peace on earth for you and your beloved.


  1. Wish my hubby had read this when we got married! Let’s see, met early April 96, got married end of Nov 96. Christmas was fine, although not that romantic. Valentine’s . . . . . he got me a big, fat,


    All the years I had dreamed of having a steady boyfriend, let alone a husband, and the first Valentine’s I have either, and NOTHING!

    Ooooo. I let him have it, alright. Actually, that night, I DIDN’T let him have IT. Lol! Tee Hee.

    Now, on our recent 9th anniversary, he would have gotten me if we’d had money, one of THESE. The boy can learn . . . .

    Comment by sarebear — December 13, 2005 @ 7:54 pm

  2. Over the years, the best presents I’ve gotten from my husband are the hand made ones. he’ll make a movie for me – easy to do now with i-movie. He’ll take our children to the park (a present in and of itself), take pictures of them playing in the trees or the forest, and then blow them up to 8x10s and frame them. These are usually b&w so they look so beautiful. Sometimes he’ll just fill the house with flowers. The worst give was a very large, boxy, brown windbreaker. In other words, it doesn’t have to be expensive, just from the heart!

    Comment by meems — December 13, 2005 @ 8:42 pm

  3. I’m not big on gifts so it really doesn’t matter to me. Good thing, too, because my husband’s clueless.

    He actually once put a gift he’d wrapped for the kids under the tree. We had run out of wrapping paper and scotch tape, so he wrapped it in a brown paper grocery bag, WITH DUCT TAPE.

    Comment by Susan M — December 13, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

  4. An addition: a) today is our 17th wedding anniversary!! Our gift to each other is dinner at a great restaurant and a babysitter!!
    b) for my birthday – this was an all-time great gift– he gave me a “case logic” CD holder and filled it with about 20 of my all time favorite movies on DVD – lord of the rings trilogy, original star wars trilogy, new star wars trilogy, raiders of the lost ark trilogy, complete monty python series, etc – oh wait a minute, this should possibly be filed under “biggest nerd” post. . .

    Comment by meems — December 13, 2005 @ 8:48 pm

  5. Love the fruit Sarebear. I’ll take 10!

    I think meems has it. As long as it’s from the heart.

    Paper bag, duct tape? Works for me!

    Keep the ideas coming. I think they can only help the “clueless” guys out there.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 13, 2005 @ 9:13 pm

  6. My sister actually cuts pictures out of catalogues and advertisements and creates a “gift book” for her husband, so he knows exactly what to get her and what it looks like. He mostly just ignores it, though.

    Comment by NFlanders — December 13, 2005 @ 9:40 pm

  7. This Christmas I’ve decided to take my two boys and myself down and get our pictures taken together, and then we’ll pick out a nice frame. We’ll see how it goes.

    Comment by Tim J. — December 13, 2005 @ 10:07 pm

  8. When a woman emphatically says she doesn’t want anything, that’s a lie. Trust me.

    I learn about my wife one experience at a time.

    Comment by Rusty — December 13, 2005 @ 10:22 pm

  9. One of the biggest lies ever told Rusty.

    Ned-I have yet to meet a guy who doesn’t ignore those kinds of things.

    Tim-I think it will turn out very nicely. Have you already gotten them taken cause it can take a little while to get them back. Thus leaving you empty handed on Christmas day.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 13, 2005 @ 10:51 pm

  10. I don’t think I’m entirely clueless, but I do have some questions.

    Biggest question: when the wife gives you a list of stuff she wants wouldn’t it suck just to get her something from the list? Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate thoughtfulness with a carefully selected gift than to just follow instructions? How awesome does a non-wishlist gift have to be in order to offset the ignoring of the wishlist?

    Do you get any points on Christmas morning for amazingly thoughtful, wonderful gifts at other times during the year? Especially if said gifts were a resource drain that make it difficult to devote consequently strained resources to a Christmas gift?

    If your anniversary is close to Christmas and you can only afford one fabulous gift (in monetary terms), which day should the fabulous gift be given? Would it be better to give two not-as-fabulous gifts on both days or one fabulous gift one day and one unfabulous gift the other? How bad would it suck to say “here is your anniversary-slash-Christmas gift?”

    Money matters, right? Be honest ladies. Not that you won’t be happy unless gifts are extravagant, but in general the higher the dollar amount, the more impressed you are, no?

    One more. If I don’t ask for anything for myself or I specifically ask not to be given anything more than a token something-or-other how much does that in itself absolve me if my gift quantity (in monetary terms) is low?

    Maybe I have too many questions. The most important ones are in the first three paragraphs.

    Comment by Tom — December 14, 2005 @ 12:03 am

  11. I got my wife a trip to a spa with a facial and a full body massage.

    I’d disagree about the lingerie thing as well. It really varies from person to person. My wife loves it when I pick out lingerie and has explicitly asked me for it before.

    Comment by Clark — December 14, 2005 @ 12:08 am

  12. I had a bishop who one Christmas accepted the wifely lie that she didn’t want him to get her anything. He never heard the end of it. And he made a point of regularly telling those around him that they should always make sure to get something for a wife who said this.

    I had a learning experience our first Christmas together. I got my wife two gifts. One was a special egg cooker (she liked eggs in the morning). My thought was that it would mean that I would make special breakfasts for her and that she would like that. She opened it and her eyes were a little bit downcast. Fortunately that gift was followed up by a sweater jacket that she LOVED! Her expression changed immediately and I was saved.

    I’m hopeless with clothes and I am grateful she has a younger sister who can give me insight into what my wife would like.

    Comment by danithew — December 14, 2005 @ 5:11 am

  13. a very large, boxy, brown windbreaker

    Hmmm… That does sound pretty good. Thanks for the great gift idea Meems! (Pssst — nobody tell Kristen…)

    Comment by Geoff J — December 14, 2005 @ 8:09 am

  14. Clark-You’re right it does vary at times but I’m thinking for most women lingerie wouldn’t be a great gift.

    danithew-You illustrate my point exactly. Kitchen stuff just doesn’t shout “You’re a gorgeous woman that I can’t live with out!”

    Tom- These are my own lowly opinions but here they are for what they’re worth:

    1.Wish list-Staying on the wish list would be fine. You could win a lot of brownie points if you also threw in some token little gift that somehow said, “I think you deserve a little something extra.”

    If your wife is a “wish list” wife it is fine to give gifts more fabulous than the wish list but NEVER give gifts that are lamer than the wish list.

    2.Personally I think Christmas is a day unto itself. Even if you’ve given fabulous gifts through out the year I wouldn’t let my guard down on Christmas day. You still need to give a gift that sends the message that you’ve put some thought into it.

    3.Go for the fabulous gift on the anniversary. Anniversary gifts need to say, “I would marry you all over again. You rock my world. etc” As far as gifts go your anniversary ranks over Christmas (in my humble opinion). I would avoid a Christmas/anniversary gift when ever possible. If your resources are small after the anniversary gift it would still be wise to give her a little something on Christmas morning.

    4.Here’s a rule of thumb for giving a wife a gift: The cost should be high. Cost doesn’t necessarily mean money. The currency can either be in money, thought, or effort.

    5.Your own personal gift requests really don’t have much to do with your gift giving duties. Remember cost doesn’have to mean cash.

    Gentlemen, the message you need to be sending to your wife/girlfriend is this: I love you, I actually think about you, you are the so very important to me. Try to give a gift that conveys these messages.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 8:36 am

  15. Just remember, you are buying a gift for your girlfriend, not your mother. I bought my wife sleepwear (not the recreational variety) with this in mind. She is always complaining about being cold. Imagine that, cold in Michigan. Go figure. It took several weeks to find warm jammies that fit the girlfriend requirement. They were brushed satin, sexy AND warm. I could not believe the number of flannel jammies and nightgowns out there. I could not sacrifice warmth for beauty and survive Christmas morning.

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — December 14, 2005 @ 8:45 am

  16. Oh, I should say that I don’t believe it’s appropriate to go in to debt for Christmas presents.

    Wish lists should be drop kicked out the front door if they are unreasonable and would put a strain on the family finances.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 8:49 am

  17. Floyd-Now that’s what I’m talking about!

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 8:50 am

  18. Three little words: Amazon Wish List. It works for the whole family. That said, the best gift ever from my husband was a framed phrase from a movie we enjoy (and most of you will recognize): As You Wish. My husband got a really cool font, printed it on rice paper, framed it and voila! Best present ever. It hangs on the wall to this day.

    Comment by chronicler — December 14, 2005 @ 9:45 am

  19. Every year I give my husband a list, he bugs me until he gets it. I on the other hand already had a list of things I could get him..why because I pay attention and remember when he says he likes something or would like to have something. Getting stuff on your list is great but knowing that he thought of something on his own or found something he knew you would like all on his own or took the time to make means MUCH MORE. These have always been my favorite gifts when I get them, my favorite one was an anniversary gift (and my anniv. is in Dec.)when he searched on the internet to find this poster we each had in our room when we were engaged ( he was in AZ and I was in CA) and he bought a new one and had it framed to hand in our bedroom, those are the moments that mean everything.

    Comment by Paige — December 14, 2005 @ 10:59 am

  20. You make it sound so easy, it’s not. I use to buy my wife expensive sweaters for Christmas, she said I spent too much and would rather take the money and buy something more practical. I tried giving her money…no thought or time involved…didn’t work. I tried giving her items on her list…ho hum…thanks. I’ve found that giving something from her list along with a gift card and the promise in the card that I’ll go shopping WITH her works. Sometimes it takes us a few years to figure you women out!

    Comment by don — December 14, 2005 @ 11:31 am

  21. Now that is a great idea don. Although in my case a promise of going shopping with out ANYONE would be more of treat for me. That seems to be a good solution to the Christmas list conumdrum.

    Chronicler and Paige just gave great examples of romantic and thoughtful gifts.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 11:41 am

  22. A story that was represented as true when I heard it in Michigan: He always was in trouble for missing critical gift days, so he finally went to a local florist and said, “This is her birthday, this is our anniversary, and Mother’s Day. What’s your price to cover me for the next five years?” He stuck a deal, wrote a check, and went home happy. Life was good until he came home a few months later and said, “Hey, what are the flowers for?”

    One thing that seems to work well is to give Valentine’s flowers the evening of Feb. 13th, with the explanantion that I just didn’t want to wait (or bring them home that night and present them first thing Valentine’s morning.) I’m still getting them last-minute for me, but my last minute is early for her.

    Comment by manaen — December 14, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

  23. I hate Christmas lists. It seems to take the fun out of Christmas because you pretty much know what you are getting. It robs it of the surprise and the creativity. I might get one thing my wife requests (this year it was a coat) but the rest I try to surprise her with.

    Comment by Clark — December 14, 2005 @ 5:43 pm

  24. I hate Christmas lists too. I’d just rather be surprised (hint, hint, G). I know it makes him feel a little overwhelmed to try and find some big surprise for me.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

  25. I know I’ve already commented (LOL Geoff – please don’t get Kristen a windbreaker!! – Ever!), but one more great gift came to mind – it was for my birthday. My husband and I had been arguing over a name for our upcoming baby. I opened the card and the name was printed there and decorated all about. He let me win the baby-name argument! I was so happy! This only works if you aren’t really into “possessions” too much, but let me tell you, it was a great present! So here’s the idea – let your wife win a meaningful argument!!! Lest you think he’s a cheapie, he’s also given me Tiffany’s before too (but I had to actually go to the store with him and make him buy it…)

    Comment by meems — December 14, 2005 @ 7:44 pm

  26. Kristen, thanks for your answers.

    I’m thinking that I like the idea of ignoring the wishlist. Well, not completely ignoring it, but not completely heeding it either.

    I agree about the anniversary gift being more important. You’ve brought me to my senses. Next week is our 5th and I thought I needed to do something special so I had some precious stones that I bought while I was on my mission put into earrings and a pendant. I like the idea of her having a really nice present to open Chrismas morning but the anniversary has to get the best gift, especially this year I think. I guess I’ll have to get my brain working to come up with a nice Christmas gift that doesn’t break the bank. Maybe I’ll start a meaningful argument so I can let her win it.

    I have another question, but this one is purely out of curiosity. Is there gifting asymmetry in all marriages? And if so, are you all at peace with the asymmetry?

    In my case, the asymmetry is my doing (I specifically ask to be given very little) and I’m at peace with it as long as we’re strapped. But I wonder if it will continue this way when we’re not strapped and if I’ll still be at peace with it then. I think it probably will and I think I’ll probably be OK with it. For some reason getting nice gifts doesn’t mean as much to me as it seems to mean to the ladies.

    Comment by Tom — December 14, 2005 @ 8:42 pm

  27. I thought I was going to get some usefull stuff here when I saw the title… Here is what has worked well for me in the past. As for the lingerie ix nay on the ot a, get her good PJs slik is nice, something she could walk out and get the morning paper in. Here is a trick I was told and I think it is importaint, any clothes you buy her error on the small side. Yes she may have to return them for a larger size but, I don’t know about you, I’m not coming to the party with something to big. Tip two; The Money Tree, one thing she has really liked in the past is I will clip to a decroative tree some gift cards to resturants and movies for dates out, cold hard cash, and (I will go to hell for this) a few scracher lotto tickets for a thrill. Don’t tell me about the message I’m sending my kids because I don’t want to hear it.

    So this year I am at a loss I need some ideas. Help

    Comment by ToddC — December 14, 2005 @ 9:36 pm

  28. Tom-Love your gift for your anniversary. That is very romantic and should buy you some brownie points. Maybe you could buy her a sweater or blouse for Christmas that would go with the pendant or earrings.

    I think the gift giving will probably always be assymetrical because men equate romance with sex (sorry if this is too much)and women equate romance with thoughts. In her mind giving a great gift to her means you were thinking about her and that’s important to a woman.

    ToddC-Thanks for those ideas, I love the money tree it shows that you put a lot of thought into your gift. For all of you guys reading that would go a long way and would probably be worth your effort. Your right about the clothes size too if Geoff showed up with a XXXL I would probably wrap throw it over his head and have a “blanket party”. I’ll probably go to hell for this too but the lotto tickets sound like a cute touch.

    ToddC if you want me to do some espionage for you to help find out what she’s wanting this year I’d be honored.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 14, 2005 @ 10:42 pm

  29. Todd I was just thinking of this idea for a gift and thought I would pass it along. Last year I gave my husband a gift certificate for a cooking class and he commented how he wished I would have come with him. SO mabey a gift certificate to take a class together wrapped up in something that goes along with it ie: a cooking class for two wrapped in a pretty bowl or serving platter, or cute apron. Just and idea.

    Comment by Paige — December 14, 2005 @ 11:15 pm

  30. I recently bought someone the first season of scrubs on dvd (it’s her favorite show) and wrapped it in a pretty green scarf…

    Comment by Trevor — December 15, 2005 @ 12:02 am

  31. Great ideas, keep ’em coming!

    Comment by Kristen J — December 15, 2005 @ 10:02 am

  32. Ok, I know it will come as no shock that I’m the weird example here, but my wife hates to be surprised. HATES it. She’s the type where if I bought her a sweater, for example, that she doesn’t like, she’d feel obligated to wear it just because I bought it. She’d never consider exchanging it because I went to the trouble… etc.

    A few years back we found ourselves suddenly spending the season in the hospital with an ill son. It ended up that she did all the Christmas shopping that year, even her own presents, mostly from catalogs that would deliver. She discovered she absolutely LOVED this: She got to spend all the money and still got to see the look on our faces when WE were surprised. And, she didn’t get anything that she didn’t want.

    This has now become our tradition. I beg each year for one thing that I actually go out and get myself, but even that comes from her list. I know it may seem wrong to some, but it works for us.

    Comment by Chad Too — December 15, 2005 @ 11:32 am

  33. I know it may seem wrong to some, but it works for us.

    Hey, if it works for y’all then it can’t be wrong for y’all, Chad. (And let me add that a lot of guys would envy your freedom from the mind-reading requirement of marriage!)

    Comment by Geoff J — December 15, 2005 @ 11:44 am

  34. Dream on G!

    Comment by Kristen J — December 15, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  35. It was hard at first, but I’m now OK with no Christmas surprises for her. It’s almost as if that’s my gift to her.

    We really do work on open and honest communication in our relationship, even when it’s tough. I actually got to tell her that a dress she was trying on made her hips look big. It did. I wasn’t being hurtful, just honest. She appreciated me letting her know, and went to look for another dress.

    Comment by Chad Too — December 15, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

  36. Okay, I’m going to argue the use of a wishlist. Amazon, and other sites, have them. I am not saying to go and buy and not put any thought into the gift. What I am advocating is you can learn an awful lot about a persons wants when you really and I mean really look at the list. It will give you clues as to what they really like. You can see a personality profile in there if you look closely. Not only are there books to be listed, but whether or not they like old, used, books. Also are there any kitchen wonders in there? Is there a desire to stretch a talent by asking for art, photo, or other items they haven’t outwardly mentioned to you? Did you forget the time you were on vacation and they mentioned that simple little widget that brought back memories from a mission or childhood adventure? Something you see on the wishlist may help your memory a bit.

    Gift givers do not have to be clueless. There are all kinds of cool things that people like and yet rarely have a chance to do for themselves. My husband became a pilot because I was paying attention every time we drove past the local airport. I went in and asked how much a flying lesson was. It was relatively inexpensive so I got it for him. He went on to get his license. He in turn go tme a helicopter lesson because I have been fascinated with them. I have not gone on to get my license (not yet!) There are other things – concert tickets, opera tickets, classes for just about anything, go to a favorite author site and see if they’re doing a book signing in the following year. The opportunity to travel and go would be a great gift. Likewise with any museum feature exhibit.

    Memory reminders are always good. What did you do on your honeymoon that you could re-do?

    Just thinking of all this may help someone out. We’re running out of time for this year, but there is always next, and all the stuff in between. ;-)

    Comment by chronicler — December 16, 2005 @ 8:58 am

  37. Here’s where I’m clueless. I think I like the idea of getting a matching blouse or sweater for Christmas to go with the jewelry I’m giving for the anniversary. But I don’t exactly know what “matching” means. If the stones are light purple do I try to find something in approximately that color, or is a darker or lighter purple just as good. Or would it be better to get a complementary, rather than matching, color? What would be complementary to purple?

    I agree with Chronicler that the wishlist can be helpful in coming up with a thoughtful gift. But strict adherence to the wishlist is thoughtless, no? I have a hard time with flowers for that reason. I feel like if it’s expected of me and I comply I haven’t really done anything special. The trick is finding a suitable replacement for flowers. I can attest that simply omitting the flower thing is not a good idea. What could be done instead? Or am I better off just complying with the flower requirement forever?

    Comment by Tom — December 16, 2005 @ 10:44 am

  38. Chronicler-Thanks for the ideas, I think maybe you should have written this post!

    Tom-In my opinion I think you should get something the same color as the stones. If it’s similar then she’ll make the correlation a bit easier. As far as shade goes it would kind of depend on your wife. Does she like to wear darker colors or is she more of a pastel kind of girl? What kind of colors do you think she looks good in?

    Remember when your buying the top to make sure it is flattering to the pendant. Make sure you can see it well when she’s wearing the top.

    You could stick with the wish list and be ok but if you could just put a little more pizzaz in the gifts you will do much better.

    I like flowers they’re great but mixing things up is good too. I love chocolate so that is always a great gift to give to me. Every once in a while my husband will bring me home an ordinary candy bar and I’m always so delighted that he’d do that for me.

    One thing that you could do is have her fill out a favorites list. Favorite candy, food, color, author,flavor, movie, restaurant,etc. then use that as your guide for the year. What would be cool is if you could have someone else have her fill it out for what ever reason, and then they can give it to you with out her knowing.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 16, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

  39. Tom, the flowers thing should be held off for spotaneity. Flowers are the quintessential I saw these and thought of you…. kind of remembrance. Occasions like birthdays or anniversaries are for over the top kinds of flower showers! One for every year of marriage, one for every great memory of you (hokey I know but it works on us girls), And if she works, have them delivered there. There is nothing better than having a couple dozen Ecuadorian Red Roses delivered to your desk and having the rest of the girls swoon over how great your husband is. However, if you do it more than once, mix up the flowers, not the same thing all the time. Spectacular if it one Calla Lily or one super large sunflower. Fun stuff.

    Also girls/ladies once in a while it’s nice to surprise the guy in your life with flowers at work. It’s amazing the smile they come home with because the girls asked them all day where the roses came from!

    Kristen, I’m just a few years older… you got us started in a great direction!

    Comment by chronicler — December 16, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

  40. Here’s a cool site:

    You can set acces to a group of friends/family, private, or public, or what not. With separate access control levels for size information (cause do you really want your waist and bra sizes public? Lol)

    I was fiddling with it today. Plus, it’ll import Amazon wish lists too.

    And yeah, I really agree with chronicler’s points, re: even if you don’t want to get anything or too much off a wish list, it can be really illuminating. Especially if the wish list lists sizes and things, too. Even ring size is on this one.

    Anyhoo, it’s been interesting playing with it today.

    Comment by sarebear — December 16, 2005 @ 9:23 pm

  41. I really can spell better than that. UGH.

    Comment by sarebear — December 16, 2005 @ 9:41 pm

  42. Cool site sarebear

    Comment by Kristen J — December 17, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

  43. I have to disagree with the picture that has been painted about men and gift giving. I’ve received some absolutely amazing gifts from men over the years. Here’s a sample–

    Tickets for a matinee Christmas Eve performance of the Nutcracker after an elaborate buffet brunch at an upscale restaurant.

    A gorgeous handmade blanket with note attached that read “to keep you warm when I’m not around”

    A collection of Cary Grant DVDs (which he willingly watched with me, I might add)

    A new bread mixer with all the ingredients to make cinnamon rolls Christmas morning (I’m a serious bread maker and my old machine was shot)

    A list of 100 reasons why he loves me printed on pretty paper

    A handmade Valentine’s card

    Homemade furniture (when I said I needed a shoerack, I had no idea he’d personally make me one–out of cherry wood no less!)

    A gift certificate for a full body massage

    Detailing my car (washed inside and out, vacuumed, shampooed, oil changed, and a full-tank of gas. I hate doing this stuff so this was a real gift to me–not for any occasion–just a gift of love)

    And there are many others. These gifts have all been from boyfriends so I imagine you husbands out there (who should know you’re wives even better) can manage even more thoughtful gifts.

    Comment by Melissa — December 18, 2005 @ 2:20 pm

  44. Thanks for the great ideas Melissa. I’m sure they will inspire many men out there.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 18, 2005 @ 10:03 pm

  45. I just found out what I am getting fro Christmas from My fiance (although he does not know I know) He has bought me a silky nighty and I am devastated. To start with, he has asked me for months and months what I would like and I have been pointing out several ideas that i like so that he could still surprise me with something, lingerie was not on the list. Secondly, he bought it online – I do not buy myself things online for size reasons – I like to try everything on and I know that this will not fit. Thirdly, I feel like this is a gift for him – or he is telling me I do not wear enough nice sleepwear and that he wants me to wear more I am a cami and shorts girl to bed, there is a reason I do not wear this type of nightie. Only problem now is how do I tell him I do not like his gift. I really think he has bought it hoping I would like it but still would not be too bad for him too would it?

    What do I do?

    Comment by lana — December 20, 2005 @ 7:48 pm

  46. Aaagghh! I hate these types of situations. I think you could do a couple of things: 1-Don’t say anything, and when you get thr wrong size nightie ask for a gift receipt and return it.

    2-In the next day or so you could say somthing like, “Honey so-and-so just told me how her husband gave her lingerie for whatever holiday. We were talking about how lame that was and how it’s more like a gift for him. Don’t you think that’s more like a gift for him honey?”

    If he doesn’t get that hint then I don’t know what to tell you. Anyone else have any other ideas for lana?

    Comment by Kristen J — December 20, 2005 @ 10:43 pm

  47. lana, how attached are you to this guy? You said you’re engaged, but are you sure he’s a keeper?

    If you’re absolutley sure he is, then just tell him how you really feel. At least for me Kristen’s #1 would not be a reasonable option and #3 seems deceitful and manipulative. I think it’s better to have an honest conversation with him. At this point you might want to wait until after Christmas but you’ve got to say something at some point.

    My two cents.

    Comment by Melissa — December 21, 2005 @ 10:02 am

  48. Melissa, You are right. In an ideal world it’s great to be as honest as you can. Sometimes subtlety is what a situation needs. If you’ll recall she said that her fiance doesn’t know that she knows what he is getting for Christmas. Maybe my options weren’t good enough in your world but the options that I gave at least enable him to save a little face in the situation.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 21, 2005 @ 6:08 pm

  49. Hi Kristen,

    No doubt about it, your suggestions seem kinder than mine and they do allow for “face-saving.” However, I think it’s alright for men to lose a little “face” now and then, especially in a situation like this. I think too often women make the mistake of protecting the male ego and it comes back to haunt them. That said, I’m not suggesting that Lana throw a fit on Christmas morning. I do, however, think that a real conversation is in order.

    And I don’t think female “subtlety” works on most men (this is probably especially true of someone who buys his girlfriend lingerie when she has been been suggesting other gift ideas for months.)

    Comment by Melissa — December 22, 2005 @ 11:05 am

  50. Melissa,

    This is a useful conversation. For one thing, now I know that if I draw your name for the T&S gift exchange, I should _not_ buy you lingerie.


    Comment by Kaimi — December 22, 2005 @ 11:21 am

  51. Okay, Geoff and Kristen — how come _my_ little smily icon looks like a letter with a colon (see #50), but other peoples’ turn into little graphics images? I sense a case of discrimination against Hawaiians.

    (I would insert a smiley here, but what’s the point?)

    Comment by Kaimi — December 22, 2005 @ 11:23 am

  52. Here is a special WordPress emoticons page designed especially for Hawaiians, Kaimi.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 22, 2005 @ 11:33 am

  53. . . .now I know that if I draw your name for the T&S gift exchangeI should not buy you lingerie.

    Very funny, Kaimi ;) Better to stick with cheese. You can’t go wrong with cheese (of course, in theory one might, but I bet you wouldn’t)

    Comment by Melissa — December 22, 2005 @ 5:04 pm

  54. Sounds good, Lis — I’ll stick to cheeses.

    For you, it may be some nice fresh mozarella, a little chevre, and some blue to give it some bite (like a roquefort or valdeon). Or maybe you’d prefer hard Italian and Swiss cheeses. You know, there’s really no wrong answer. :)

    Comment by Kaimi — December 23, 2005 @ 1:45 am

  55. I guess that’s where you and I are different Melissa. I believe in letting my loved ones save as much face as possible when ever possible.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 23, 2005 @ 9:08 am

  56. My husband has always given me very nice gifts. (Then again we’re just now coming up on our two year anniversary). His most thoughtful gifts were things that I had access to and really liked, but didn’t own. For instance books that I had borrowed from my parents or the library. CDs that I listened to at friends houses, or songs on the radio. Then again, I’m notoriously cheap when it comes to buying things for myself, so there is no shortage of things that I would like to have.

    Lana, perhaps you never told him what *not* to get you. Telling people what you like is useful, but sometimes telling people what you don’t like is more useful. Perhaps some of the things you said you like are, in his mind, similar to what he got you. For example, lets say I like Carnations, but don’t like Mums. I mention to my Husband that I like Carnations. To him, Mums and Carnations are very similar, so he buys Mums for me thinking I’ll like them since they seem so similar to him.

    Comment by Andermom — December 23, 2005 @ 10:56 am

  57. I think women (and men) should be wary of reading too much into a gift. It’s entirely possible and likely the poor fiance thinks the lingerie is a good idea. Why not ascribe the best possible motives to his actions? I also think not every situation calls for a serious “discussion.”

    I agree with Kristen that tact cannot be over-applied. Communication’s good, but tact and kindness are what’s kept me happily married for almost twelve years.

    Also, I want in on the cheese-exchange.

    Comment by Allison — December 23, 2005 @ 11:03 am

  58. I have known ‘Bob’ casually for two years. We hang out at the same nightclub. We’ve been dating exclusively for the past 4 months. For Christmas he bought me a short, sexy satin chemise and matching short satin robe. I can’t even bend over without showing my butt. I don’t wear these type of things. Around the house I wear nice cotton cami’s and matching pants, but once bed-time hits, I sleep in the nude. He knows this as we average 3 nights per week spent together. I also have a twelve year-old daughter that lives with me. I bring my daughter into this because he didn’t get her anything for Christmas, but he bought his female best friend/co-worker’s two year-old child a gift card to Old Navy and the best friend a gift certificate to her favorite store. I’m just wanting opinions on this. I personally feel that if he loved me like he says he does, I wouldn’t have gotten all lingerie. It’s not about the money spent, but I feel like the whole gift was for him. I think the chemise and maybe an inexpensive bottle of perfume would’ve been a better choice. I’m also surprised that he left my daughter out of the loop while he remembered his friend’s two year-old child. He talks quite a bit about us moving forward eventually to marriage. Please let me know if I am being petty.


    Comment by Ann — December 27, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

  59. Ann-I don’t think you are being petty. You’re looking at Bob as someone who will play a very serious role in your future. I think it’s smart for you to consider what this might mean to your relationship. Before you kick him to the curb I think you should decide whether this issue could be fixed with some training. Most men can be so clueless when it comes to dealing with women.

    I can understand why you would be upset with Bob leaving your daughter off his Christmas present list. I think I would talk to him about that. Don’t attack him just calmly mention that next year it would be nice for him to include your daughter on his gift-giving list.

    I think you should have a conversation with him about his gift to you too. I would just be honest with him about it. Tell him you have some concerns and were wondering what his motives were for giving you that kind of gift.

    If nothing else you could just let him know that when he gives a woman lingerie he better include something for her with it too, ie a gift card, some jewelry, perfume, chocolates, a good book. Sheesh, the possibilities are endless.

    Anyway, I think his reaction to this whole conversation will tell you a lot about him. Just go calmly and try not to use words like bastard when you chat with him.

    Comment by Kristen J — December 28, 2005 @ 10:19 am

  60. Thank you so much Kristen. I now feel like my feelings are validated. I will defintely have a non-confrontational talk with him just to see what his intentions are.

    Happy New Year

    Comment by Ann — December 28, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

  61. selection of romantic gifts is the specialty of my girlfriend, she can really choose the best romantic gift ..

    Comment by Round Mirror — November 4, 2010 @ 3:05 am