This can be some stresssssful stuff. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve sat in a room quietly by myself and tried to wrap my mind around it a million times only to come up with less than nothing. At times it felt like I needed to be on a Good Will Hunting level of intelligence to solve the equation that was buying Christmas gifts for the lady in my life. I won’t kid you – I still struggle with it. But then there are times when I feel like the Peyton Manning of gift buying (shit – bad example). Kobe? F. Ok, let’s just say I have learned some valuable lessons over the years and I know some stuff. I guess I’ve come a long way since 6th grade when I came up so damn empty with a gift idea that I sweetly handed $40 bucks cash to my girlfriend in her driveway and told her to buy herself something nice. Hey before you judge – adjust that for inflation and that was a pretty good gift at age 11 – yeah you’re welcome Tiffany! Anyway, I figured it would help to hammer this stuff out now while we men still have a little time and see if we can’t get you to where you need to be so you aren’t in full-blown panic mode on Christmas Eve or Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate. It doesn’t matter. There are gifts that must be given and they shouldn’t suck. What matters is that you have a list of Dos and Don’ts to help you conquer man’s age-old problem of gift buying for a woman this holiday season. So here you go….
Do Give a Card. Listen – this doesn’t seem that complicated, and it’s not. Surprisingly though, I hear of a lot of guys forgoing this for whatever reason (laziness? utter craziness?) Even on the off-chance your lady hates cards for some reason (who knows -maybe she lost her virginity sadly in the stock room of a Hallmark store), try anyway to just write a little something thoughtful this year and just see. Either way, a card should be a must. And yeah that little tag that comes on the $3.00 gift bag you got really doesn’t count you cheap-ass. You don’t need to be ‘Ol Will Shakespeare either, but come on – you know there is a lot this woman does for you – and she might be on the precipice of hating you for some reason already so don’t give her any more ammo you idiot. In my experience Target has the best collection and some decently funny ones. I’ve also come across these cards at Fig Tree in the West Loop before and they are a little more unique, sometimes dirtier and pretty funny.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Into a Victoria’s Secret (or other lingerie store). Some of you may have faced this, some may not. If she seems to want something of this sort or has hinted at it then surely the pressure is on. If you figured something out all on your own without the hint, then bonus points for you good sir as you stand on the threshold to the magical world of sensual delights that most men dare not dream of (Seinfeld, anyone?) Either way, it’s worth the risk, and is never as scary as it may sound. Just be a man dammit and walk in with the same bit of confidence you would have as if you were walking into a Jimmy John’s. It helps to have sizes written down beforehand unless you want to do the whole body description guessing game to a random girl at the store. Also look online beforehand to get some idea what’s out there or what she may like, but it gets tricky ordering online cause she may see it arrive. Let’s say you have picked out something special she wanted, but still had room for something else in the budget as your gift seems kind of small yet (lingerie can do that). If a woman helping you says they have a new bra that is a best-seller and is insanely comfortable because of some crazy new boob technology and women love it, I tend to just believe her 1000% and go with that. It seems that it doesn’t always have to be some ruffly sexy thing and it can just be a good staple they need, as nice bras like that can be expensive and girls may go a while before buying one for themselves. Men can understand comfort can’t we? If you’re one for efficiency you can call the closest Victoria’s Secret, ask for certain items and sizes and they will hold for you at the register so you can just walk in, go up to the register and check out. No wandering around a pink lacy wonderland you efficient chicken shit, you.
Don’t Be Self-Serving. I get it. You want to go to that upcoming U2 show and you think it would be a fun gift to get you and her tickets to see them as a present. But did you ever think that maybe, just maybe,,,,,,she F$%&-ing HATES U2?!?! It won’t be A Beautiful Day for her when she sees these tickets are her (your) gift and I’m guessing she will fake sick with diarrhea on the day of the show to avoid the whole experience altogether. You can just go with your buddy who still tears up when Bono flails his arms towards the sky with every epic chorus of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” She on the other hand, is out a gift completely, but she really doesn’t care because she would rather have nothing.
Do Give a Gift You Can Both Enjoy. Now that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to give a gift you guys can both benefit from. Say she says she would rather go on a trip somewhere or do something than have a present. Well, then she means it and you would be smart to start planning to do that thing together. If you are left to guess an activity or experience on your own, think of something that she would really like to do and just hope you may enjoy it too. As long as it’s not the other way around. Or it can be something else entirely. Lauren almost broke the previous self-serving rule entirely when she got me a Nespresso machine one year (she loves her espresso). Well – it turns out that she was sick of me making her get me caramel-laced coffee drinks at Starbucks because I didn’t know anything about coffee except I needed/wanted it to help wake my ass up. It turns out that this little lady was a genius cause that was like 4 years ago and it’s been one of the best things ever for me, for us and for any other tired bastard who comes to visit me. My point is – you can be smart about it, and give a gift that will be good for both of you but also be something she loves. She loves tennis and you guys used to play each other way back when but don’t anymore? New tennis racket – and then set a time to play and let her kick your ass. You guys have fun, get a workout in, and she is happy. Done.
Do Give Something They Don’t Know They Need. This also factors into the previous point. Sometimes there are things out there that your woman needs that she may not know she needs. She has probably never even thought about it, but day in and day out she goes through life not knowing that she needs this thing, that this thing would make her life a hell of a lot easier. No I am not talking about a new vacuum. For example: let’s take Midsis again… she’s my travel partner. We would go many places near and far. Awesome. What wasn’t so awesome was this f$%&-ing ugly green enormous suitcase she would pack up and I would have to help her lug around. We called it the green monster and it was terrible. However, I don’t think it really crossed her mind once – oh yeah I should probably get a new suitcase. Guys who travel a lot though would much rather have something functional and logical and would feel it worth it to buy for ourselves. So why not just do take care of this for her I thought. I surprised her one year with a Tumi suitcase I actually found on sale and she absolutely loved it. I threw in some other packing organizers from Flight 001 and she went into overdrive. Now she will take this sleek beauty any day over that green sonnofabitch, and now so would I. Another gift we can both enjoy.
Don’t Be Fooled Into Thinking Tools Make Good Gifts. Guys and girls are much different and in most cases this one seems to be true. Guys love tools, gadgets, shit like that. I would take something like that every year. However, for a woman I don’t know if it’s as exciting. Kitchen tools or gadgets – although functional and might make a hell of a lot of sense to you, could really be disappointing for her. Unless of course she is a badass in the kitchen and is obsessed with these sort of things, then by all means – kitchen gadgets. I just don’t want you to make The Father of The Bride mistake and get your girl a blender out of nowhere as Steve Martin will not be there to save your sorry ass from the flood of tears that you will drown in.
Don’t Try To Understand the Purse. I am pretty sure in a cave somewhere there are drawings of cave ladies carrying animal skin purses surrounded by frustratingly scribbled question marks – as even these poor cave bastards couldn’t figure out this mystery. I don’t know if we have come much further thousands of years later. If you find yourself in the position where all your girl wants is a new bag, purse, etc – chances are the price tag could be higher than your mind can comprehend. If you can afford it, then by all means do her and you a favor and get her what she wants. As my reality TV Uncle Joe Giudice famously once said: “Happy wife, happy life.” No, you will never understand it. I’ve tried to think of a man’s equivalent for a purse and have yet to think of one. Probably because it simply does not exist. Just do it and then later with your buddies you can bitch about how your girl is walking around with this purse that costs more than what she would possibly pay in ransom for your life.
Do Take a Risk Once in a While. Gift cards and gifts that are telegraphed to you – these are lay-ups. And hell – I’ve been known to miss a few of those. But for those scary moments where you are left to your own devices, but you would really like to get her something special this year, don’t be scurrrred man. Think positively and maybe use these situations to just swing for the fences (mixed sports metaphors I know). This might include getting that purse we mentioned without being asked, or some piece of jewelry that you think she would really love. It doesn’t hurt to do some research to minimize chance of failure – like asking her friend, or sister, or mother. Your goal here is to wow her, so it comes down to what she would really love, not necessarily what she needs. The worst that can really happen is she wants to exchange it for something else that’s more her taste – don’t be offended as she should appreciate the effort. And you should appreciate some extra action unless you screwed up some other way, then I’m sorry.
Don’t Necessarily Rule Out the Gift Card. I’m not really into giving a straight gift card as the whole gift. I mean – yeah it’s the easiest possible thing in the world for us, but don’t think she knows that too. I try to put some thought into getting an actual gift first, but if I come up a little short and need a filler gift then I have looked to the gift card to round things out. I tend to not go too mainstream, but again – I’m dealing with Midsis. I gave her a gift card to Gypsy05 once cause I figured it was up her alley and that turned out well. Sometimes to make it feel a little more fun for your girl it’s good to steer them towards something new and exciting. But that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy the staple gift card to Nordstroms, Starbucks, their favorite spa, etc. It just depends on the situation. If your girl loves Bass Pro Shops, then you are the luckiest a-hole on the planet cause then you walk into a Walgreens, go to the section of random gift cards find the one with a fish on it and you are done, and don’t forget to get a card you jackass.
Do Know Your Girl. For example, if it’s some kind of surprise trip – that’s good, you’re doing well so far. But when did you plan it for? Is it a good time for her? Every woman is different and has different things going on. Are the departure times and arrivals suitable or were they just the best deal? If your girl does not like getting back from a trip later in the night then keep that in mind. If it’s a romantic type of trip – well, you may have to think of what time in the month you are going. I mean, that’s kind of like renting a Porsche to go to Mackinac Island for the weekend when there are no cars allowed on the island. Use some of your detective skills to find this stuff out, and any other things to help your cause. Spontaneity is great, but don’t be blind to certain details. You can make it feel spontaneous for her, when you’ve actually put a lot of effort and thought into it on your end. After all, you want this to be good whatever it is, not opening the door for more shit to go wrong or her to be disappointed.
Don’t Forget To Take Notes Throughout the Year. This one is last because it’s definitely the most important for your cause, and also the easiest since your phone is a constant note-taking machine if you let it be (refer back to Zeff’s Wunderlist app recommendation). There will be those days where your girl will say something like “ohhhh I’ve always wanted one of those …..” but it’s August and for some reason she thinks you’re just going to remember this in your already cluttered man-mind for Holiday season. No F-ing Way. The start of fantasy football alone will kick out any of those thoughts you tried to stash away. Any time you hear something, think of something, or feel an idea come into your tiny brain the best thing to do is write that shit down immediately or tattoo it on your body like you are Guy Pearce from Memento and time is running the F$%& out. You will be happy as hell when you check back months later and you have actually have a list of valid options for December. Sadly, since it’s December already this is more a reminder to do yourself this favor for next year.
That’s it men. Get to it. And if you want to spit some knowledge to the rest of these helpless bastards out there then please do so in the comment section. We should be helping each other figure this out, since no man wants to wind up like this in the waning hours…..