Five Common Gift Giving Mistakes Men Make

Whatever you do, don’t make mistake number five

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Oh great! That “most wonderful time of the year” that is the Christmas Season is once again upon us. And so are the expectations. Family obligations, Zoom-based Christmas parties thanks to the pandemic, and more. But hold on there brave man — just because there’s a pandemic that doesn’t mean you get to get out of purchasing a thoughtful present for your significant other. Now, I know that where you are at in your relationship — whether that be married, engaged, dating or “it’s complicated” — greatly impacts what kind of gift you are going to want to give your wife. Regardless of where your relationship stands, however, don’t make one of these five common gift giving mistakes.

Giving a Gift Too Late (Or Too Early)

Men, save yourself a few tears. Get that Christmas present extra early. If it is necessary to have it shipped to you, MAKE SURE to get it early. Not the day of. Not the day before. Mistakes happen (especially in this crazy, package heavy world). Get it EARLY. But, that doesn’t mean when you get it early you get to show your S/O what you got her. “Look, honey! Look at what I got you! Isn’t it great?” You might be proud of that perfect gift, but here’s the thing: in woman langauge, an early present is not a Christmas present. It’s a “just cause” present. And in the woman’s litany of cardinal virtues to be found in men, the giving of “just cause” gifts are the absolute greatest. Don’t even give her the chance to label your hard won Christmas gift for her as a “just cause” gift. Hide that sucker somewhere where it will never be found (the way Frodo hid the One Ring when Gandalf told him to “keep it hidden, keep it safe”. You catch my drift). Then, carefully wrap it and place it under the tree. That’s actually a really important point which brings me to the second thing on this list.

Men, No Matter What it Is, Have it Wrapped and Under the Tree

It could be a trip into space, a coupon for a massage, a ticket to her favorite Broadway play — no matter what it is, I don’t care. Wrap it and put it under the tree! If it’s not wrapped and under the tree, it doesn’t count as a Christmas gift. Plain and simple.

Men, If She Gives You a List, Buy from the List

A lot of us creative guys who think we’re so smart and know better that we don’t need to be bothered with a simple thing like a Christmas gift will simply ignore said list and buy her whatever WE feel like. Well, sir, that’s dumb. Here’s why: she gave you the list because she really wants something from THAT list. Not whatever it is you have in your head that YOU think she wants. She wants something from HER Christmas list. She wants it so much, in fact, that she’ll be wondering excitedly which item from the list you are getting her! Imagine the chagrin when she doesn’t get a single thing from that list! Oh, woe is the man who makes such a mistake. Instead, do the smart thing. Buy one of those things on her list. In fact, buy all of those things on her list. Just don’t ignore the list (even if it’s just a verbal list. It still counts and yes, she will remember).

Don’t Get Her Exercise Equipment

Okay, yes. There are some obvious exceptions to this rule. If your wife happens to be a fitness nut, and there’s some exercise thing that she really really desperately wants and specifically asks for all he time, then you can of course get her exercise equipment. That is the one exception to the rule. The one. That’s it. There is no other. Look, I get it. It’s 2020. We like strong, fit women. But getting her something to work out with is going to send the wrong message and she’s not going to like it. Plain and simple. There you go. You’ve been warned.

The Holy Grail of Gift Giving Mistakes — No Gift

Men, all of the mistakes above are pretty bad, and chances are you’ve made one or more of them yourself in the past. But of all these heinous offenses to the sensibilities of gift giving, none is greater than the “non-gift”. The non gift is so great a transgression in the realm of gift giving that legends of it have spread far and wide across the land over the years. We hear of women who famously decry that this year, there will be no gifts. “I don’t want anything” we hear said from our S/Os. Some foolish men take this as true. And so they don’t buy a gift, thinking themselves the luckiest man in the world for being with such a down-to-earth woman. “My girl’s the best” they think.

What ever you do, for all that is good and holy on this green earth, don’t fall into this trap. Get her a gift.

Originally published at on December 12, 2020.

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