DON’T GO OVERBOARD!
I like to talk. But I also like to listen — eavesdrop, that is — in coffee shops and markets and galleries. Anyplace, really. So, this is some gift-buying wisdom I’ve garnered from a lot of eavesdropping and a little bit of experience.
1) Don’t buy what YOU want her to have. Listen. Has she ever mentioned that she wanted a silver bangle, always dreamed of seeing Paris, would like to learn how to make a souffle? You may think the incredibly expensive diamond bracelet you’ve found would look beautiful on her wrist. It probably would. Tickets for a weekend in Las Vegas could be fun, too. And a “how to make perfect brownies” cookbook would fit nicely on the kitchen shelf. Besides, YOU love brownies. But…if you really want to buy HER a gift, take the money you would have spent on the diamond bracelet and buy the silver bangle and tickets to France. She can pick up a great cookbook in Paris.
2) Don’t ask other people what to buy for him. If other people know him better than you do, perhaps working on that issue would be a good gift to consider. Besides, other people will probably tell you what THEY would like for him to have, rather than what he wants. What if the person you ask thinks he would look great in red, but he hates red? Don’t buy the red sweater. He won’t wear it, and you’ll consider yourself the victim and bring this up to him ad infinitum. Perhaps he could stand to lose a little weight and a friend suggests getting him a membership at the local gym. He, however, has never, ever mentioned an interest in the gym. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it.
3) Don’t buy a gift for him because “everybody has one.” No. No. And no. If “everybody” has it, he would have already purchased one, or at least mentioned it — if he actually wanted one of his own.
4) Don’t buy a gift because it’s prettier, better, or more expensive than the one her best friend, sibling, or great grandmother owns. If she wants something just because it’s prettier, better, or more expensive than someone else’s…well, that’s kind of obnoxious. Consider buying gifts for someone else.
5) On the other hand, if he simply loves a particular designer or drinks good Scotch or keeps mentioning this new little gourmet chocolate shop around the corner (and doesn’t just want these things because his best bud has them), save up for the designer sweater or the good Scotch or the must-have chocolates and tie up the special gift with a pretty bow in his favorite color.
Final note: Gift cards are fine and dandy as a last resort. But don’t buy him a gift card to the movies because you want to see more movies. Buy a Bass Pro Shop card instead, if you know he’d rather be fishing. You should, however, ask for a movie card of your own and take a friend who’s also a fan of the flicks.