After 23 years of working with contemporary and handmade jewellery, I’ve talked to thousands of women, men and couples. I’ve seen many beautifully thoughtful gifts that have left the recipients breathless.
I’ve also heard firsthand how the wrong gifts can lead to a birthday, anniversary or Christmas that both people would rather forget. It’s taught me a lot about choosing the right gift – and what not to give your wife or girlfriend!
Here’s my list of the five top “no no’s”…
1.Pots, pans and kitchen products
This is basically telling your partner that she needs to cook.
I know what you’re thinking, “But I’m in love with a MasterChef and she’s been dying for a cast iron skillet!” and maybe she is, but it’s a gift you both benefit from and great gifts spoil and pamper the person who gets them.
It’s impersonal and truthfully, kitchen products are things that both of you should use making it less of a gift for her than you might think.
2.Vacuum cleaner or any cleaning products
Same thing as kitchen supplies but probably even more insulting as it implies that she is the one who should be cleaning the house. Maybe your partner has been complaining that cleaning is taking up too much time and eating away at good weekend relaxing time. That doesn’t mean that a new Dyson vacuum should be a gift. File this one under living expenses and not romantic gift idea!
This one is very dangerous territory! A lot goes into a woman’s style choices including personal style, what other wardrobe items it could work with, cut and sizing. A dress in a size up can make some people insecure about how you view their body and a size too small can make them feel worse about themselves.
Not to mention that both popular style and personal style changes over the years! If she hasn’t pointed something out to you specifically you could get into deep water by buying something that doesn’t make her look beautiful and feel good.
It may help to think about it from your point of view. Do you really want another tie for your birthday?
4.Books and music (unless you really know what they like)
It’s easier to get this one wrong than you might think. Often you can make the mistake of buying a book or music that you like yourself but that’s not something your partner would be interested in at all.
5.Packaged gifts eg body products or gift hamper
These ones are impersonal and can be spotted from ages away as last minute gift ideas when you couldn’t think of anything better. Gift hampers to your partner shows that not much effort was involved.
They are the kind of gift that are usually given to a distant Aunt or at the office Christmas party raffle.
Holiday gift advice
Pay a LOT of attention. The best time to think about what to get your significant other is 365 days a year. When you start thinking of gifts as a year long process you will start to notice ideas everywhere. Maybe you’re out on the town and your partner stops and notices something they love in a display window. Take a note every time that happens and by the time a special occasion comes along you’ll already have a long list of ideas.
Ask your partner questions in a conversational way to get a clear idea of what they like. Ask her to show you what she likes. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of couples where one of them was very interested in and loved a particular piece of jewellery while their partner paid no real attention at all.
It is not unusual for the same uninterested partner to drop into the shop sometime later to buy a present and have no memory or idea of what their partner was looking at originally.
I love it when a present chosen is the perfect one because a husband or partner was really interested and excited to get just the right thing.
A great indicator that you have the perfect gift is….If you think that you overspend, you probably got it just right!