Starting tomorrow, I will be bringing you Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail Safe Girl Gifts, a comprehensive guide of suggestions and advice. That way, if she hates your present, you can blame me. A lot of pressure? Maybe, but I’m up for the challenge.
But, before I kick off my list, I wanted to offer you some guidelines that hopefully will serve you well in your pursuit of the perfect present. As long as you keep these points in mind, she’s sure to unwrap something stellar this year.
- Know Your Audience: The single most important ingredient in a successful gift is playing into her likes and dislikes. Guys always get hung up on the cost or the originality, neither are terribly crucial. It’s not about the thing, it’s about the person – always remember that.
- You Can’t Go Wrong With A Memory: Since we seem to be OD’ing on “stuff” nowadays, try giving her something she really wants – your time. Find something fun for both of you to do together and book it. Just remember to keep the above rule in mind when choosing said activity (despite your best intentions, a technology-free cabin getaway for a Blackberry addicted workaholic may cause her to short circuit, get the idea?).
- Never Buy Us Clothes: Unless there is an item that you are DEAD CERTAIN she wants, you’ve seen her try it on and know her size, never ever ever buy a woman clothing, it’s too personal. We’re picky, we body obsess, it’s a disaster. Just avoid it, trust me.
- It’s About Our Taste, Not Yours: Does she like heart-shaped things? No? Then you’d do well to avoid them, boys. While you tend to think we like anything sparkly and girly, some of us pass on pinks, hate hearts and don’t even get me started on glitter and fur. *Note, this extends to gifts that are more for you than us. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: lingerie and Lakers tickets are only altruistic if you’re dating Carmen Electra or Marv Albert.
- Cost Is Not Nearly As Important As You Think: Unless your woman has shown you she cares about price tags – and believe me, if this is her you’ll know – don’t get hung up on how it looks in our eyes. Some of my most favorite gifts ever have been modestly priced. The key is thoughtful, thoughtful, thoughtful.
- Use Your Resources: Does she have a best friend she tells everything to? A sister she goes shopping with? Anyone in her inner circle who would know? Use this person as a sounding board. Two minds are always better than one.
- Grand Gestures Are Appreciated But Unnecessary: If you tend to be an over-the-top kind of guy, that’s your decision. But that doesn’t mean what she finds under the tree (or menorah, we’re equal opportunity advice-givers here) has to be an all expenses paid cruise or a constellation named in her honor. The pressure to do such things usually comes from within, playing it safe is just fine by us.
- Give Back: You cannot go wrong with a gift that involves some sort of charitable donation, helping people in her name, a memorial to one of her loved ones, or even a scholarship or endowment. If she blisters when she learns that there’s nothing “tangible” to unwrap, you might have a grinch on your hands.
- Avoid Living Gifts Unless You Know She’s Up For The Responsibility: If she’s dying for a pet (and her plants have a good survival rate) then you’re probably safe. But if she can’t even remember to pay her rent on time, have mercy on the poor creature who has to call her mommy.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Do It Yourself: Making her dinner, writing her a song or building/planting something with your own two hands is a meaningful way to say you care. Of course, it might also say that you’re cheap (kidding!) but mostly, it says that you put some time into making sure she likes it – which is appreciated year ’round.
- Give It To Her Privately Unless You’re Confident She’ll Love It: Nothing says “Ho Ho How could you?!” like putting her on the spot. Yikes.
- You Can’t Go Wrong With Personalization: Monogramming isn’t just for The Donald anymore, and these days you can even customize your candy. Finding a way to incorporate an anniversary, her initials or even just engraving a phrase is the kind of thing we go crazy over.
That’s it for now. I’ll get more specific beginning tomorrow, but for now think about all of this when you’re hitting the stores – actual or online. I’ll also be breaking it down into what type of woman each gift is great for, what it says about you, and how long you should be dating before you give her each present, just to avoid the awkward sound of crickets. Rest easy guys, I’ve got you covered.