Monday, 1 December 2008

Sound Christmas Shopping Advice for Men

Now I can't take all the credit for this post. A colleague of mine wrote some of it and I added some bits.

It's a well-worn cliche that many men put this task off until Christmas Eve - but have you ever wondered why that is? It won't necessarily be because he's lazy or disorganised, no, it's far more likely he just hasn't got a clue and has that "can't do right for doing wrong" mental block.
We're here to help, so all you worried men out there, read on....

Christmas shopping for the woman in your life can be daunting, but knowing a few basics about the noble art of buying gifts for women can help you on the way to a harmonious festive season:

1. It's About Her, Not You!
This has to be the cardinal rule: Do not, under any circumstances, buy her something that's on your own wish list. So, nothing from the DIY shop, no sports DVDs, no gardening implements. Most women will not have "Plasma TV so I can watch my favourite footie team" at the top of their must-haves.

2. No Household Appliances
You might think you're being helpful by getting her a chop-o-matic or one of those nifty new hoovers with a ball instead of wheels, but believe me, go that route and it's highly likely you'll be spending Christmas night in the local casualty department. Christmas is a time for gifts she wants, not stuff she needs.

3. Look and Listen

Take time to go shopping with her if you don’t already. I know it's purgatory for some men but if you want to survive, just do it. Then watch and listen! Ask around. If she has girlfriends, sister etc check with them. They usually know what’s suitable.

4. Apply the Mother-in-Law Test
Each idea you have must be put through this rigorous testing procedure. If you think your Mother would like it, forget it. Move on and quickly.

5. Big Pants or Black Lace?
Neither! It's entirely possible that your loved one just might like some new lacey knickers or a nightie that you would like. But, you must strike the right note - half-way between granny pants and your wildest fantasies should be about right. Another hint, satin may look and feel sexy slide all over the place in bed and the cat's claws play havoc with it!

6. Don't Attempt to "Do" Fashion
Clothing may seem to be an ideal gift, especially if your partner loooooves clothes. However, the point is, if she does love clothes, she probably has a very strong idea of what she does and doesn't like, honed over several thousand hours of window/online/real-life shopping. She knows what makes her bum look big! I bet you're no shopaholic! So how can you hope to compete with that level of experience?

7. Take Care with Perfume
I’ve thrown out or given away lots of very expensive gift sets because I hated the perfume. Everybody's skin reacts differently to perfume and everyone's sense of smell is different. What smells great on one person could smell like cats pee on another. Believe me I've been there.

They produce these amazing gift boxes at Christmas they look absolutely gorgeous and cost the earth. I'm convinced they're made especially for men (mugs) to buy. (Women would just go for the perfume and ignore those other lotions and potions they don't really want or need.)
You know the boxes that the wonderfully made up girlies in the shops just love to sell them to men looking a bit lost wandering about in the perfume department.

You feel really guilty chucking these expensive boxes of stuff out which increases the annoyance factor too. Unless you know she loves the perfume, don’t risk it. She can’t take it back!

8. Chocolates
Take care here. I've received boxes of lovely chocolates at times I've been struggling to keep the weight off and smiled through gritted teeth. So make sure she's not cutting down before you buy.

9. Remember What You Bought Last Year
Always keep a record of what you buy for Christmas and birthdays especially if your memory is bad. There’s nothing worse than getting the same thing two years in a row. I should know, I did for the last two years!

10. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute!
Definitely not the week before Christmas. The shops are just too busy for you to browse and it’s likely that if you see something that’s just the ticket, they won’t have the right, size or colour. I know because my husband used to get my daughter to go with him to Marks and Spencer on Christmas Eve when she was young. There was usually nothing left!

Now for the positive bit!
A far better idea is to figure out her favourite shop (ask around or check the credit card statements). Buy an extravagantly generous voucher and then buy a lovely fancy box. Wrap it up beautifully - layers and layers of silk, pastel tissue paper, ribbon, satin rosebuds, little notes in between each layer, a photograph of you both, a couple of luxury chocolates and maybe cinema or theatre tickets. Anything to disguise the fact that basically you wimped out and got her a voucher!

Remember, Love Conquers All
There's probably very little chance you will ever get it 100% right, because we women are a capricious bunch. But, if she can tell you've at least thought about it, and curbed your urges towards the mundane, the easiest option or the downright lazy, the chances are you will avoid the spectacle of your Christmas dinner ending up on the dining room wall.

Just show her you care enough to follow the above rules, and I'm prepared to bet my Christmas pudding that you'll see her smiling at you over the sprouts this Christmas.


  1. That had me laughing - a great set of rules Winifred. Reminded me of a friend whose husband rushed out on Christmas Eve and proudly presented her with a hideous cuckoo clock on Christmas morning. We still laugh about it now. (She returned it as soon as she could).

  2. Holy Mackerel, Winifred! You've got your finger on the place, girl!

    I don't usually have a problem with my husband - he pays attention to my likes and dislikes and knows my taste.

    One Christmas he did a "Five Senses" theme and gave me something for every one. It was heavenly!

    This was a great post! You should have it published in your local newspaper.


  3. In case that last post meant no sense (my mid-life brain hit a glitch!) I meant "finger on the PULSE!"


  4. Thanks for the advise. Now I know exactly what to do.

  5. That's pretty funny. My husband did a pretty good job with his gift giving. He always went shopping with me, and did a great job finding all of the bargins. He always found gifts for our grandson's. I will miss his help this year!

  6. Dear Winifred ~~ Great post and let's hope the men get to buy the right gifts for their loved ones.
    Thank you for your visit and yes I am enjoying my gazebo and the furniture. I hope the expected blizzard wasn't too severe. I hope you got to sleep in and miss it and do some sewing.
    Take great care, my friend, Love,Merle.

  7. Hello again, Winifred,

    Please stop by my blog: for a well-deserved award. Thank you.


  8. Oh Winifred, how rich this advice is. I've laughed till tears came to my eyes. Its a lot of wisdom for a man to absorb...but I'm going to share it with my husband and son for sure. You get 5 stars on this tutorial for shopping for us ladies. I love it. You've a gift for writing thats so enjoyable to read. I've already got my gifts put back. He drove an hour to buy me a set of wind chimes that are very long...and deep..sound like church bells tolling in some high up stone tower. Of course not..if you're wondering if they are already in use...grin. Still in the box, waiting for the big day. And a 3 set of novels to read...came across them at a bargain place and snatched them up. And so far...a new knitting calendar. (all waiting to be wrapped) What have I got for hubby yet? Not a thing. HE is hard to buy me out? lol. How are you doing with your Christmas list?

  9. I like that five senses theme, very imaginative. You've a true romantic there Kat!

    You must be missing your husband a lot this year Marla, especially if he was such a good bargain hunter. He must have been a treasure. My husband absolutely hates shopping. I hate him coming with me, I feel under pressure to buy fast and that's not my style at all!

    Well I have to say I've done my usual trick. I start shopping really early in September and then by October I'm fed up of it so it waits until now.

    This year I've just asked my daughter what she wants and it's a pair of wellies! Great I thought she's helping me cut back on spending. Not a bit of it, the price is extortionate, I could buy 3 pairs of good shoes for less.

    I've got nearly all the grandchildren's presents apart from the one who hasn't made his or her appearance yet. Due tomorrow.

    Gramma Ann I think I must be a bit thick and I haven't been on the plonk yet, it's only 8.30pm! Keeping a clear head to do some shopping online for those wellies! I can't see the award. Maybe you can let me know more.

    Maggie Ann I like the sound of those wind chimes. My husband is a golfer (fair weather only) and I usually ask my nephew who is a golf pro for advice. However I'm on an economy drive and trying to get him to agree not to buy for ourselves this year. I'm not bothered about getting presents I just like giving them.

    If I'm not buying him golf stuff, he likes cologne and he's obsessed with ties. We walked the length of Rome trying to find a tie he saw the first day we arrived. He's not a reader, isn't particularly interested in music, just listens to what's on, doesn't like gardening, has no hobbies just golf. The cupboards are full of jumpers and shirts so I steer clear of those. In the past I've bought him Sudoku stuff and the odd comedy DVD, but no he's not easy to buy for either.


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