The Holiday Gifts Women Want (and The Ones They Definitely Don’t)
It’s easy to let a bad gift slide when it comes from your elderly aunt or a clueless friend. It’s par for the course, funny even. But when it comes from your boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife, it’s not only disappointing, it’s offensive. It’s an experience all but guaranteed to make more than a few female recipients apathetic to the very idea of exchanging gifts. So if you’re still in the position of not knowing what to get the woman in your life, let us help you out. Rule #1: She doesn’t want an I.O.U.
As for the other key takeaways you can use in determining what’s best for the woman in your life, just read on. We asked over 150 women of varying age, income, and gift-giving traditions to tell us their favorite kinds of gifts from four common categories (jewelry, clothing, beauty, culture, and experiential gifts) as well as the best and worst gifts they’ve ever received. Their answers might surprise you—and in some cases leave you shaking your head with regret. Consider this your field guide to successful gift giving on Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other occasion where you’re wrapping something and handing it to a member of the opposite sex. You don’t always have to take our advice, but you should definitely take theirs.
The women we polled preferred necklaces over anything else and earrings were a close second choice.
Pro tip: Never hide jewelry unless it’s an engagement ring (because she will think it’s an engagement ring). And if you don’t know her style, ask one of her friends to help you.
Lingerie took the top spot—hot damn! But be careful how early on in a relationship you spring for fancy a bra and panties.
Pro Tip: Look for something in soft luxurious fabrics and if you’re worried about getting the right size, buy a sweater instead.
Women chose perfume over the other four choices. This is an advanced level gift. So if you’re not ready for it try a scented candle or lotion which is less of a serious commitment.
Pro Tip: Don’t buy her makeup or anything that suggest she needs to correct the way she looks. Instead go for things that smell nice and will make her feel pampered.
Women loved the idea of a framed piece of art. Not sure where to find it? Checkout places like Etsy and Pinterest for artists and designers.
Pro Tip: Prove you’ve been paying attention with a new book by her favorite author, a box set of the show she binge watches when she’s hungover, or an album you two listened to when you first met.
No surprise here, over half the women we polled chose plane tickets. But if you’ve only been on a few dates this might be a little intense.
Pro Tip: If done right concert tickets, a fancy dinner reservation, or a surprise weekend getaway will knock her socks off. Just make sure you actually follow through here.
Some of the best gifts women described receiving from a significant other:
“Spice Herb Mill Grinder Cutter Vegetable Fruit Shredder Kitchen Cooking Tool – it was a fun thing to do together and we used it afterward.”
“Family Picture Frames Photo Frame– photo he took on a trip that I loved. It was his own work and proved he listened to what I really liked — and it was nicely framed and signed. Creative, thoughtful and personal.”
And the worst gifts as described by our poll-takers:
“A gift certificate… we share a bank account. Why gift me money with our money?!”
“An IOU for a hot air balloon ride (cool idea!) that we couldn’t afford and that he never followed up on.”
“I really can’t complain about any of the gifts he’s given! Occasionally I feel like my presents to him are duds, and I almost wish he’d give me a bad one so we’d be even.”
“A Wii Fit — Thanks for the hint! We broke up soon after.”
“A baby blue Bible”
“A small purse shaped like a slice of pizza (i mean, in retrospect, kind of a cool gift- but at the time seemed out of touch and insensitive).”
“A book about cats.”
“Vera Bradley bag. Vera Bradley is a very specific taste, and one that I do not like. We had been dating for years and the idea that he had no clue what my taste was is a good indication of how the relationship eventually fared.”
“A 2 x 4. Yes, an ex once gave me a 2 x 4 for Valentine’s Day.”
“Miniature dungeons and dragons figurine he hand painted.”
“Same perfume his mother wore.”
“Theater tickets the woman he was seeing behind my back had given him.”
“Black pearl earrings in a bag of M&M’s (thought it was engagement ring).”
“An expensive cigar…I don’t smoke….”
“Nothing! I got nothing!”
To summarize, you have a lot of options of what to get her, just make sure you get her something.