Gift-Giving Tips

Story by Mark Carlisle

Gift-giving is almost always a challenge. Here are a few tips to get you started. I’ve been in a relationship with my wonderful girlfriend for over four years now. I don’t pretend to be an expert by any means, but I’ve got a little more relationship experience than your average college student.

Don’t break the bank

It’s always nice to be able to give her that big, amazing gift. But most times those amazing gifts come with some jaw-dropping price tags. If you want to get that expensive gift, save up before you buy it. Because if it’s anything close to a healthy relationship, she won’t want you going broke on her account.

Give useful gifts

I’m talking about you, stuffed animals. Those little guys are cute and heart-warming when you present them to her, but after that, they kind of just take up space. It’s fine to give a few, but don’t keep piling on. Do you expect her to open up a stuffed animal museum in her bedroom?

(Unless you win the stuff from a carnival game. Those games are rigged, so it’s they’re more like trophies than stuffed animals. You’ll be her hero. Or you’ll be mine at least.)

With gag gifts, just think about whether the gag is worth the price you’re paying and the fact that it will be useless after the gag. Sometimes you can find something that’s funny and functional. But be careful what the joke is. If you buy her the soundtrack from “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” don’t be surprised when she’s blasting it on your next long car ride.

The one exception to this rule is flowers. I’ll never understand it, but for one reason or another, women just love watching things wither and die.

Put in effort

Not all gifts come with price tags. And I’m not saying make some arts and crafts concoction like you did on Mother’s Day in elementary school. (Though if you can do it well, go for it.) I’m saying think outside the box. Every now and then, give something thoughtful rather than something you saw in a catalogue. Write poetry, draw her a picture or sing her a song.

And don’t give me any of that, “I’m just not a creative person” crap. You might not be a Tennyson, Monet or Sinatra, but you can write your feelings down on paper. You can remember where your first date was or her favorite flower.

But this isn’t to say that you must make something entirely homemade. You can buy something, even something expensive, just have a reason behind it. Listen to her when she talks about the things that she likes or wants and then show her you remembered.

Most of the time, women care about the thought behind a gift a lot more than the number on the price tag. She may be dying for that new necklace, but it’s going to mean a lot more coming from you than from her great aunt, Sally.

Do it for no good reason

Don’t give your gifts like you’re mandated to by the calendar. Nothing light’s up a women’s face more than showing up on her doorstep with flowers on a random Tuesday. You don’t need a holiday to tell someone that you care about them

Do it to make her smile, not to make her like you

I hear so many stories about guys shelling out big time on the first or second date. That’s a high bar you’re setting for yourself there, buddy. Unless you’re ready to make just as big a deal on every single date, I’d advise against it.

I get that men want to impress women in whatever way they can, but most women aren’t going to care about that if you’re a jerk or a bore. Even if you find someone who is impressed by you wining and dining her until your wallet is empty, you’re going to end up three months into a relationship realizing that you just spent all of your money on a girl who does not care about you.

Get someone to fall in love with your personality, not your pocket book.

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