Tips for Men Shopping for the Women in their Lives
This time of year can be overwhelming for everyone. Many people feel a sense of obligation to start buying gifts for the people in their lives. And most people don't actually know what the perfect gift is to get for each person that is on their Christmas list. A basic rule of thumb is to get personal-touch gifts for those people that you know personal things about (such as a spouse) and to get more general gifts for those people that you don't know intimately (such as a boss).
Here are some tips for men to consider when buying Christmas gifts for each of the women in his life:
o Wife or long-term girlfriend. This is the one that you should spend the most time thinking about. Don't get something just because you think it's nice or your best friend said it's what all women want this year. Really think about what your wife enjoys in life and then get a unique gift that's related to that. Whether it's inexpensive or pricey, the fact that you demonstrate that you really know her will make the holidays special. For example, let's say that your wife absolutely loves coffee. She drinks it every single day, seeks it out when you're on vacation and has a dozen of her own mugs at the house. Gifts that you might consider getting for her include - a large selection of different kinds of coffee, a new coffee maker or a set of gift certificates to a coffee shop in every city in the surrounding area (and a plan to spend your weekends taking her to use them). If you can't think of anything that really stands out, a personalized gift like a photo scrapbook or a set of homemade CDs with songs that are special to both of you would be appropriate.
o Short-term girlfriend. You've been dating for just a few months. You want to get her something but you know that nothing elaborate would be appropriate. You're not even sure if she's getting you a gift so you don't want to be too showy. Go with something simple that reflects something you two have enjoyed together such as ticket to see the band that you first saw live together. Alternatively, do something romantic but simple like an overnight hotel stay at a nearby bed-and-breakfast. Or get her something that shows you've been listening to what she says, such as shoes for the ballet class that she mentioned she might start taking.
o Sisters. You should know your sisters well enough to pick out a good gift. But if you don't, there are some basic rules of thumb to follow. Don't buy anything you're not sure about. In other words, if you're thinking about buying her perfume but you can't remember whether or not she wears it, get something else. Get her something that spoils her a little bit. Sis doesn't expect you to get her something romantic or sweet; her boyfriend can do that. But get her something that makes her life a little easier. The laptop she's never been able to afford, the upgrade to first class for her trip home for the holidays, the espresso machine she always said she wanted. If you can think of something that's reminiscent of childhood (in a good way), make a gift around that.
o Mom. The great thing about buying gifts for mom is that it really is the thought that counts. If you can think of something that your mom would really like that's unique to her, get it for her. If you and your siblings want to pitch in on a group gift, go with an indulgence that Mom might like such as a massage treatment or a trip somewhere. And if you can't think of anything that screams "Mom", get her flowers or chocolates and write her a letter about why she's the best mom in the world.
o Daughters. Kids' tastes change so rapidly that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest cool gift that your daughters might like. If you aren't sure, ask their Mom, their best friend's Mom, their teachers and their babysitters for suggestions. Make sure you know before you go to the store what it is that you're looking to get. You don't want to turn up and find out that the funny-named thing you thought was a doll is really a cell phone that you don't want your six-year-old to have. A series of little gifts is better than one big gift when it comes to kids. If your daughters are older, you might consider planning a special outing with just you in which you take them to lunch, demonstrate your respect for them and actually let them pick out a few things that they might want for the holidays.
o Female boss. This one is tricky. You never really know if it's appropriate to buy a gift for a boss or not. If everyone else in the office does it, then you probably should, too. But you don't want to be the only brown-noser who got a gift for her this year. The best bet here is to get everyone in the office to pitch in on one gift. If you decide that you're going to go ahead and get an individual gift for a boss that you're close with, keep it neutral. Flowers are acceptable, something simple for the office is better. Make it a professional gift and not one that indicates anything personal.
o Female co-workers. If you're getting gifts for your co-workers, you should go with something that can be given to everyone. And you should give it to both male and female co-workers. Since you're probably not going to give flowers or chocolates to everyone in the office, you might want to think coupons. Get gift cards for everyone to the movies, an inexpensive restaurant or a coffee shop. Try a coffee shop gift card with a note like, "I'd love to catch up on a coffee break one of these days".
o Female employees. Again, if you're buying gifts for the employees, you should just get the same thing for everyone, male or female. If you're in a position to offer a Christmas bonus, this is what's going to be most preferred by everyone.
o Remember your clients. Male and female alike, you should make sure that you send something to your clients this holiday season. Candies that are packaged with the company logo are a great way to remind clients about your business while expressing holiday wishes.
The key to Christmas shopping for the ladies in your life is to personalize what you can and don't overstep boundaries of intimacy when you can't. If you're buying a gift for someone you love, focus on what you love about them and make the gift count. If you're buying gifts for people that are acquaintances, keep that casual component in the purchase.