As men, we have all blown it at some point when we were supposed to give a gift to the woman in our life. The day of a special occasion we scramble into a store to find whatever is available. We ask the sales clerk for help, but she already knows that we’ve blown it. We spend too much out of guilt. If all goes well, the place does gift-wrapping. We run out with the sinking feeling that we’re just not giving this woman what she deserves. Here are some tips that I’ve discovered after many years of marriage that work for me. Of course, I still blow it on occasion, but I’ve done well enough on most occasions that I can admit it. Follow along and you may find a tip or two that work for you!
- Put together a cheat-sheet. Be a sleuth and find out her sizes in everything: shoes, rings, blouses, skirts, panties, bras, bracelets…anything you can think of. What is her favorite color? Flower? Animal? Show? This may sound a bit strange, but when crunch time comes you can refer to your notes and quickly jog your memory. You may even laminate a tiny typed card and tuck it in your wallet. Simply looking through the list of sizes and items will give you some good ideas.
- Scan the catalogs. Take a look at the catalogs she reads, especially the ones that she has dog-eared. Jot down with the web address and some of the items she’s marked. You’ll see why in tip 3.
- Set the alarm. We’ve got tons of ways to manage our time. Luckily, they can serve as reminders well in advance. Take a minute to enter important dates into your calendar. You know the ones – anniversary, birthday, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and any others that come to mind. You’ll get bonus points for the extra ones like when you first met, or when you first kissed, or when you got engaged, etc. As you’re adding these to your calendar, make sure to set the alarms for the events a couple of weeks in advance, so you have some lead time to get an order in. In the notes section, write down some of the catalog URLs that you collected from tip 2. When the time comes you’ll get the reminder and voila! A whole list of suggestions for gifts!
- Put the number of the local florist next to your reminder. Flowers are a great way to supplement other gifts. Flowers can also be great for the more “subtle” occasions like your engagement anniversary.
- Do the pre-buy. Even with the tips above we all blow it at one point or another. Take a few minutes to shop for her while the pressure is off and get a few things that she’ll like. Have a cache of goodies (probably not food) that are already pre-wrapped and labeled so you know what they are. These are only to be used in an emergency.
- The Span gift. Here’s a tactic for more advanced gift giving, and it really only works if you have two events that are close together on the calendar, otherwise the glimmer fades quickly. Let’s say your anniversary is 3 to 4 weeks before her birthday. For your anniversary make all the arrangements for a special birthday night out. Purchase tickets and make reservations for dinner, or plan an overnight escape on her birthday. Make sure you cover as many of the details as possible for the night out, because you don’t want her to ask “But what about the kids?” and have no answer. Present a gift certificate or other marker as her anniversary present, letting her know what you’ll be doing on her birthday. This is a great way to nail two events and have the love of your life be thrilled. If the time between events is a little too long you may want to supplement with a gift certificate for a massage or facial. This one takes a bit of planning but in the end she’ll think you’re the champ!
When it comes to gift-giving, I’ve found that if you pay attention the clues for great gift-giving are all there for you to see. These are just some tools to help keep your timing right.