I have to admit…I take the whole gift giving thing pretty seriously.

In my world, gift giving is much more of an art than a science, and I’ve learned to appreciate the finer art of gift giving for a significant other.

It starts with listening.  Listening to your loved one about what THEY like, what THEY appreciate, or what THEY would never get for themselves…but would love to get.

It’s supposed to be about THEM.  Not US.

But the truth is…it’s downright tough to think about them and figure out what they’d like!

And I know this from experience.   I wasn’t always good at this stuff.

I mean, no guy should have to get a sweater with leather patches on the shoulders and elbows each year for Xmas (sorry Brian).  But then again… no woman should ever have to get a hot-air popcorn popper for her birthday (again…sorry Brian).

But I’ve learned (and so has Brian).

And I think now I’ve gotten pretty good at gift giving, especially for my significant other (lucky Matthew).

Cause I think I’ve figured out the rules.

Finally!

I mean, you’d think someone would have told us all the rules by now!!!!

So…in an act of community service during this 2010 Holiday season, I offer you…

The Rules of Gift Giving for A Significant Other

by Cindy Carrillo

Part 1: Rules for Giving Gifts to a Woman (Significant Other)

Rule #1…NEVER give a woman who is your spouse or significant other an appliance Of ANY KIND for a special occasion or holiday.  I don’t care if the toaster/washing machine/vacuum cleaner just broke and she ASKED for a new one.  Get it next Tuesday…but NOT for a holiday or special occasion.

Rule #2…If it has some utilitarian function…don’t get it.  She can (and probably will) get it for herself.  However, giving gifts of “experiences” (things SHE likes to do!) are like gold to a woman (‘cause then she doesn’t have to make all of the plans herself!!!!).

Rule #3…DON’T listen when she says she has everything and doesn’t want anything.  But DO listen to what she talks about and shows interest in, and DO pay attention to what she pauses to look at in the store.  Exception:  collections are fun and all…but don’t take the easy way out and get her another cow or turtle or coffee mug (that’s what your other family and friends already get her!).

Rule #4…If it would make her feel pretty or special or pretty AND special…get it.  It’s worth every penny!

Rule #5…It doesn’t matter if she already has 17 pairs of earrings, 12 necklaces, 15 bracelets and 6 rings.  The new one you get her this time…will end up being her new favorite.

Part 2: Rules for Giving Gifts to a Man (Significant Other)

The rules for Men (I think) are somewhat different…but still…follow the same basic premises as above:

Rule #1…Never give a man an appliance as a gift…as if a woman would ever get a guy a washing machine for his birthday!  Exception:  Power Tools (unless of course he’s Jewish…in which case you want to give him a gift certificate for a handyman).

Rule #2…If it has utilitarian function…GET IT.  Again…that whole power tool (or electronic) thing.  Not sure why, but men seem to like stuff that actually does something useful.

Rule #3…I have yet to hear a guy be coy about what he wants, because men don’t play games like women do.  So if he tells you what he wants, get it.  He doesn’t need the surprise or for you to figure it out for yourself (like women do).

Rule #4…If he’s into lookin’ good…it’s worth every penny to help him feel that way with a great addition to his wardrobe.  But if he doesn’t care how he looks…don’t get him clothes…or you’ll risk being thought of as his mother (which we all know is the kiss of death to a relationship!).

Rule #5…Unless he collects cufflinks or ties or sports team paraphernalia (or whatever!) …don’t get him stuff he already has.  “Choice” just doesn’t mean the same to him.  Think “the latest electronic” or gadget or game.  He’d rather turn something on and play it, than wear it!

There you have it!

I hope you’ll follow these rules and have years of happy and fruitful gift giving between you and your significant other (and never receive a popcorn popper or leather patched sweater ever again!).

I’m speaking (mostly) from a girl’s perspective here.

(Obviously.)

Appropriate:
Something she wants, that she didn’t even realize she wanted.
Inappropriate:
Something you want, whether or not she realizes she wants it.

Appropriate:
Something she would never get for herself because it’s too extravagant.
Inappropriate:
Something she would never get for herself because WHO WOULD WANT THAT?

Appropriate:
Something she’ll use.
Inappropriate:
Something she needs.

Appropriate:
Something she wants that she explicitly asked for.
Inappropriate:
That mattress pad that she explicitly asked for.

Appropriate:
A book by her favorite author.
Inappropriate:
A self-help book about how to stop being a control freak, even if it’s by her favorite author.

Appropriate:
A gift certificate for a full day at the spa.
Inappropriate:
A gift certificate for a full body waxing… even at a spa.

Appropriate:
A cookbook.
Inappropriate:
A diet cookbook.

Appropriate:
Lingerie
Inappropriate:
Lingerie two sizes too large (or too small).

Appropriate:
Something for the house.
Inappropriate:
Something to clean the house.

Appropriate:
A DVD of a movie that you both loved.
Inappropriate:
A DVD of a movie that you loved but she fell asleep or covered her eyes through.

Appropriate:
Some nice lotion.
Inappropriate:
Nice lotion that has “anti-aging” or “clears acne in one week” on the bottle.

Appropriate:
A sweater.
Inappropriate:
A sweater your mom picked out.

Appropriate:
Candles in her favorite scent.
Inappropriate:
Scented candles for the bathroom.

Appropriate:
Diamonds.
Inappropriate:
Fake diamonds that you pretend are real.

Appropriate:
A new car.
Inappropriate:
A muffler to make her old car sound “manly”.  (Mike asks me every year if I want one… Every.  Single.  Year.)

Appropriate:
A gift certificate for a massage.
Inappropriate:
A homemade coupon for a hug.  (Unless it accompanies diamonds or a new car.)

You get the idea.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

Maybe she really wants a muffler!

But, you know, better safe than (really) sorry.


  1. What are appropriate/inappropriate gifts to give your “significant other”?