I have recently determined that gift giving is an art. Some people have the talent of giving great gifts and some people don’t. My husband is an awesome gift giver. I’ll say that I want something just once and he’ll remember it six months later when my birthday comes around. Plus he is really good at figuring out what I want even when I don’t know what I want. Last Christmas he got me a great cook book called “Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee.” I didn’t think I wanted a cookbook but as soon as I started using it I loved it. His gifts always show that he cares. I was recently diagnosed with Asthma so he bought me air purifiers. This demonstrates another characteristic of a great gift giver- they don’t always wait for a special occasion. The air purifier was just something he got to help me feel better. He’s just like Phil Dunphy on Modern Family.
I, however, am a total dud when it comes to giving gifts. I can never remember what Joe has said he wants throughout the year. I’m horrible at thinking up thoughtful gifts for him. And on the rare occasion that I do think of something thoughtful or sentimental, something always goes wrong and it becomes the worst gift ever. Exhibit A, Claire Dunphy
The worst thing about being a gift giving dud is that people, especially those who are good at giving gifts, think that you are being lazy or you just don’t care about giving them a good gift. Whenever I ask Joe what he wants he says “just let your love guide you.” Are you freaking kidding me, Joe? My love is telling me to punch you in the face and get you a gift card. Jeez. But, alas, I have become more and more determined to give everyone better gifts, especially my husband. So here are some new gift giving habits I’ve started.
1) Remember what they want. Most phones come equipped with some sort of note taking function. Every time that hard-to-buy-for-person mentions something they would like, whip out the cell phone and type it in. Keeping a running list throughout the year will make it much easier to shop when Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries roll around.
2) Start a gift savings fund. Some people are just always going to be more expensive to buy for. Expensive gifts are really the only gifts that make my husband happy. Not because he actually cares about the price, but because he has very expensive interests and hobbies (cigars, golf, restoring his VW Bug). We have a joint savings account we put a little bit of money into every month. We use that money just for buying gifts for each other and other people. And I always put away a little extra for him and his damn picky taste in gifts.
3) Get help. It’s definitely okay to talk to close friends and family members of the person you’re trying to buy for to get a better idea of what they would like. If you’re like me, however, and you often are the close friend and/or family member, you’re screwed.
4) Don’t wait until the last minute. I’ve learned that if I see something I think my husband will like, I need to buy it right then. If I don’t, chances are it won’t be there when I need it or I’ll totally forget about it and be at a loss when the dreaded month of December rolls around (did I mention his birthday is in December? Ya, my life gets real crappy after Thanksgiving).
5) Try not to stress and try not to make it a competition. I confess to being a total hypocrite on this one. Last Christmas I got Joe a KitchenAid mixer and was more excited about winning the “gift giving contest” than I was about making him happy with the perfect gift. I let my competitiveness get the better of me. And when I don’t get him a good gift, I get totally stressed and feel like the world’s worst wife. I need to just calm down, enjoy the process, and remember that in the case of my husband, a good trip around the bases will cure any gift giving mishap 😉