10 All-Too-Common and Unacceptable Gifts for Girlfriends

This article is dedicated to all the ladies out there who, like me, have ever been disappointed in your guy’s lack of gift-giving skills. Guys: PAY ATTENTION.

Gift-Giving 101:

Rule 1: Giving gifts is about showing that you care. (Read that to yourself three times or more—until the idea sticks.)

Rule 2: Essentially, the monetary price of the gift doesn’t matter (although nicer gifts are obviously welcome when you can afford them). What counts is that you show, with your gift, that you thought about your special someone and…

Rule 3: …got the gift for her. Read that again. Not for you (sneakily). For her.

And now, to make the whole gift-giving process even easier for you guys and show the rules in action, memorize the following gifts to never give that special “her.” I proudly present the official list of…

10 Gifts NOT to Get Your Significant (Female) Other:

  1. Teddy bears (…or any other stuffed animal)
    This gift is sooo cute when you give it to your first girlfriend…when you’re five. It’s time to grow up your gift. Despite Taylor Swift’s excitement in Valentine’s Day, I personally don’t get the whole “stuffed animals” appeal, and I know I’m not alone. Stuffed animals don’t do anything. They’re clutter. And they scream, “kindergarten.” Why not save the money and get something truly meaningful (rather than sappy and generically sentimental). Anything—even a poorly written, heartfelt poem—though still sappy—is better than yet another “I Love You Berry Much” bear.
  2. Anything related to weight loss
    …Do you like where your nose is currently? If so, no gym memberships, weight loss tapes, or workout equipment alone (if she wants it, it’s okay to get it — just get her something else, too, that is strictly non-weight-loss-related). You get the idea.If on the other hand, you’d love to have your face rearranged (or your credit card maxed out in spite)—go ahead and give your honey workout clothes three sizes too small, a gym membership, and a card that reads: “Chubby Cheeks: Can’t Wait Until You Look Hot Again. Luv, Stud.”
  3. Sporting equipment (…in your size, ahem, or for a sport you play alone)
    Here is where the age-old “NO HOMER GIFTS” rule applies. In case you’re out of the loop, the term “Homer Gift” was inspired by the one-and-only Homer Simpson, who gave his wife, Marge, a bowling ball for her birthday—with the name “Homer” on it. Yes — in his size. Just in case you’re still thinking of doing something similar: We women aren’t dumb. We see right through your “gift” of that new set of golf clubs you’ve been wanting. Wise up.
  4. Gift certificates alone (…or for something lame or obviously you-centered, again)
    I love gift certificates—when done right. If it’s a gift certificate for a massage, count me in, but getting the gift certificate alone—without any other gift, screams “last minute.” At least get a nice card with a heartfelt message. You can even just tack on your lady’s favorite candy bar. Whatever—just do something that shows you actually put some thought into her gift.As for lame or you-centered gift certificates, (I really hope) you know better. Once again: NO HOMER GIFTS!
  5. Season tickets to See sports only you enjoy
    Notice a theme here? If the gift is something you want, and you’re giving it to her to really “give” it to yourself… it’s not the right gift. I cannot preach this one enough!!!Obviously, if you both enjoy watching sporting events together and you know she’ll love season tickets, go ahead and splurge. But do it for her, not for you (even though you should be sure to buy two season tickets so she doesn’t have to go alone — AKA, be thoughtful).
  6. An IOU or other “creative” gift that you probably won’t follow-through on
    An “IOU” in any form is the gold medal winner for laziest gift. Not only did you do your gift last minute—you didn’t even put forth enough effort to actually get the gift. The lameness of the IOU gift is almost beyond comprehension. DON’T! DO! IT!Now a word about the “creative” gift. When done right—something made or written just for your honey is supremely romantic. But if you’re going to go making promises as your creative way to show you care… you have to follow through. Don’t tell me that you “planned” to follow through but it just “didn’t happen.” You know whether you’re going to follow through. If you don’t really mean it, don’t promise it! A year of you doing the dishes would be a dream come true… but if you say you’re going to do the dishes, DO THE DISHES! The alternative is several years in the dog house (or being kicked out entirely).
  7. Fake, cheap, or otherwise ugly jewelry
    If you suck at choosing jewelry, either buy her something else or ask a woman what she (honestly!) thinks of the jewelry before you by it. Just grab someone passing by. Hopefully they will tell the truth. Either way, be sure to keep the receipt and let your lady know she’s free to exchange the jewelry if it’s not her thing.
  8. Cleaning supplies of any form whatsoever
    [If you need an explanation for this one, you are beyond help.]
  9. Ugly shoes and clothing
    Refer to number 7: (Fake, Cheap, or Otherwise Ugly) Jewelry. If you’re not good at picking out clothes, you could get her a gift certificate for her favorite store (but also give her something else… see number 4!). Or if you still want to try to buy clothes for her yourself… keep the receipt. And be sure to (once again) let her know she is free to return the clothes if she doesn’t like them. (Many an ugly outfit has been worn out of present guilt. Save your woman from this fashion travesty!)
  10. Anything you can buy at a gas station gift shop
    Nothing says, “you’re important to me” like the World’s Biggest Whoopee Cushion (yes, bought at a “gas” station. What a charmer!)Unless you’re buying a funny “inside joke” gift to go along with a nice gift, just avoid gas stations altogether…or anything related to gas…when buying presents.

Guys, remember… gift giving isn’t about the amount of money you spend. It isn’t about what you would enjoy. When you give a gift, you’re telling that special someone you care about them, that you maybe even (*gasp*) love them. That’s why the best gifts — always — are the ones from the heart (…as long as you include a receipt).

Good luck gift hunting! May you avoid the dog house and make your significant (female) other feel truly appreciated this Holiday Season.

Guest contributor Jocelyn Gibbons has a background in both creative and technical writing. She is currently the creative marketing director for Just Eyewear, an online prescription glasses retailer.

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