It’s late. You’re busy. I won’t condemn you for your last minute shopping. I’ll get right to it. A gift for your wife in three steps, a few suggestions, and a list of what NOT to do this Christmas.
You got this. You’re seeking advice from strangers on the internet.
What could possibly go wrong?
Last Minute Presents for My Wife – or –
What to get my Girlfriend for Christmas
Subtitle: It’s December 22nd; I’m So Screwed
Step 1: What’cha working with?
If you’ve already discussed a budget with her, skip to Step 2.
Now, this means different things to different people. What you’re going for here is an amount that is not so low that your wife is mad at you and not so high that your wife is mad at you. Whatever that magic number is. Stick to it. Either side of that line can get pretty scary.
O How much can I spend without pissing her off? ______
O How little can I spend without pissing her off? _______
O My budget range _______ to _______
Step 2: Picking stuff out.
You will want to split your budget into a couple gifts. Because your wife likes to open presents. The unwrapping is a big part of the experience. Please do not hand your wife a plain white envelope with “Mom” written on it on Christmas morning. However, you also don’t want to buy twenty crap presents that are just one disappointment after another. Two to five gifts is the sweet spot.
There are a few types of gifts that she will enjoy. For bonus points. Choose gifts from 2 or more of the following categories:
The Thoughtful Gift
“I know you like ____, so I picked this one out just for you.”
Does your wife have a collection? Take a peek around the house. Maybe she loves a specific item – like wind chimes or nutcrackers. Does she like a specific animal? Color? Character? Is there something that she never seems to have enough of? If you can think of something, get her that. You know she loves it already – because she has something else that’s exactly the same.
If wifey isn’t a collector, maybe she has a special hobby. Show her you support her by getting her something that goes along with her favorite activity. Just think about how she spends her time. *Note: Cooking and cleaning don’t count.
A few suggestions:
Loves music, dance, or comedy? Tickets are a great gift. Find out who is coming to town in January or February. Give her tickets – either for the two of you or for her and a friend.
Loves fitness? Get her a fashionable activity tracker.
Likes makeup? Go in her makeup case, look for a brand she likes, head over your nearest department store, and let the salesperson pick something out and wrap it for you.
Is she kind of a homebody? A robe and slipper set.
Wears jewelry? Get any type of jewelry related gift and you’re golden.
A Spa Experience
This is the only instance where a gift certificate is acceptable. Give the gift of a luxurious experience. Something that she can enjoy… alone. Or with girlfriends. Stop by a nearby spa or a salon that offers a variety of services. Their business is making women happy. The receptionist can pick out a package for you, wrap it up nicely, and send you on your way in minutes.
Depending on your budget, you could go from a simple mani/pedi for $30 to an entire day experience for her and her bestie with a champagne lunch for $700+. No matter your budget, this is a great gift that says, “Treat yo self.”
There’s a catch – the experience cannot be a GC to something your girl normally does. If she is used to a weekly mani/pedi, don’t give her the gift of fancy nails. She doesn’t need a gift certificate for her regular maintanence routine, like a haircut. She’s got that covered. Know what I mean?
I have great news. You don’t even have to pick anything out. Check out some fabulous subscription services that will do the shopping for you. Choose to give a one-time gift (needs to be there on Christmas day, dude) or a 3/6/12 month subscription. If you order a subscription in advance, get a small, representative gift to be wrapped for her to open on Christmas day.
Hates coffee, loves tea? Tea gift package with cup.
Loves fresh flowers? Flower of the Month Subscription – this will keep you out of the doghouse all year.
Just wants to spend time together? Date Night Box: Inexpensive but time consuming – you’ll have to make an effort later. You’ve been warned.
Step 3: Presentation is everything.
This is where the thought does not count. It does not matter that you took the time to pick out paper. It does not matter that you wrapped it yourself. It does not matter that you used the entire roll of Magic Tape. If it looks like your three-year-old wrapped it, it sucks.
Please, get someone else to wrap your presents for you. If you order gifts online, get them wrapped. If you’re in a department store or mall, look for the gift wrap center. These services are meant for YOU. Use them.
*Note for the eco friendly:
If your wife is particularly eco (read: you’ve actually heard her bitching about wrapping paper waste) you will probably want to go with a more eco-friendly wrapping solution. Check out reusable wrapping paper, recycled and reusable gift bags, or consider making a nice reusable bag(s) part of the gift itself. Presentation still matters. Use something cute.
If you’re super eco AND super broke, ask for an extra paper bag at the grocery store. When the check out lady (make sure it’s a lady) gives it to you ask her, “Is there anyone here who can help me wrap up my wife’s gift?” She will laugh at you, but she might get someone to do it for you.
Gift wrap does not count against your budget. Go wild.
The Don’t List
You might have a few great ideas of your own. I’m going to stop you right there. Here’s a list of DON’Ts. You’ll see your past presents here. Do not make the same mistake again.
The only exception is if your wife has specifically asked for something on this list. I’m not talking about, “Oh geez, we really need a new shower head.” She means that she’ll pick one out after Christmas when it goes on sale. Only get the shower head if she specifically says, “I would really love a new shower head for Christmas. Here it is online, I’ll send you a link.”
Just say no to…
Pots and pans
Anything designed for cleaning
Gadgets designed to “help” her cook
Something you found at the hardware store
Anything that might suggest she needs to go on a diet (this includes blenders and juicers, which are also kitchen appliances; see above)
Gift certificates so she can pick out her own gift
Gift certificates to restaurants
Amazon gift certificate
Bookstore gift certificate
Anything you found at an automotive place
Anything you found next to the register for splurge purchases
Something for her to “do” with the kids
Anything she will have to share with the kids
Anything that comes in a gift basket from a drugstore
Anything from the drugstore
…and finally, don’t buy her anything that you will have to explain the use of. If she doesn’t know what it is, she doesn’t want it.
Guys, if worse comes to worst and you can’t figure this out or you’ve waited until the literal last minute here’s what to do:
- Check out her Facebook or Instagram feed.
- Scroll down until you find one of her girlfriends who is in direct sales*. There’s one there, I promise.
- Send the friend a message that you need an emergency gift, tell her your budget, and let the friend choose because it’s a GD emergency.
A real friend will even wrap it.
*Do not purchase Herbalife or Bodywraps. Nothing that suggests she needs to diet!
For your reference I’ve included a handy, printable pocket guide.
Click here to download and print.
Funny. I’ve seen this same pocket guide laying around our house.
Hint, hint honey.
A special thanks to my husband for being my inspiration and a good sport. In the last year alone I’ve received a re-gifted restaurant gift certificate, a GC for a haircut, a shower head, a health food blender, a bird feeder, and a set of wind chimes. Thanks for letting me share the good, the bad, and the ugly.