Hate Buying Presents? Here Our Tricks To Getting It Right.


You may wonder why we don’t write a brilliant post about what kind of gift to buy your boyfriend or girlfriend for that special occasion.

Well, for me, great gifting takes a LOT of thought and it wasn’t just a concept that I could dash off without thinking seriously about how I overcome my reluctance around the gift-exchange. So, I noodled on a few share-worthy pointers that help me find the right things to get the people I love… (if you are really just a fan of the practical pointers, you have my permission to skip to the end…)

One of my best friends is THE BEST gift giver ever. It’s her love language. In fact, when I managed to give her the right gift on her birthday this year — I was over-the-moon excited. I mean, I knew she liked bling. And I knew she liked dressing up. Labels are very good in her designer world. Lo and behold, I found her the perfect little St. John gold evening clutch. She happened to have been looking for one just like it for her upcoming trip to Vegas. Bingo! I not only spoke her love language, I wrote it in sky letters for her to enjoy.

But really, my gift-giving bulls-eyes aren’t due to natural talent. Oh no, I had to WORK at this skill set.

When I can use anything other than money to get a gift, I heave a sigh of relief. Love poem? We’re good to go. Letter telling you why I love you? No worries. Painting or picture of your favorite scene… consider it done. Planning a fun evening just for two? You’re gonna remember it for years! But merchandise? Fripperies? Gear and gadgets? *enter my slow descent to hell*

I know that part of it is my reluctance to give ANYthing that might be a dust collector within the year. Or that they’ll have to say they love it, when really… not so much. I know that the other part of it is that I’m just not a material girl. I hate chachkis with a passion. My wardrobe has a theme… soft, comfortable and streamlined. My mom makes me more jewelry than I could ever wear. (And believe it or not… her stuff is beautiful and simple.)

I think what it boils down to is that gift giving is just NOT my love language.

All of that being said, I do manage to do the gift thing right if I’ve had enough time to think about it and know the giftee pretty well. (Unless the giftee is my dad. In that instance, I must admit to lobbying for the family gift from everyone since I am fresh out of ideas.)

In spite of (or perhaps because of) my aversion to all things wrapped, I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms that get me through the special occasion count downs.


Take the time to note colors they like, fabrics they wear. For example — buying me black cashmere is a no-brainer. The only danger would be getting me something I already have. Take a look around their house… is your boyfriend missing something he needs? Has your girlfriend made an off-hand mention of something she likes? Do they have a particular brand they favor? Has one of their “favorites” worn itself to pieces? All great places to start cooking up ideas.


If you are still fresh out of ideas, go ahead and ask. I know. Not romantic, you say. So dust collecting IS romantic? Amazon.com has a great “wish list” feature for the shy list makers to share with their friends, family and YOU. Browse the list for things you know they would like at a price point you can afford.

Personalize it.

If it’s for someone you love, try to avoid just popping it in a gift bag without a card. It’s the difference between handing someone a new un-wrapped toaster and wrapping the toaster along with a card explaining that your favorite thing they make for you is cinnamon toast in the morning and you noticed the toaster has become more of a bread hurler and burner than anything else. In the first version, you might end up with a toaster sized impression on your forehead. With the latter, you get to make out by the newly plugged in toaster. A toaster is not the most romantic gift… but words of love and appreciation go a long way towards fixing that.

Gift certificates

are not all bad. If she likes a certain spa, and you get her a certificate there… you win. If he likes to hit the range on the way home from work, a gift certificate hidden in a bucket of balls is a sure-fire winner. Just make sure you get it from somewhere you know they already like or have been wanting to try and dress it up by wrapping it or tucking it into a book you think they’ll appreciate.

  1. Check the return policy and don’t be offended if they use it. Some places have GREAT return policies. Others… not so much. If you’re really unsure, go for a place with a policy like Nordstroms, Kohls or REI. No limit returns are a good thing.
  2. Re-gifting. Not the best idea for a relationship gift. Even if you are down to the pennies in your pocket, I would avoid re-gifting at all costs.
  3. p.s. to the guys out there… if you are NOT giving her an engagement ring and you think she might be expecting one… do NOT, I repeat DO NOT give her a jewelry box of any kind. Whatever she sees inside that box simply will not stack up to what she is hoping to get, so just don’t do it!

The best thing to remember… the thought really does count. Unless you re-gift your significant other something previously used by your ex. If you do that… there’s simply no helping how much of an idiot you really are… even if you really put a lot of thought into the re-gifting of that gift.