Gift Choosing 101: Tips for Men

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Are you one of the many men who struggle to get in touch with the empathy, sensitivity and intuition that it takes to choose a great gift for a woman?

Perhaps the most daunting challenge that can face a man during the holiday season is figuring out how to get that perfect something for the woman he loves. Procuring just any little trinket is the surest way to broadcast that you neither gave thoughtful consideration nor devoted much time to the task of finding the right thing. And making a last minute trip to the lingerie shop is almost certain to convey the message that neither she nor her pleasure are the foremost things on your mind. Fortunately, there have been many surveys conducted over the last few years on the things women really appreciate, that provide some important clues about how to go about finding the ‘right’ holiday gift.

Women — like any of us — want to know that you not only take notice of them but also of the things they like. And they’re likely to have a favorite store or two at which they shop regularly. They might even have a particular salesperson they regularly deal with or with whom they’ve established a friendly relationship. And some stores keep records of past purchases by their regular customers, especially at cosmetics counters. So, if you’re astute enough to notice that she might be running low on a particular beauty care product, it’s a sure bet that someone at the store where she purchases her personal care items can help you put together just the right gift package.

Women tend to share their likes and dislikes as well as their wants and needs with their circle of intimate friends. So, talking to their close relatives or gal-pals can be a great way to find out what they’ve been wishing someone would think about getting them. They’re even likely to have expressed directly what they’ve been secretly hoping the man in their life would get them. Even if that’s not the case, it’s sometimes helpful to run some suggestions by the friends to get their impressions. And no need to worry about ruining any surprises. The biggest surprise will likely be that you were thoughtful enough to do all the research it sometimes takes to find just the thing they were wanting all along.

More than anything, women want to know that you’ve been paying enough attention to them and to their concerns that you have some good intuition about what they might really appreciate. And most of the time, they can’t help but drop some subtle hints from time to time just to help you out. And there’s no better way to demonstrate that you’ve been paying attention to those hints than being thoughtful enough to follow up on them. That’s why, when it comes down to it, it’s not even the gift itself that matters as much as providing the woman you love with tangible proof that you’ve really been thinking about her and her needs. According to the surveys, it’s not about getting the latest, the “coolest,” the most expensive, or the most popular item. It’s about what they’ve always tried to tell us it’s about: the sentiment. It’s also about the imagination. What you put into getting the gift says more about you and your care for her than the gift itself. Our best gifts will always reflect our careful thought and consideration. And while it might seem trite to repeat the old adage that it’s not the gift but the thought that counts, when it comes to making the woman in your life happy this holiday season, all the research attests to the fact that even more than the thought, it’s the thoughtfulness that really seems to matter.

Happy holidays!

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Pat Orner Oliver on .

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