L et’s face it guys, gift giving is just another thing on our to-do list that keeps getting trumped by ESPN and “projects” in the garage. We’re problem solvers not planners. The ladies take care of most of the gift giving so we have no worries, right?
When we do have to buy a gift, we usually leave it until the last minute. Then we are lucky to make a quick trip to Target to pick up the vacuum cleaner she’s been looking at or the latest book on the best seller list. Maybe she is lucky enough to get flowers and a card to go along with it, but only if there is a Ralph’s nearby. We toss it all in a gift bag and pass it off as putting a lot of forethought and effort into the gift. I don’t know about you, but in my house that would get me the look of shame and the ho-hum, “ This is nice. “
Not what we should be shooting for really. We want to take gift giving to the next level for us guys. Why? I’ll save that until the end. For now read on because I am about to give you some “gift giving mojo” .
Most of what I learned, I learned from my wife.
Jennifer gets major props for her gift giving. She always gets comments like, “Wow, this will fit right in with my collection!” or “How did you know I wanted this?” Why? She is a great listener and observer. She is good at identifying hobbies, wants and needs. Here are a few of the skills I have learned from her that have built up my gift giving mojo.
Observation is key. What are their hobbies? What colors, patterns or designs do they like? What type of music do they listen to or movies do they watch? All of these types of questions can help you in a pinch when you are trying to find that perfect gift. How do you gather this information? Listen and ask questions. These are not skills that guys usually have the knack for. Show some interest in her hobbies, other than trying to figure out how much time her scrapbooking is going to get her out of the house.
Don’t wait to buy the perfect gift. Jennifer is always on the look out for gifts for friends and family. Our first year together, we had bought half of our gifts for Christmas before October of that year. She is always thinking ahead and looking. We actually have had a lot of success getting gifts for people as we travel. A great bottle of wine for friends while we are in Napa or a unique bowl for Jen’s mom while we are in San Diego.
Don’t buy gift cards by themselves. That is lazy and most people interpret that as not putting any thought into the gift. If you are going to give a gift card, give it as part of a themed gift. You know a spa gift certificate in a basket with her favorite scents from Bath and Body Works.
The rest of what I learned. . .
Along the way, I have picked up a few tricks and tools of my own. These have allowed me to occasionally get a nod of recognition from my wife and her friends, and some words of disapproval and jibes from fellow husbands. But don’t be haters, you can pick up some extra gift giving mojo by. . .
Look through magazines and catalogs after your wife does. She’ll usually mark pages or items that she likes. If you have a poor memory or just don’t want to screw it up, tear out the pages and put them in a notebook or hide the catalog to make the purchase later.
Listen for the magic words, “Honey, I really like this!” or something similar. Those words or other similar phrases should perk up your ears. These are like free mojo waiting to be earned. Take a moment away from whatever you are doing to see what she is looking at. If you have a cell phone with a camera take a picture. Just tell her that you want her to remember what it looks like and you are doing this for her or that you are going to see if you can find it online cheaper.
If all else fails, ask her for a list. There are many tools out there for you to use. Almost every jewelry site out there has an online wishlist that she can send to you as do other retail sites like Amazon and Target.There are other generic wish list sites out there. My favorite is Wishlistr. This site allows you to create your own wishlist, include descriptions and sizes as well as links on where to find it. Once you have your wish list going, you can email it to family and friends, or in this case have your family and friends email them to you. From there you can even create an RSS feed so that you can see updates to lists as they are made. This will surely add to your gift giving mojo.
I’ll bet you’re still wondering what’s the benefit of all this gift giving mojo?
Here it is. Besides the love, admiration and appreciation of your peeps. You’ll get better gifts yourself. People will remember you more often and you find that they often start taking the challenge to find better gifts also. So put a few of these tips in to place and watch the gift giving mojo flow!
Here's a nifty site for gift ideas.... http://www.givethebestgifts.com. It lists the top gifts by category and is updated hourly. If these are the products most in demand there's a good chance they're the same ones my friends and family want.