Save Him from Gift Giving Hell

I know men who hate Christmas, their anniversary, and her birthday because they feel gift giving is a rigged game they can never win.

Save Him from Gift Giving Hell

Because women are more social than men, they are far better at discerning great and horrible gifts for the folks they know. While some of this can no doubt be learned, the part of the brain that picks up on social cues is larger and more active in women, and there’s nothing he can do about that.

Making gift giving a pass/fail test of his love for you is a good way to frustrate both of you. Give him some non-subtle hints, and learn to appreciate the thought more than the gift.

~ Pail – I’m XY, and I gave my wife a vacuum cleaner one Christmas, but I don’t advise that for most men!

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9 Comments on “Save Him from Gift Giving Hell

  1. I love my husband. However, I don’t think giving me a gift is something that matters to him. (Thankfully it is NOT one of primary love languages so it doesn’t bother me that much).

    Perhaps not waiting until Christmas Eve to shop for a gift for his wife, who is obviously an afterthought, would make me believe I matter to him a little bit.

    Also, I was raised that it is the height of rudeness to ask for gifts. I’d rather him give me something HE has thought about as opposed to forcing me to ask. Asking for gifts feels like I’m begging for the love he didn’t feel led to share on his own. AND, if I have to tell him what I’d like, where’s the fun in that? No surprise, no thoughtfulness on his part. Just “here. Here’s the stuff you asked for.” No thanks. I’m actually fine if he doesn’t think I’m worth the effort. I don’t whine or nag. I say “thank you.”

    And gift giving is not a “rigged game.” It just requires a little thought, and as much as my husband wants me to believe he loves me when he says it, it’s the actions that actually do all the talking.

    Interesting point, he never waits until the last minute to get the materials he needs for the job. Because the job is important. The job matters.

    • Geez, talk about “no pressure” on getting a gift. I almost feel sorry for the guy.

      First, I don’t know what your husband does for his job, but maybe the reason he “he never waits until the last minute to get the materials he needs for the job” is because he know =exactly= what is needed for the job, =when= its needed, and =how= to get it. No guesswork, no wondering, no hoping he gets the right stuff and doesn’t waste money on the wrong stuff. In other words, with the job there is no chance of making a mistake and looking like an idiot, and he feels he is successful. Maybe he hates going to shopping malls, especially this time of the year when its crowded. Or maybe he feels he works better under pressure and waits for the last minute. Or maybe he’s a thrifty guy and wants “the best deal” and waits for all the sales at the last minute (this is me – I once calculated I saved $300 by waiting just 1 week).

      Subtle hints or not, you are not helping him in any way shape or form.

      Look, I don’t mean to be mean here, but unless your guy is the “gift giving god” (they are rare) like another poster apparently had for an ex, give him a break. Most men are not “shoppers” like women. We just aren’t. Its not in our makeup. Particularly when its buying gifts for the women in our lives. For other guys? Brothers, Dads, bosses, friends? Not as hard. But women? Its just hard walking into the womens section!

      I’m one of those guys. I don’t know a sock from a sash. I don’t know the difference between a boyshort and a tanga, whatever those are, and when I look for them, they all look different anyways. But I’m also one of those guys who hates to be given a gift list of A, B, and C and just buying those. I like at least “thinking” I’m in charge. So here is the system my wife and I have worked out over the years – I get 1 of 2 options for gifts for her:

      Option 1: I get a list with dozens – yes dozens – of ideas. Specific ideas. To the nitpicky dirty details. She once gave me a list with 150 ideas on it. So I know =exactly= what possibilities to get. But, she knows she will only get a few things, so it is still a surprise as to which ones I picked. So she gets something she knows she likes, and I get to excercise my own judgement as to what I want to get her. Do I like idea A? or B? Oh, I think she could really use C. And so forth. Sometimes the list inspires me as well. She asked for a very specific bottle of perfume, and it made me remember that years ago she had said she liked a different brand, but it was way way too expensive – so I got her that instead.

      Option 2: I get a list with only a few ideas. But these are very, very, very generic. A blouse. A dress. Pair of dress shoes. Jewelery. But then I get to pick the specific kind of item. What kind of blouse – dressy? silky? Flannel? What color? A Pattern? What kind of shoes – heels? Boots? flats? Wedges? Straps? What color? What kind of Jewelry – ring? Necklace? Earrings? what kind of stones? So she still gets something she wants, but I get to excercise some of my own judgement on what I like, what I think she would like.

      Btw, she also gives me exact sizes. “But you should know!” I hear some of you cry. Oh really? 1) Even I know that different manufacturers make different sizes. I wear a size 11 Nike, but the boots I love I barely squeeze into their size 12. 2) In one year my wife changed bra sizes 3 times, and pants size twice (if not more – it was the year after a pregnancy).

      Wouldn’t you rather just get the size you need? Or do you want to make your hubbie feel like an idiot – get too big a size: “How could you think I’m that fat!!” Get a size too small: “Are you trying to tell me to lose weight?!”

      (I have heard these both)

      so, with these 2 options, I get some guidance that I need, but still have the freedom to put some input into it, and use my brain to pick something I would want to get her. She gets an item she likes, but still feels like I did have to put some thought into it.

      Is it perfect? No, buts its better than nothing.

  2. Hey B, while getting gifts from your husband is not your primary love language, getting him to see your emotional needs and become proactive is.

    Often our male coaching clients do not realize the value wives place on different aspects of life. As you mentioned he will get needed materials to complete a job. Perhaps he needs someone to help him understand being the best husband possible, equals meeting your needs, “doing a better job” as a husband.

    Very often men have a dissimilar view of their relational gestures then you do. When kindly shown what you need, he may respond in ways you never imagined!

    Paul & Lori can help you “tune into his heart” if you reach out to them through PM or email.

    All the best to you two!
    Jerry Stumpf recently posted…You won’t believe this activity to boost your holiday enjoyment – RAOK –My Profile

  3. Serious question, guys. What constitutes as a non subtle hint? Because my husband is extremely intelligent and discerning and I give him the most obvious hints ever and he misses 95% of them. (I honestly think it’s a lack of interest/paying attention).

    And please don’t say “asking for what you want” because if you have to flat out ask for a gift, then I feel he didn’t really want to give it, he’s just fulfilling some “obligation” he feels. If he wanted me to have something nice, he’d think of it without me having to tell him.

    I’d honestly love to hear thoughts from men on this, because I was raised not to beg for gifts, and to appreciate everything you’re given, whether you like it or not.

    Which, I’d like to point out – how is it that he’s so discerning that he can tell when I don’t like a gift – even if I smile and say “thank you so much” – and yet he can’t get the hints I drop ahead of time? Doesn’t line up.

    • Not sure there is something as an ‘obvious hint’! LOL Kind of sounds like an oxymoron to me.

      Just speak up and say what you want. Some guys, and women too, just aren’t big gift givers I think and appreciate a little help instead of having to guess. And no, just because you have to be direct about what you want or would like does not equate to him not really wanting to give you something.

      My ex was the greatest gift giver I’ve ever known, other than my mother. Ha! I didn’t have to tell him at all what I wanted or needed for Christmas or birthdays. He lavished me with gifts, way too many gifts, and honestly, they were almost always perfect. Exactly what I wanted or needed, right size, color etc.

      When I remarried five years ago guess what? I had the same expectations of this wonderful, loving man whom God brought into my life. But guess what? He is not a gift giving kind of guy and I found that out on our very first Christmas together. I was so disappointed I wanted to cry. Gifts are not my love language, but I still love getting gifts, especially something that someone gets me without my saying what I want and just because they saw it and know me so well. But alas, my husband is not that kind of guy.

      So our second Christmas together I told him exactly what I wanted and although I wasn’t surprised with my gift, I was happy to have received something that I truly wanted. Was it real exciting? No! I take a lot of time shopping for each person in the family and finding the ‘perfect’ gift, and it can be disappointing and a let down to have to tell everyone what I want when I feel like, “can’t you just go take some time shopping and get something that looks like me??”
      But I’ve decided since that first Christmas to stop putting so much pressure on my husband to shop the way I do and give him ideas outright instead of hinting. I send him several ideas and he can pick out of those what he’d like to get me, so I’m still somewhat surprised. And last year, he actually threw in a couple small gifts that just he picked out because he knew I’d like them…and I did!

      Stop putting so much pressure on your husband by just hinting. His love for you is not wrapped up in how well he can pick out a gift for you.

      And in all honesty, I can feel your sadness and pain through everything you write here and on other blogs, so I’m sure it’s no brainer for your husband to pick up your disappointment over a gift no matter how much you say ‘thank you’.
      Amy recently posted…A season of GraceMy Profile

    • @B “Because my husband is extremely intelligent and discerning and I give him the most obvious hints ever and he misses 95% of them.”

      I suspect you give him hints that are obvious to women. If he was a woman, he’d get them.

      When a man says “I really like that (very expensive) truck” or “I’d like to have one of those (high priced rifles)” he’s not hinting for his wife to buy him one. So when his wife says “I like” or “I wish I had” he hears it the same way.

      One way to do it is to say “You could get me one of those for (gift giving day).” This should bypass his normal response and get it in his head.

      Or do what my wife once did at Costco in December. She went up to a display of rice cookers and hugged one. Yes, she got one for Christmas.

    • A non-subtle hint would be an Amazon wish list. Or a pinterest board titled something like “gift ideas for B”.

      I’m a woman and I have no patience for stupid gift giving guessing games. Use your words. Whoever came up with the idea that loving someone should mean you can read their minds and magically know what they want as a gift should be taken out and shot. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

      Just make a list. Pretend you’re writing to Santa or something. It’s not “cheating” when the kids do it. Why should that change for adults?

  4. I have to laugh. There are always exceptions to the rule. When I say “I really like, or I’d like to have…” its not necessarily that I really want one, but when my husband says it, he does really want it.
    My guy has never gotten a single hint that I’ve given. Even when I felt they were really obvious. And he is very smart and capable. I just learned to say outright what I needed. Very rarely do I every actually want anything.
    @B – I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. And its only been the last 3 Christmas’ that he has started buying me anything, on his own. The previous ones, I got nothing. No lie. I get where you are coming from, but I think its an expectation you have to give up, and not just because then he will do something. It took almost 6 years after giving up expecting anything, before I got anything. And then it was like he just remembered I was part of his life and although I don’t get much, I occasionally get flowers or a small gift for my birthday. I also am not sure if this change started when the boys started getting old enough to want to buy me things for Christmas/Birthday etc., and then he got in the spirit. I don’t try to unpack it, instead I just am grateful for whatever I get, and never expect it.

  5. I’ve found that her using Amazon or QVC wish lists are a big help. She puts things on her wish list, I check in every now and then, and bingo! A gift she really wants, but used initiative and made choices. I’ve never been real good at finding “the perfect gift” for her, or for anyone. Just not a talent of mine. But every now and then I hit pay dirt.

    Part of it is that I’m not a man who really wants gifts. I’d rather have time alone with my wife, maybe having sex, maybe just going for a walk. I like the gifts she gets for me, but I prefer the gift of herself.

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