It should go without saying that the perfect gift isn’t the same for everyone: There are men hoping for cologne and women longing for power tools.
But that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and a contest around truly horrible gifts. Today’s post is about bad gifts for women – then it will be the boys’ turn.
1. Any appliance she didn’t ask for
Unless she specifically asked for a waffle maker or blender, don’t buy her one. Even women who enjoy cooking don’t want to feel it’s expected.
Clothes are a no-no for several reasons. There’s the size issue – if you get her something too big, she’ll probably be offended; if you get her something too small, she might feel bad about herself. There’s also the style issue.
If a wardrobe makeover is what she wants, make a nice card promising to take her on a shopping spree with your cash.
3. A framed picture of yourself
This “gift” is strangely common, based on personal experience and its presence on almost every “worst gifts” list out there. Nothing says you’re self-absorbed like a framed photo of yourself posing like a model. And the picture of yourself when you were 6 years old? That’s not cute either. Better idea? A picture of the two of you doing something memorable.
4. Anything that can’t be easily exchanged
If your significant other absolutely hates the expensive gift you bought her, be sure you can exchange it, for her sake and yours.
5. Diet or fitness products
Unless you’re looking for trouble, don’t buy her anything related to losing weight. The implication is that you’re not satisfied with her the way she is – definitely not your intended message.
6. Gifts for yourself
Buying her the new flat-screen TV you want and calling it a gift because she’ll use it too doesn’t work. Give her something she can appreciate and enjoy.
7. Tickets to sporting events
Your significant other might love baseball or football. But unless she’s a die-hard fan, skip the tickets to sports events. A better option: tickets to the ballet or a Broadway musical. Bonus points if you go with her; choose something you might not normally attend and she’ll appreciate it even more.
8. Tacky novelties
She’s not going to be as amused by that singing coffee cup as you were when you spotted it at the store. Unless there’s an inside joke behind the novelty gift and it’s in addition to a larger gift, this is a bad idea.
If she asked for Elizabeth Arden’s newest fragrance, by all means, buy it. Otherwise, stay away from the perfume counter. She might hate the fragrance you choose, or worse – she might be allergic to it.
Remember the “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry gave Elaine cash for Christmas? Elaine got mad, as will the lady in your life if you give her this thoughtless gift.
11. Cosmetics (including wrinkle cream)
It’s almost unbelievable that men buy women wrinkle cream as a gift. I once heard about a girl who received wrinkle cream from her boyfriend when she was 22! It’s also weird to buy a woman makeup. Just stay away from the cosmetics department.
Flowers are appropriate at certain times, but the holidays call for something more thoughtful and longer-lasting.
13. Last year’s gift
She loved the one-hour massage you bought her last year, but she’s expecting something different this year. Even if you have a hard time remembering the details of last year’s gift, chances are she hasn’t forgotten.
Many women love chocolate, but it’s just not a sufficient gift at the holidays. Use it as a stocking stuffer, and put some more thought into a larger gift she’ll appreciate.
Amanda Geronikos is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities as well as around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.