What Women Really Want: The Ultimate Gift Giving Guide for Men
Lingerie - Intimate wear is obviously one of the most romantic gifts you can give. And it's kind of like a nice pair of shoes or a cute clutch for the glamour girl; she can never really have too many. If you aren't sure on her size, a slip without an underwire (like the one pictured above) is a safer option. Though if you're still a bit lost on which size to get, a Victoria's Secret gift card is also a safe bet. I know gift cards are impersonal and usually a no-no when it comes to gift giving, but isn't the gift of shopping the best gift of all? To make it more than just a gift card, pair it with some perfume. A few other things to keep in mind if you plan to give lingerie as a gift - don't give anything too trashy, even if it's something she would wear: You want her to feel like it's a gift for her and not just something you want to see her in. Keep her overall style in mind. For example, if she's a sporty kind of woman, chances are she doesn't wear lace and leather. If she does however love fashion, the trendiest and most beautiful bra for 2014-2015 is a lace bustier long-line bra. Lastly, this should probably go without saying, but lingerie is a gift that is best for someone you are intimate with in some way. And don't forget to remind her how much you can't wait to see her in it. I can't speak for the entire female race, but I think for the majority of us, we want to feel beautiful and special. And nothing gets us in the mood more than feeling desired.
The Gift of Adventure: Even the most independent woman can get easily intimidated, especially when it comes to trying new things. Sometimes it's nice when a man pushes us to the edge of our comfort zones to do something we may not do on our own, like rappelling or zip lining. Conquering something physical like that can make a woman feel strong and sexy, and the best gift is all about how it makes her feel. The time I went to a nerdy renaissance fair and threw battle axes, ate a big turkey leg, and used a bow and arrow...best day ever!
Comfy Lounge Wear - Now I know this is by no means a romantic gift, but bare with me for a second. If you're in a long-term relationship or married and you've already gotten her a few other gifts for the holidays and still want to get her an extra something, some pj's or comfy lounge wear is perfect. It's also a nice option for the sporty girl who isn't really into jewelry or fashion. I think I can speak for just about every woman when I say we LOVE our comfy yoga pants!
A Cleaning Service - Okay, so this one isn't exactly sexy either, but trust me, if you're married with children, this is what your wife wants. It's of course something you should give in addition to something else, so you can include a little romantic gift as well, like flowers or a sweet treat. Even if you can't afford to hire a service on a regular basis, a lot of cleaning companies will come in an do a one-time deep cleaning. This would be a wonderful gift for a mom before the busy holiday season, especially if you plan to have family visit.
A Fancy Night Out (or a romantic weekend getaway) - Is it just me, or is it every young woman's fantasy to receive a big box tied with a big red bow and open it to find a beautiful new dress inside along with an invitation for a romantic night out? For something special like an anniversary or proposal, if you really want to pull out all the stops, give her the full Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman moment (minus the money on the dresser and the no mouth kissing rule) and gift a new dress to go with the evening. For just the event, get tickets to the ballet or a symphony show and make reservations for a nice dinner. Even for a girl like me who would rather eat at a cool bar or cozy up on the couch with a good movie, the thing about taking a woman somewhere nice is it gives her an occasion to get out of those comfy yoga pants and into something that will make her feel absolutely gorgeous. Pictured Above: ASOS RED CARPET Premium Embellished Midi Dress With Plunge Front
Invest in her Hobbies: This is a good gift for a wife. It's a great way to show that you support her, that you still care about her interests, and that you value her free time as much as your own. Whether she's mentioned how she wishes she could play the piano or take riding lessons, set her up with some classes or lessons. If she has a hobby she really loves, for example if she is into photography, get her a new DSLR camera.
Something Sentimental - If you live far away from a girlfriend, give something that unlike flowers or chocolate, will last and will make her feel more connected to you. How sweet is this long-distance heart map? A nice sentimental gift if you aren't long distance would be something that reminds her of when you met, had your first date, or some other special moment in your relationship.
A Spa Gift Card - This is one of the best gifts you could get for a woman if you're married with children. Moms are exhausted and tense on a daily basis. Seriously, if you're looking to spice things up, do not go out and buy a whip and hand cuffs. All you need to do is send her off to the spa with a gift card. Just be sure to tidy up the house before she gets back! Nothing is less relaxing than coming home to another mess. If you want to pair it something more than just a gift card, give a small bath and body gift set or a new spa robe and slippers with it.
Jewelry - I think men might have a tendency to avoid giving jewelry because they feel pressured to give diamonds or real gold, but you really don't have to spend a lot on jewelry. For the woman who loves to wear jewelry, most likely she has a mix of hi and low pieces just like with her wardrobe. I'm absolutely obsessed with jewelry and have everything in my collection from $5 costume jewelry to mid-range fashion jewelry and a few high end pieces of fine jewelry. Trust me, if you think your girlfriend or wife would like jewelry as a gift, it's totally okay to give her something that isn't full of diamonds. Though if it's a romantic gift, I would avoid costume jewelry. Pick something that is technically "fashion jewelry", like something from Anthropologie or Bauble Bar. For the fashion girl, a statement necklace or statement earrings are perfect. Something in a solid metallic tone or a clear crystal will match a lot of different dressy outfits. On the other hand, if you aren't sure she'd like something too flashy, you can't go wrong with a simple pair of crystal studs. Now I should warn you, if you're giving jewelry to someone you've been dating for a few years, do not give it in a pretty little ring box. Nothing says I love you quite like "Oh, I though you were proposing. My mistake. Thanks for the earrings a$$hole." Don't worry, a flat cardboard jewelry box with ribbon will avoid any confusion!
Cliches for a Reason - I've had several men admit to not getting me something because they new I was expecting it, and it wouldn't have been a surprise. Well, I was expecting it, because guess what? I wanted it! While I do love a good surprise (aside from the one my German Shepherd left on my kitchen floor this morning), the most cliche gifts like flowers, chocolate, perfume, and candles are cliches for a reason. Women like them! Pictured Above: bouqs.com
Related: The Top 50 Most Beautiful Gift-Worthy Perfumes
Any Fashion Accessory (with a Label) - This may sound materialistic, but really it's only partly so. My best friend always receives the nicest gifts from her husband - designer goodies like Tory Burch flats and Kate Spade earrings. They're the best gifts because for one, she loves anything girly and fashionable. But secondly, he knows those are some of her most favorite brands. It's how you take a seemingly generic gift to the next level. And to be honest, on an instinctual mating-game sort of basis, it establishes status. It makes a woman feel like she is with a real man, because he can afford the labels and thus could afford to take care of her and spoil her. Before you get all offended and feel like women are only after men with money, remember how much you love long hair and big boobs. Giving a designer handbag as a gift is the modern-day human equivalent to building the biggest nest or having the loudest howl. I do feel completely ridiculous giving this advice, but seriously, if you're in a long-term relationship and really want to seal the deal, start spoiling her with Kate Spade earrings and Michael Kors handbags (if she is into that sort of thing anyway). If you're not sure which brand she likes, you can bet that the girly girl likes Kate Spade, the classic American girl likes Michael Kors and Calvin Klein, the edgy girl like Betsey Johnson and Steve Madden, and the sexy woman of course likes Victoria's Secret and Guess. Save yourself some money - get it at Ross, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. You can easily score a designer handbag for $20 - $40 at Ross! The best thing about this gift is if you go with something like a handbag, you don't have to worry about the size.
Gourmet Goodies - Whether you're really uncomfortable picking out fashion, if you're on a budget, or if you're simply not sure where your relationship stands but want to get something romantic; you really can't go wrong with a sweet treat. Unless you're sure she'd without a doubt prefer chocolate, switch things up and get her a beautiful box of French macarons.
Pictured Above: LeilaLove Macarons 12 Macarons 7 flavors
More Tips for Gift Giving to the Woman in Your Life
It really is the thought that counts (mostly). The most romantic gift I've ever received from a man was a pair of snowflake mugs from Barnes and Noble. Are mugs actually romantic? Not at all. But to me they were, because he had remembered that a few weeks before, I had pointed them out and mentioned that I wanted them.
There are plenty of other things women like to receive as gifts like a pretty cake stand or a nice set of linen cocktail napkins, but these are things she's likely to get from a friend and would much rather receive from a friend than her boyfriend. It is more acceptable to get those kind of gifts if you're married, especially for Christmas, just be sure to include something romantic in the mix.
Appeal to the senses - sight, touch, smell, and taste. You just can't go wrong with something beautiful, something yummy, or something that feels soft and silky.
Before you buy something for the woman in your life, ask yourself, does it make her feel pretty? Does it make her feel special? Does it make her feel like you really get her or remember what her favorite things are? Does it let her know that you're thinking about her? You should be able to answer yes to at least a few of those questions.
Is it something you would give to your mother? Aside from the cleaning service idea, the answer should definitely be no. I know a candle, chocolates, or flowers are also gifts you could very well give to your mother. But pick ones that are so beautiful and sexy that you wouldn't even consider giving them to your mom, and you know you've picked out something romantic enough. Would you give this candle to your mother? No.
Make it personal. Getting her pj's? Get them them monogrammed. Giving flowers? Try to find out which ones are her favorite.
When in doubt, just get something shiny, like a mirrored jewelry box. The way the dog is in the movie "Up" is to squirrels, that is how nearly all women are towards anything shiny or sparkly. I am so not kidding.
If you don't know how to wrap, take it to someone who can. I cannot stress enough that we like things pretty. This includes how the gift is presented.
Above all, keep the recipient in mind. My advice about an adventurous gift would not work out so well for someone who can't stand nature. The designer purse is a total waste on someone who doesn't really care about brand names. And chocolates for someone who is lactose intolerant...well, that is the gift that keeps on giving and not in a good way if you know what I mean.
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