Great Gift Ideas and What to Never Buy Your Wife

gift box by master images freedigitalphotos.netThere’s no shortage of suggestions out there for items to buy, but still some dear husbands make some huge mistakes in the gift-giving arena. So, as a courtesy, I just wanted to share a few warnings of what NOT to buy your wife for you Christmas, Hanukkah, your anniversary, her birthday, Valentine’s or other holidays you celebrate. (This post is adapted from one I wrote in 2010.)

Particularly if your spouse’s love language is gift giving, the present you choose may be seen as an expression of how you value him or her. In our culture, women tend to value romantic gifts from their husbands. Don’t get her the following:

1.  Anything related to your wife’s weight. One friend bought his wife a digital scale with a fat measurement tool. In his defense, his wife had been talking about getting one. However, she was not impressed with the unromantic gesture. The same goes for workout tapes, weights, and even gym memberships (unless she specifically asks for it) .Women are just too body conscious in this country, and a gift from their husband suggesting they need to get in shape can bring out her insecurities.

2.  Any appliance. If your wife needs a new vacuum, please help her pick one out. But not for her anniversary! Again, this is not a good expression of your love and appreciation. Crock pots, washers/dryers, and anything else that is needed to run your home falls into the same category. I suppose a possible exception would be if she tells you what she really, really wants is a gourmet coffee maker, or something like that. My sister once asked for a kitchen mixer, so there are exceptions.And if she has a hobby, such as wine collecting, you might consider accessories for the hobby. Check out these wine cooler reviews.

3.  An empty box, a piece of coal or other “joke” gifts. Seriously, I’ve heard of men (OK, my husband) doing this. They all have their reasons why it was funny to them, but trust me: Don’t.

4.  Skip it. If your wife says to skip the gifts this year, because you’re saving for a deck or home improvements from Capital Construction Contracting Inc, you can only half believe her. After all home improvements really can benefit the two of you and can make your home more valuable. I’ve heard some wives or fiancées say this but not mean it. (I am a fan of honesty, since men can’t be expected to read minds.) A small, romantic gesture is much preferred over just skipping the event. Just tell her you couldn’t let the day pass without reminding her how much she means to you.

5.  Something you can’t afford. If you’re in debt or have upcoming financial obligations, there’s no reason to spend too much to show your love. Debt causes marital stress, increased arguments, and can lead to breakups.

Keeping the above list of no no’s will keep you out of the dog house most of the time. A few top gift suggestions for any occasion include:

1.  A love letter. Find tips here on writing a love letter. It’s a free gift, and most appreciated.

2. Flowers or treats delivered to her. I recently received chocolate covered strawberries for my birthday, and enjoyed it so much I have delivered them to two others this year.

3.  Jewelry. This can be anything from costume jewelry to fine jewelry, and you can meet any budget. Be sure to check her style and perhaps ask her friends if she would enjoy what you’re considering. Some women don’t enjoy jewelry, so know your wife.

4.  Pampering. You can splurge for spa certificates, or you can make up a coupon book offering your own massages or special services, a day to herself, or other activity she enjoys.

5.  Cards or notes. Leave notes around the house for her to find. One friend was going to be out of town on his first anniversary, so he had friends go to his house each day of the week to hide a love note for his wife to find. The great thing about writing a poem or note is it truly means speaking from your heart, and your spouse will really appreciate this.

6.  Travel or getaways. One of my favorite gift ideas is to secretly plan a get-away (including babysitting if needed). It can be for one night or a week away, depending on availability and budget. Consider it an investment in your relationship. While you’re together try not to let cell phones and other technology get in the way of your sharing time.

7.  Ask, or listen. Your spouse may be giving you hints or telling you what he or she would like.

8.  If she enjoys sexy lingerie or perfume, by all means, indulge. But be sensitive to her preferences.

9. Something to keep her comfortable. Is there an area at home she likes to hang out? Does she have a throw blanket, slippers or a favorite mug to keep her cozy? How about a luxurious robe, bubble bath, and candles for the bath?

Read more ideas to show love in What have you done for your marriage today? Also, 7 free gift ideas.

Have you ever given a gift you regretted, or received a gift you couldn’t believe your spouse gave you? Share your experience, so others can avoid the same mistakes.



Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at and in all e-book formats atwww.LoriDLowe.comGreat for holiday stocking stuffers! Contact me if you would like one mailed in time for Christmas.

Picture by Master isolated images courtesy of

11 responses to “Great Gift Ideas and What to Never Buy Your Wife

  1. Great thoughts – but there are always exceptions. I bought my wife a vacuum one year, and she says it was the best gift I had ever gotten her. But she is a very practical gal, and what I did would have been a very bad plan for 98.2% of husbands!

    When in doubt, stick to the almost always true rules like these!

  2. That’s funny, she must be very practical indeed. But as you say there are always exceptions!

  3. I guess I am an exception. I LOVE practical gifts. Especially ones that I consider an indulgence, like a very expensive mixer. Just don’t give gag gifts-especially empty jewlery boxes. That’s just mean

    • Have to agree with you on that one! (the gag gifts) I think maybe there’s a difference between a household need like a vacuum, and an indulgence like a gourmet coffee maker. Know thy wife, I say.

  4. When we got married, my husband and I agreed that appliances are not gifts, and we have never forgotten that. Appliances are for the household and benefit both parties. The exception, of course, would be if one of us actually asked for an appliance as a gift. I once asked for a chain saw, and got it, tied up with a red ribbon, for Valentine’s Day. ♥

    • So what kind of thoughtful gifts do you give each other?

      • Last year I gave him a pair of customized bobblehead dolls of us. He plays the guitar, so the dolls are of him playing and me singing along. This year for our anniversary I gave him personalized love coupons, covering everything from his favorite meal to, um, well, I’m sure you can guess. One year he had to go to France (poor baby!) for a business conference. He saw a beautiful little painting of roses by a local artist and had it shipped home for me. He likes to give me jewelry that has heart shapes. Sometimes I get lazy and just give him a big box of Godiva chocolates, and that also pleases him very much.

      • Very creative ideas–I’m impressed! I wish I were so good at gift giving. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  5. I remember the year my Dad bought my Mum a dressing gown. It was aweful and something an old lady would wear. I’ve never seen my mum look so traumatized on Christmas day since. Looking back it was funny but at that moment my dad had the look of a very confused pup…. “but you asked for a dressing gown”…”not one your mother would wear I didn’t!”

    Great post Lori. Btw the love letters link goes to your original blog post but I don’t see any info on how to write love letters. Is it a mistake or am I missing something?

    Have a great day

    • I will fix that link, and thanks for the funny story. My mom used to get those robes that zip all the way down. But she actually liked hers!

  6. Pingback: Great Gift Ideas and What to Never Buy Your Wife - Why Men Pull Away

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