A Gentleman’s Handy Guide to Buying Gifts for Women

I usually like to come back after a long blog hiatus with a really thoughtful post that makes you subscribers remember why you like getting emails from me.

This might not be such a post.

Recently Stephen mentioned in passing that he thinks I’m hard to buy gifts for.  I found this surprising, because I never have any trouble buying gifts for myself!  He actually does a pretty good job coming up with gift ideas on his own, but I wanted to help him feel confident and inspired when the next special occasion comes around.

It’s such a joy to give a gift you know a person is going to love.  And it’s so frustrating to have an occasion coming up, and to have no idea what to buy, or to spend money on a gesture that you’re pretty sure is going to end up in the garage sale box.    I would love a suggestion list from some of my dearest ones, and so I thought I’d start a trend.

I decided to write this list in a public forum as a public service for any other husbands (boyfriends, sons, brothers) who might need some creative inspiration in the gift-giving department.  Ladies, feel free to copy and paste, tailor this post to your own preferences, and pass it off as your own.

And now, without further ado:


1.  Magazines.  If it’s something that you know she’ll love reading often, a subscription a great gift that keeps on giving.  But a single issue of an indulgent celebrity or fashion magazine is a fun treat. ($)

2.  Gift certificate for a pedicure.  Ask a sister or girlfriend for a recommendation on where to go, specifically.  This is a lovely indulgence that almost every woman enjoys, but many hesitate to pay money for very often.  If you have a little extra to spend, make it a mani-pedi, and it goes without saying that you’re volunteering to keep the kids so she can go alone!  (Note: this gift also pairs nicely with a magazine, so she can read it while her paint dries!) ($$)

3.  Gift certificate for a nice haircut.  Also a special treat that many ladies on a tight budget don’t enjoy very often. ($$)

4.  New pajamas.  I’m not talking about some little lacy number with strings attached (figuratively).  Just something really soft and cute.  And then let her sleep late in them! ($-$$)

5.  One-time housecleaning service.  If you have regular cleaning help, this would not be very special.  But for a girl who cleans her own ceiling fans and baseboards (or doesn’t), this would be awesome! ($$$$)

6.  Starbucks card.  This might feel impersonal, but I always love to get them.  Of course, it’s extra sweet when a gift like this implies permission to go spend it on a few hours alone or with some girlfriends. ($-$$)

7.  Dinner at home.  Here’s the way to make this a total indulgence: plan the menu. Shop for the groceries.  Prepare the meal and  clean up afterward, all the while insisting that your lady love sits on the couch with her favorite book or show. ($$)

8.  Kid Crafts.  There’s no woman who won’t melt at the sight of gifts made with love by her family.  Handprints are always sweet.  Or figure out how to order  prints online and do something sweet with a picture frame or photo album.  (Hint: wide mats on photo frames are a great place for kids to draw or for older admirers to write appreciative notes).  Also websites like Shutterfly or PersonalizationMall offer a hundred cute things you can print pictures onto, from keychains to coffee mugs.  It’s hard to go wrong with anything there. ($-$$)

9.  Speaking of love notes, those are always good.  No eloquence required; a bulleted list of admired qualities is great!  For an extra special touch, send it in the mail so she finds it unexpectedly among the bills and coupons. ($)

10.  Shop her wishlist.  Chances are, she has one on Amazon or Etsy.  Secretly buy something from her wishlist and let it be a surprise when the mailman drops it off!  Or intercept the package at the door and wrap it traditionally.  Either way is a total win. ($-$$$)

11.  Party, party.  Celebrate extra-special events by inviting her favorite friends to  share it with you.  Meet at a restaurant and go Dutch treat, or plan a bash at your own place.  ($-$$$$)

12.  Cash, with strings attached.  It’s not impersonal if you insist that she go spend it on new clothes or shoes.  (She always needs something.)  You can even volunteer to drive her to the big city and hold her purse while she shops! ($-$$$)

Price Guide:

$- Under 10
$$- 10-50
$$$- 50-75
$$$$- 75-100


6 responses to “A Gentleman’s Handy Guide to Buying Gifts for Women

  1. leslie.caroline

    love this. these are all fabulous. I would love any of these gifts!
    Reg and I were just talking yesterday about how easy I am to buy for…(aka I was telling HIM how easy I was to buy for 🙂 )

    Movies or iTunes giftcards are also fun–these aren’t something you would normally buy for yourself, but they are always fun to have!

  2. Awesome. I totally agree.

  3. I thought of two more:

    13. Flowers. Not the expensive kind from the florist, except in extraordinary circumstances (important occasions, when you’re out of town and can’t hand-pick some, for example). But a cheap bouquet of cut flowers from HEB. Or something small and pretty in a pot. Or something small and pretty that you put in a pot. Lots of ways to win with this classic. ($)

    14. Food indulgences. Which treats are worth the calories is going to be very specific to the recipient. For me, this includes but is not limited to: Reese’s Blizzards, Hot Tamales, Kit Kats, fancy cakes or cupcakes, almost all flavors of those Pepperidge Farm soft cookies.

  4. Yes! Again, you get me! Phenomenal idea & list!

  5. I love all of these! I would add concert tickets for a special date night (specifically someone SHE likes) or girl’s night out (although this may not always fall under your category of under $100).
    Glad to see you back on the web! I was about to send the troops to check up on you. And by “troops” I mean children selling Dr. Pepper and chocolate to revive you.

  6. I, too, have been waiting patiently for a post:)
    Just today I was at Marshall’s looking at a purse and thinking….. I wish Cliff would buy me this without me telling him….. 🙂 Then I made up my mind to stop dreaming and kept looking. Nice list!

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