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Gifts Not to Give Women

Introduction: Avoid Insulting and/or Impractical Gifts for Women

When gifting a woman, you'll want to get them something they'll love -- something that shows them how much they mean to you. Gift shopping shouldn't be treated like a chore to check off your to-do list. With just a bit of planning and consideration, you can impress the special woman in your life with a meaningful, memorable gift.

Why is it that so many people end up buying insulting gifts or impractical gifts for women, then? Is it because they are clueless? Because the best gifts are too expensive? Or, maybe it's because they just can't think of anything else to buy?

Sometimes, all of the above.

While each woman's individual tastes differ, there is a fairly short list of gifts not to give women (unless she specifically asks for one of these items).

Avoid these present buying mistakes, and you are half-way there:

  • Kitchen appliances
  • Cleaning products and/or supplies
  • Lotions, bath oils, and candles
  • Cheap perfume
  • Fake jewelry or knock-off designer handbags
  • Weight loss programs and gym memberships
  • Gift cards

Read on to learn more about each.


What Not to Give Women: Small Kitchen Appliances

Like it or not, a blender or a mixer often carries the implication that you'd like your gift recipient to spend more time in the kitchen (usually preparing meals for you). Even if it is the hottest, most amazing new invention on the planet, a woman is likely not going to appreciate it as a gift.

The same goes for knives. It's dangerous to give an irritated woman knives, when she may have been expecting a smaller box.

Gifts like these send an unintended message that simply isn't heartwarming. Remember the scene in Father of the Bride when Annie's fiancé gave her a blender? She nearly called off the entire wedding!


What Not to Give Women: Cleaning Products or Supplies

Believe it or not, my father once gave my mother a vacuum for Christmas. What may be even more surprising is that they're still married. But she never lets him forget that big gift mistake.

Just as is the case with kitchen appliances, anything that purportedly makes cleaning the house or doing laundry easier is not a proper item for a gift. It's the kind of thing that you bring home from the hardware store on a random day just because, as opposed to on a birthday, Christmas, or anniversary. Even then, though -- tread carefully.

I suggest the following script (spoken brightly and with excitement): "I know how much you hate vacuuming/dusting/washing the windows. I thought I could use this new [fill in the blank] to help more often."

Then, you must actually proceed to do so. Trust me, it's one of the easiest ways to turn women on.

The 10 Worst Presents to Buy a Woman


What Not to Give Women: Lotions, Bath Oils, and Candles

Lotions, bath oils, and candles are the classic cop-out gift. Most of them are cheap and heavy with fragrance. To me, they say, "I couldn't think of anything else to buy you."

If a woman really wants these items, she will purchase them for herself. Chances are, she already has a shelf full of lotions, etc. received as gifts from her girlfriends. The other pitfall with buying candles, bath oils, and the like, is that the fragrance will likely not be one that she enjoys. For example, my mother-in-law is not a fan of lavender, while I myself really enjoy it (this isn't a hint as a gift for me, by the way . . .)

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Bottom line: Pass on the lotions, bath oils, and candles. Don't give her another item that she'll eventually re-gift.

More Bad Gift Ideas (for Women and Men)

What Not to Give Women: Cheap Perfume

If you're purchasing a fragrance for a woman in a drug store or discount retailer, please don't bother. Cheap perfume is even worse than lotions and bath oils. There is really no use for it, and you can't even properly re-gift cheap perfume (unless you want to come off appearing tacky or cheap).

To play it safe, you don't want to buy perfume online either. Unless, however, you're picking up a new bottle of a fragrance she already has and that you know she enjoys.

Keep in mind that fragrances worth buying as gifts usually cost at least $50 for a few ounces. To avoid getting an unwanted gift for the special woman in your life, take her shopping and test out a few fragrances in the perfume department together. Then, when she opens her gift, she'll be pleasantly surprised that you remembered the one(s) she liked best!

Women Know how to Spot Fake Diamonds

What Not to Give Women: Fake Jewelry or Knock-Off Designer Handbags

Fake jewelry is another gift not to give women. Do not, under any circumstances, try to pass off cubic zirconia as diamonds or silver-plated jewelry as sterling silver. Like the old adage: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn't real.

If the special woman in your life wants fine jewelry, then she must also know that she's worth it for you to make the appropriate investment. Trying to fool her is not only insulting, but the truth will almost certainly come out eventually. Fake, cheap jewelry may turn her ears or fingers green. Cubic zirconia will lose its sparkle and luster over time and end up looking like small chunks of glass.

Additionally, trying to pass off designer-inspired handbags as the real deal is just as insulting. If you aren't going to purchase the actual Coach or Burberry bag she wants, don't waste your money or time on a knock-off. Women know what to look for and will inevitably spot a fake. Even worse, what if her friends tell her it's fake before she discovers it for herself?


What Not to Give Women: Weight Loss Programs or Gym Memberships

Like it or not, one of the worst gifts to give women is membership in a gym or weight loss program. This is the opposite of the message she wants to hear: that she is beautiful no matter her size or shape.

She may drop hints all the time that she wants to lose weight or tone up. But, like many of the gifts not to give women in this Hub, this is something she will have to invest in herself, on her own time, when she is ready. The same thing goes for home exercise equipment. Unless she has specifically asked for weights or a treadmill, don't risk insulting her with these gifts.

What's slightly less insulting, though, is a joint membership to a gym (but never a weight loss program) with the commitment from you and a comment that you yourself want to get in shape, and that you'd hoped she could come along to inspire you. Just make sure that this statement is: (1) true, and (2) believable!

What Not to Give Women: Gift Cards

My mom always taught us that its rude to tell someone what you spent on their gift. We always carefully remove price tags and avoid any references to an expensive shopping trip or the great bargain we were able to score.

That was nearly 30 years ago, though. Today, gift cards are prevalent and can be purchased for just about any service, item, or experience. However, a commercial gift card specifically shows exactly how much money you spent on the recipient. The potential for insulting a woman is high. Plus, it also sends the message that you simply could not come up with anything to purchase which shows a lack of interest or laziness on your part.

If you want to give a gift that cannot be wrapped or must be purchased in the future though, why not create your own gift certificate? One without any reference to price, etc. For example, a night at her favorite restaurant on New Year's Eve. Or, a trip to the wine country together.

Make sure that the gift is about her tastes and not yours, however. A certificate to the Monster Truck Rally, or chainsaw carving convention likely would be additional gifts not to give women.

© 2011 Stephanie Marshall


poetryman6969 on July 08, 2015:

All married men know never give your wife anything sharp or pointy. Or if you do, prepare to run. I will get her exercise tapes and body wash instead. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Voted up.

On second thought I will get her rainbows and unicorns.

Candy counts as sweet sticky rainbows and I saw a can of unicorn meat on Amazon.

Clay on December 23, 2014:

You should write a disclaimer that all this is subjective, in some cases gifts like that would be great.

For example if a women was really into cooking, like a serious hobby or maybes shes a chef. A nice set of knives or some fancy appliance would be awesome. On the otherhand if the women rarely cooks and you get her cooking stuff, yeah that could be taken as a hint to start cooking.

Just think about this the other way around. If your boyfriend was dropping hints that he wanted to bulk up and get some muscles and you got him a gym membership or some protien powder or something... could you imagine him screaming and crying cause he thinks you don't care or want him to get muscular? Of course not he would probable y be ecstatic and grateful for your support. Have any of you ladies ever given men power tools for christmas? I', guessing so since its advertised as a gift for dad so often. Its nice because a good powerdrill can make your life easier, as can a nice vacuum. Now I agree a vacuum is a terrible gift for a women but why is it alright the other way around? Why don't you ever hear men moaning about the gifts their women got them and how they were "bad" or "wrong".

I think many of ladies are in fact ungrateful/entitled/spoiled. It gets really old getting women the only acceptable gift every. single. time, jewelry. seriously its not "thoughtful" at all, yet women love it just cause its expensive and cost him money. There such a wide range of gifts you could get men (hunting/fishing gear, electronics, tools, ect.) yet with women it always has to be jewelry or purses. Sometimes I just think a women would get sick of the same stuff all the time.

This year I bought my mother these nice copper pots, I suppose this is a terrible gift though since its for cooking or w/e. Got my grandmother one of those cast iron tea kettles from Teavanna, I known she is going to love it.

Another thing is you should change the title to what not to give to your wife. I really hope you ladies aren't being disappointed by these sort of gifts from family members or friends. I get gift cards all the time from family and inlaws.

In the early stages of a relationship with a girlfriend, she really can't expect an expensive purse or piece of jewelry.

This article is just trying to write an equation for the "its the thought that counts" rule, which you really can't. If a man goes out an handpicks some body lotions or perfumes that he knows you'll like because of the stuff you currently have, or because you made a comment after a commercial about it came on, then that is very thoughtful, because he thought about it. On the otherhand if it was just some lotion giftbasket and its obvious that it was just an "easy lady gift" then yeah, that could make you feel really bad when you put a lot of thought into his gift. If your wife works out a lot and is really into training/does marathons/mountainbikes, you know, the athletic sort of girl, then yeah a gym membership that she may have considered to frivolous before would be a great idea.

Kate on October 16, 2014:

I. am. a. women. who. dos. not. like. jewelry.

poetryman6969 on June 22, 2014:

Gosh and I thought mouthwash, deodorant and a vacuum cleaner would charm any gal. Along with a some scented soap of course!

cjarosz on December 29, 2013:

Well I agree with some off these. Others I would love. I love to he in thenkitchen. So knives, and utensils are always fine with me. The gift cards go well to. Face it. Sometimes guys just don't exactly know what to get. So gift cards are always fine in my book. I go through a ton of lotions and bath oils. They are always great on my list. Overall, this was good hub.

Melissa on December 27, 2013:

I got bath towells...a stuffed dog and 2 christmas candles.....WOW...Im 46 yrs old and Ive been with tbis man for 8.5 years...

Sandyshore on December 26, 2013:

I just got a suitcase for Christmas from my bf :/

Henry Bowman on December 19, 2013:

Made an account just to comment on how sexist this article is. Please allow me to summarize each point:

Small Kitchen Appliances: Women are volatile and quick to anger, don't give them knives. Furthermore, they may decide to skip the biggest decision of their lives if you buy them a blender.

Cleaning Products or Supplies: Women never forget a sleight, no matter how long the relationship. They don't forgive or forget. Also, they all think it's super sexy when a man does the dishes, gets 'em all hot'n'bothered.

Gifts Not to Give Women: Here's the source video I watched and paraphrased into an article to build my stature! Honor my creativity!

More Bad Gift Ideas (for Women and Men): Here's a video I found when I typed "bad christmas gifts" into google!

Cheap Perfume: This one is actually the least offensive, and marginally helpful. KUDOS!

Women Know how to Spot Fake Diamonds: Women love diamonds so much that they make sure they know when you haven't spent enough on them!

Fake Jewelry or knock-off designer handbags: Content is actually not bad, don't lie to your spouse, don't get tricked into buying knockoffs.

Weight Loss Programs or Gym Memberships: If a man buys this, unrequested, or based off or sporadic "does this make me look fat" questions, he's probably too thoughtless to take the time to read this article anyway. Might as well say not to buy breast implants.

Gift Cards: With you on that one. Second worst, only to plain cash. However asserting women care so much about the exact dollar amount smacks of a '50s view of money=love for women.

What's most disturbing is how easily these dim views of women slip into your ostensibly pro-women article. Society has been pushing these so long we need to question the origin of our biases before we sprinkle them in so nonchalantly.

oldiesmusic from United States on December 19, 2013:

I would not accept all those gifts you listed there. Not to brag but I could afford all of them. Hey I like knock off jewelry, but of course if my guy has to give me jewelry it should be the real deal. ;)

Marie Ryan from Andalusia, Spain on July 10, 2013:

Hi stephhiks68, I just have to tell you that I can hardly type this comment 'cos I'm laughing so your hub but also at all the great comments from fellow hubbers and even a few guests! What a great sense of girl solidarity here. All these 'inappropriate' gifts we get from our men. There must be hundreds of anecdotes out there about this...

I loved all the stories! I want some more. Would it be cool for you make a thread/question/forum or something to get more stories?

This has given me the best lift of the day so far. :)))

Jess on May 08, 2013:

I got a gym membership last night! So upset! It would have been much better if he asked me if i wanted to join a gym together. Nope. Surprise a gym membership just for me! What do I do? Obviously he thinks I need to get in shape.

Anna from Malaysia on February 16, 2013:

Some great advice... Although I am a lady that loves kitchen appliances.. I do agree that cleaning products and devices are rubbish presents... I hope people take on board your handy hints:)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 14, 2013:

Hahaha - that's horrible! Thanks for sharing the funny gift story.

opulence on February 14, 2013:

My college boyfriend got me a lint brush for my birthday, because he said my clothes always had cat hair on them. I guess he thought he was personalizing the gift!

vinayak1000 from Minneapolis on January 05, 2013:

Haha! Thanks for the warning since these are usually the first thing that comes to my mind when I am looking for gifts for women!

Stillhopeful on January 04, 2013:

I had to laugh at all the comments. After reading about an anvil, a toilet, and a dozen or so statues I don't feel so alone. After having been married only 4 mos, I was lookig forward to our first Christmas together only to be disappointed that my one and only Christmas gift was a $15 turtleneck. 23 yrs later, we're still married. He's a good husband and father, but just clueless about buying gifts. Dropping hints and making a list don't help either. For my 50th birthday, he got me a clock because "time is ticking away". One year he made me a mantle. The thought was nice but the gift was impersonal. 1 1/2 years ago my birthday gift was a promise to reupholster a chair and to paint the bathroom. I'm still waiting. This Christmas I told myself not to expect anything so I wouldn't be disappointed; I received a movie theater ticket for 1, gift card for 1 to a restaurant, money for 1 e-book, and money to download the movie Goodbye, Mr. Chips

( from 1969).He said he really liked the movie and thought I would like the movie too. Well the movie was okay but not something I would've chosen. I feel selfish for being hurt and disappointed all the time but would like more thought and consideration. Some impersonal gifts are okay when they're from extended family but I expect more from a husband. I know it said no costume jewelry, but I would even like that since the only piece of jewelry that I have ever received from my husband is my wedding ring and it's been 23 years!

hooloo on November 29, 2012:

my boyfriend decided to buy me a 300 gym membership as my christmas gift. I had been telling him what i wanted for months but got this. I love him very much but can't help but feel offended by it. Im trying to be thankful for it and be excited about him giving it to me but I would have liked something better.

Krys W from Abertawe, Cymru on November 25, 2012:

Actually, one of the most appreciated gifts I have ever received is the halogen hob I got from my daughter.

I also specifically asked my other daughter for some beautiful scented hand lotion one year.

Gift cards are always very welcome, and if someone was willing to pick up the cost of a gym membership for me, I would be thrilled.

Megan Garcia from Florida on November 24, 2012:

Very funny but relevant hub. I couldn't help but laugh at some of these and the way you put it.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on November 21, 2012:

Well Steph there is one item on here that I have to disagree with you on. Call me different, call me strange, but I love getting small kitchen appliances for Christmas, my birthday or mother's day. There was a time that I would have been insulted by an appliance as a gift but not anymore :)

The worst gift I've ever rec'd would have to be a belt with this huge elephant buckle. I'm sure that the person who gave me this thought I'd like it because I at one time collected elephants.

This was a fun and funny hub to read.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on November 21, 2012:

As the owner of a fitness center, I'm always amazed at the men who come in to buy their wife a membership as a gift without her asking for it as a gift. That's just asking for trouble at home!

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on November 20, 2012:

You all are so funny! I have read all the comments and now I can't write one cause you've covered every thing. I have 2 boxes of bath products that were gifts. I've been thinking of having a yard sale.

Mick Say from Canterbury on November 20, 2012:

Oh wow thanks for this very popular hub - one that every man should see - especially my son in law who once bought my daughter a clothes iron - it was almost the end. I thought it was quiet nice ............ joking!! :)

Tony Capon from Upminster, Essex, United Kingdom on November 18, 2012:

Whilst I (a Man) Agree with the Author concerning kitchen gifts, my Wife does like to receive such gifts. To satisfy us both I place a gift under the Christmas tree addressed to "The Kitchen" (in addition to other gifts). This has now become a family tradition and my Wife "Owns" the present and looks forward to it, expectantly, each year!

Olive on November 17, 2012:

My boyfriend just gave me a blender for my birthday :/

Molly Robinson from Knoxville, TN on November 17, 2012:

A must-read for all the guys out there! I'm pretty sure I have not been guilty of any of these, whew!!

ronny2005 from HubPages on November 17, 2012:

Useful Hub and informative too. shared.

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on November 16, 2012:

I must be strange because I love bath products for a gift! I can't really think of any gift I didn't enjoy but the best gift I ever received was from one of my kindergarten students. I think she felt badly because she didn't give me a gift as the other students did so she gave me her favorite (well-used) coloring book. I treasured it.

Chelsyna on November 15, 2012:

Sigh... My birthday presents today included an air-floss (little gizmo to floss using just water and air) and a hair curler. I hate to floss, so I'm a little intrigued by the gadget, but as a birthday present?! And I already have a hair curler that I really like and absolutely no need for another one. Sigh. I would have been thrilled by some department-store jewellery or a stuffed animal or even a gift certificate to a book store. Just sitting here feeling bad for not being more appreciative, but it's been a particularly difficult month and I *had* really been looking forward to my birthday.

Anna on November 15, 2012:

Sigh... My birthday presents today included an air-floss (little gizmo to floss using just water and air) and a hair curler. I hate to floss, so I'm a little intrigued by the gadget, but as a birthday present?! And I already have a hair curler that I really like and absolutely no need for another one. Sigh. I would have been thrilled by some department-store jewellery or a stuffed animal or even a gift certificate to a book store. Just sitting here feeling bad for not being more appreciative, but it's been a particularly difficult month and I *had* really been looking forward to my birthday.

Vik Beluso from Champaign, IL on November 15, 2012:

Great article. And very true. My best friend got his wife a gym membership (from a cheap gym, too) a few years back. He's not married anymore...

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on November 14, 2012:

Two simple rules: Nothing with a plug. Diamonds can be little if they are real.

Selecting gifts for me has never been my husband's strong suit for all his efforts. We're both happier when I accept something he chose because he wanted me to have it instead of me expecting him to figure out what I want. Yes, I've tried simply telling him, but that doesn't work in gift-giving for some unknown reason.

lanablackmoor from New England on November 14, 2012:

The part about the knives cracked me up! You're so right. I'm somewhat of an exception, but only because my friends and family know that I'm obsessed with kitchen gadgets and scented candles, but only certain kinds and they buy accordingly. While I'd be thrilled if my mother in law or grandmother bought me that blender I'd been eyeing, if someone I hardly knew handed me a spatula without knowing it was an appropriate gift for *me*, we'd be having words.

I'm actually astounded to find out that anyone in the history of the human race ever thought it was a good idea to gift cleaning products or a gym membership! Yikes! The assumptions we make. Thanks for a very entertaining read.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on November 14, 2012:

I so love this hub, I am going to pass this on as a must read. You are so right with your list. The worst gift that I ever got was when my husband bought me candy and perfume at the local drug store, and this was for Valentine's Day. Of course I fussed him out and gave it back because I knew that it was a last minute gift that required no thought. He later gave me what he knew that I would love which was a telescope, yes a telescope because I love star gazing. Great hub and I will be passing it on.Thanks

Man on November 14, 2012:

All ungrateful. Be happy to get anything.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on November 13, 2012:

Women really do think differently than men. I do most of the kitchen work and cleaning, and I love to get new kitchen tools, knives, and cleaning or repair gizmos from my wife!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 13, 2012:

Interesting choice of gifts but the most meaningful gift is love

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 12, 2012:

OMG, a toilet for a gift? That is super funny and terrible at the same time. LOL - Steph

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 12, 2012:

Oh dear, Anon - I am sorry. Even a gift card for $10 or $20 would have been more appreciated, huh? Hope you are well - Steph

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 11, 2012:

This was a fun read. 'The top 10 video was hilarious. She was so right you know. I had written a lengthy comment and it would not post so I am condensing it. Just know that I am thinking there is a lot of truth in this humor... :) ps

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on November 11, 2012:

thanks for this great hub! i had to giggle as i was reading because i have had my fair share of the gifts above...i think most of them are great for holiday re-gifting (lol)!! blessings!

Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on November 11, 2012:

Great hub! My girlfriend actually got a toilet for her birthday because they needed a new one at their house. She was mortified!

Salini from India on November 11, 2012:

Nice hub... after reading this I feel a bit odd, I guess I am now a bit weird, cos I really don't mind being gifted anything, except the knives!!!

I do agree with the list, cos some of the people (girls/women) I know, share your view about receiving these types of gifts.

Voted interesting... I am really odd... ;)

Anon on November 10, 2012:

After a 10 day business trip to La, Denver & Miami.. I was given this morning a freebie Denver Nuggets towel from a basketball game, a Reece's Pieces butter cup & a Denver Starbucks mug (i don't drink coffee).

Seeing as though during that time i had to work full time, keep house & look after our 5 year old on my own.. Whilst having a horrid sickness/upset tummy bug that left me unable to eat/drink for 2 days.. I kind of felt he could have shown his appreciation a bit more...

Maybe i'm just unrealistic in thinking that?

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 07, 2012:

Hi Lousia, well, billybuc is one of my absolute favorite hubbers here! I'm glad you found this hub funny. With the holidays coming up, I think all boyfriends, husbands, co-workers and love interests should take note. And, I agree regarding flowers! Best to you, Steph

Louisa Rogers from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico on November 07, 2012:

Hi Steph, I'm a newbie at HP, found you via billybuc. Voted useful and funny. I found this hub hilarious and insightful. My husband would love nothing better than to give me safety tools for my birthday. For example, he wants me to have my own flashlight when we go camping, in case I trip if I need to pee in the dark. It's sweet that he's concerned for my safety, but I DON'T want this for my birthday!! (He gets it). Another thing people assume is that all women love flowers. I find flowers a nuisance. I have to find a vase for them, usually cut the stems, and keep them watered. We often have to ask friends who come for dinner to please not bring flowers, or they often will.

Stacie Weatbrook on July 05, 2012:

I'm torn on gift cards. Everything you said was true (and I loved the Maxine cartoon!) However, given the choice between a wok (a Valentine's gift to me from my husband) I would've snatched the gift card up in a second! I think gift giving can be baffling for some people!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on July 05, 2012:

Thanks Thelma - excellent points! ;-)

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 05, 2012:

This is a true and a funny story. Thanks for writing this. I hope lots of men up there somewhere can read this hub. Receiving a vacuum cleaner or a knife for a birthday can be dangerous. But you know, sometimes receiving something what turns us (women) off is better than not receiving at all on birthdays or anniversaries. Maybe, we are not worth giving? Just a thought. It´s disappointing on our part. I´ll post this on my FB account for my friends to read. Voted up and shared.

lebelly on May 28, 2012:

Last week, my bf and I were preparing to go out for my birthday. He came up and asked me if I liked those Irish Cladagh rings, (sp?). I actually don't like them. I was honest and said no....well, little did I know, he had already bought one, and was about to hand it to me! The ring was second hand, because we are having some financial difficulties. Bottom line is, he bought a gift, without asking, or knowing in advance whether I like that kind of thing. So, no gift on my birthday. He spilled the beans the next day that he had already purchased the Claddagh ring. Yesterday, he gave me the ring anyway. Ugh. No wrapping, no attention to what I would like, and I am frankly, a little miffed! He tries, he is just totally clueless. In his mind, the ring symbolizes his love for me, and the Claddagh rings do symbolize these things...but, hey, either don't ask, wrap it in a pretty package, and give it to your gal with all those wonderful intentions, or....know a LITTLE bit in advance before getting the gift. It's all about presentation, and the thought. I would have really appreciated it if he didn't ask me if I liked that kind of thing JUST before he was about to give it to me! Hello????

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 02, 2012:

Hi That Grrl,

Oh, any of these items would be great gifts from a child, of course! If someone knows you and KNOWS that you would love these gifts, then by all means, they should get them for you. I guess the bottom line is that a gift should show thoughtfulness and attention to the gift recipient. Best to you, Steph

Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on December 30, 2011:

Everyone is different. I LIKE getting some of those things. But cheap stuff is never a good thing, unless it's from a kid who thought they found something great or pretty for you.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 13, 2011:

Thanks rutley - same to you!

Oh Chillable - a hand blender... how romantic. LOL!

Chillable on December 13, 2011:

I cried when my boyfriend gave me a hand blender for my birthday one year. He's not my boyfriend (or husband) any more.

rutley from South Jersey on December 07, 2011:

Love it! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 06, 2011:

Well said, cyoung,

Gifts that are given without consideration of the recipient's interests or desires are insulting because they show a lack of interest or attention, which can be hurtful.

Chad Young from Corona, CA on December 05, 2011:

OMG this is so true and it can get you in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately many of us have forgotten what Christmas is all about, still we expect a little more thought in a gift to show your love.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 04, 2011:

Hahaha Melbel - I can fill in that blank!

Peggy - what a strange sounding platter! But certainly sounds like your mother-in-law knew what you could use as a gift. A cordless drill is just perfect - for the right woman. :) Best, Steph

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2011:

I received a cordless drill set from my mother-in-law one year as a Christmas gift and was delighted. It helped when I was doing a lot of my own framing of my artwork. Worst gift...a wedding gift that was a platter with ostrich skin on one side and walnut wood on the other side. Strange! Finally gave it away to charity and hopefully someone fell in love with it. Ha!

Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on December 03, 2011:

@stephhicks68 & Victoria Lynn - I think after I left the party I received that from, I left it in the trunk of my car until snow melt to try and figure out wth I was going to do with it... then over the years it disappeared. I think I gave it to my mom for her to give as an office re-gift. And, of course, I filled out a thank you card... probably something along the lines of,

"Thank you so much for the beautiful serving platter! It will definitely come in handy when I make _____!"

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 03, 2011:

@Lady_E - you are so right! 100% :)

@Beata - I am with you! My husband's and my birthday are right before Christmas (2 days apart). We never exchange gifts anymore and instead just go out for a nice dinner on the day between our birthdays. Its so much nicer!

Cheers, Steph

Beata Stasak from Western Australia on December 02, 2011:

Very useful hub...although I don't believe in giving and receiving gifts anymore, it is just very comercialized these days...I like to share good time with people I love and I started to give away tickets to movies, theatres, musical, concerts...or just take them on a day trip to somewhere nice...time well spent is all we all need:)

Elena from London, UK on December 02, 2011:

Lol. Thanks for writing this on behalf of all the Ladies.

It puts me off when I see a man buying a hoover or toaster, as a gift for his "beloved wife".

Great Hub.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2011:

Hi pmccray,

Sounds like that is the best approach, and I think its interesting to read comments from people who have been with their significant other for a while, and how they make gift exchanges work. Happy Holidays! Steph

pmccray on December 02, 2011:

My husband and I have learned not to try to surprise each other. If we obtain no enlightenment through conversations, then at least two weeks before Christmas we flat out ask each other. This hub is full of spot on advice. Voted up, marked useful, funny and interesting

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2011:

Hi Derdriu,

Thank you so much! I'm glad that this hub can both entertain and help at the same time. Hmmmm... the worst gift I ever received? That's a tough one. From a high school boyfriend, it was probably a sappy stuffed animal (sorry to everyone else who loves them), from another guy, it was an unusable, bulky walkman - remember those pre-mP3 players when I really was hoping for a special piece of jewelry on my college graduation. I've received more lotions, bath gels, salts and candles than my years on this planet, as well. ;-)

ho, ho, ho!! Steph

Derdriu on December 02, 2011:

StephHick68: What an entertaining, helpful, prescient discussion of what not to give to women! It is most enjoyable and informative the way in which you identify the problem gift, explain why it should not be given, and consider acceptable alternatives. Additionally, you always turn your hubs into such fantastically reinforcing multi-media presentations of sound and light.

Thank you for so humorously and practically sharing, voted up, etc.,


P.S. What is the worst gift which you ever received?

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2011:

Princessa - I LOVED that episode!! And spot on, don't you think? LOL!! Thanks for the comment :) Best, Steph

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on December 02, 2011:

I agree an this list should be a must read for all people before they buy presents. Somehow your list made me think about that scene in "sex and the city 2" where Big gives Carry a TV as an anniversary present lol to add insult to the injury, the tv was installed in the bedroom :-(

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2011:

Yes, it is true that buying gifts can be tricky for some people. Re-gifting is a delicate art, and then we get down to the just plain insensitive gifts.

@amron - sounds like a classic re-gift situation to me! Maybe you should have sewed your mother-in-law a shirt from the fabric? LOL

@oceansnsunsets - having little money to spend can be a challenge, but something as little as a homebaked pie or an invitation to a date to lunch might be a wonderful gift.

Cheers all, Steph

Paula from The Midwest, USA on December 02, 2011:

Gifts can be so hard and tricky to buy for people. Women can be hard to buy for. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on gift giving. I totally agree, that getting a vacuum or piece of work out equipment would be, well, not the best. It seems also, the less money you have to spend on a gift, the tougher it can be to buy something you feel good about. With a little thoughtfulness, buying a nice gift can be achieved. Voted up, also! :)

amron on December 02, 2011:

Wow, this is so funny. The worse gift I ever received was from my mother-in-law who gave me about 5 metres of fabric which I could never use because of the awful pattern. Must have been something she had in the cupboard for a few years. Hahahaha.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 01, 2011:

Stephanie's comment about the anvil cracked me up, too. I thought that the vacuum gift was bad (and it still is), but that is so much more random...

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 01, 2011:

OH wow, thanks steph! lol

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

Hi Wannabewriter - I LOVE that idea of simply getting what you want, when you want them. My husband has never been able to wait for the holidays or his birthday, much less make a wish list. LOL!

I agree that a hub on what NOT to give a teacher would be perfect, and it must include any item that proclaims "World's best Teacher" don't you think? Homemade, heartfelt gifts like that ornament are special. How wonderful that you kept it and remembered him. Cheers, Steph

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on December 01, 2011:

Great hub! I'm going to send it around the web to try to prevent an ER such as the one in the video you didn't post. My husband and I don't exchange gifts -- his family wasn't in the habit, and he wasn't great at knowing what I wanted and vice versa. We decided to get the things we wanted and needed ourselves when we wanted and needed them and spend the money on special occasions by doing something special together. It works for us.

I loved that second video with the useless gift pictures that do resemble stuff I've seen that some people actually might give someone. I cracked up over that. I agree with Seek-n-Find that someone should write a hub on what not to give a teacher. When I was teaching, the cheap colognes, soaps, etc. were pretty common gifts. The gift I liked best from a student is an ornament he made himself and I still keep even though we don't put the tree up anymore. That was forty years ago, but it reminds me of him, and he was special.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

Gordon, you may be on to something. For some women (my 8-year old daughter included), a stuffed animal is the next best thing to a real live one - and much easier to care for. LOL!

Nell - that must be such a strange, funny collection. I'm thinking you should write a hub about it! ha!

lambservant - oh, the dreaded gift not to give women - the one that says.... I will encourage you to become interested in MY hobbies. Great analogy... kissing a cockroach. LOL!

writer - thank you!

Stessily, that is indeed sad about your grandmother. She must have wondered all those years why she kept getting soap, especially as they were not anything special. Yes, there is some humor in this hub, but also some serious messages about how not to offend something - simply put more thought into a gift. That way, you can show her how much she means to you. Best, Steph

stessily on December 01, 2011:

Steph, Each and every Christmas, without fail, certain relatives gave soap to my paternal grandmother. Once she mentioned it to me, as a rather sad fact, not as a complaint. She was a beautiful person who made such a difference in my life, especially after the death of my father when I was 10. I was disappointed then by such inattentive gift giving, and I was reminded with this hub of those thoughtless gifts to an amazing woman whose hygiene was always perfect. There was nothing special about the soaps.

There may be humor in laughing off thoughtless gifts for some, but for me I appreciate your tackling this topic.

Thank you.


Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on December 01, 2011:

You really told the truth for us females. Voted up and awesome.

Lori Colbo from United States on December 01, 2011:

My dad bought my mother some golf clubs. She cared about golf as much as she cared about kissing a cock roach. Great and practical article.

Nell Rose from England on December 01, 2011:

Hi, Oh this was so funny! ha ha! I had a boyfriend who always bought me statue ornaments, by the time we had finished I had at least 10 mini budhas, shiva's, women with shepherd crooks and sheep, 2, yes 2 men with smoking pipes, He obviously had a poor memory, and last but not least, the only one I liked, a fairy on a horse! at least that wasn't as bad as my friend got, she received a picture in a plastic frame, of one of those old swimming costume complete with a man with a moustache! he couldn't understand why she didn't like it as it was a pop out one that he called 3D! Ha ha!!

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 01, 2011:

Great read, Steph, and fabulous information. Should be a must read for all young men starting out on the rocky road of life.

The only exception I have personally encountered is the stuffed toys. My ex had a major thing about stuffed "cute" animals. Such gifts amazingly got me out of all sorts of trouble. I remember once when we lived in London forgetting to tell her that I had invited a male friend down from Scotland for a few days of "cultural sightseeing" around London's pubs. I only remembered to tell her on the morning of the day he was arriving. (I did, honestly and genuinely, forget!) She was not overly pleased and even less so when she was faced with the two of us bouncing in the door in the early hours of the morning. A small, particularly lifelike kitten after my friend had gone home repaired at least much of the damage.

Can think of a couple of people I know who might benefit from this in present times - will send it on.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

Oh wow, Patty!!! Incredible! Merry Christmas... here is a broken coffee mug! wow.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 01, 2011:

Once someone tried to give me some very worn-out old clothing as a gift, unwrapped. I refused it. Later I learned they didn't want to walk to the trashcan and tried to give all their friends trash to take off the property. How do I meet these types of people? I'll never know.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

LOL, Audrey!! You know, there was another video I considered using for this hub, but it was a little toooo over the top. A series of husbands are in the ER waiting room. One has a handmixer coming out of his ear, another has a spiky stiletto heel stuck on the top of his head and then another guy walks in with a vacuum cleaner hose stuck.... somewhere....

I think I would have been quite underwhelmed with towels, but perhaps a cookbook that was tailored to my tastes (say French cuisine) might have been OK. ROTFL about your bathrobe - and your re-gifting to your Mom!!!!! hahaha!

My college boyfriend was particularly bad about picking out gifts. Presents ranged from nothing - completely spacing my birthday - to sports-related gifts, suitable for any sport that I did NOT do!! I just have to laugh when I remember that.

Thanks for the fun comment! Cheers, Steph

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on December 01, 2011:

OMG - Your dad gave your mom a vacuum? Now that sounds like something Bob would have done early on until he got a clue~ I think the first year after we were married, he gave me a set of towels (??? - wow) and a set of cookbooks (???again was that a hint?). All I really needed was a set of cleaning products to complete the nightmare.

I do have to say after all these years, I still have most of the cookbooks. I remember telling him I'd like to stuff the towels down his throat or something similar.

The only other disaster gift he gave me for Christmas one year was a bathrobe that looked like something a hillbilly would wear. It was so NOT me that I just sat there with my mouth gaping and went "Wow - you really put some thought into this one?" Not that my mom is a hillbilly by any means, but I later regifted it to HER and she loved it! That's how FAR my husband's radar was off on that particular gift~

Great piece and very pertinent information on what women do NOT is important to note that you can teach old dogs new tricks and I have to say that after 38 years or so together, Bob's selections of gifts has evolved into the perfect gift every time and without coaxing. Perhaps it was the early years of stunned silence that did it though~~~

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

Will - yes, a potential minefield!

Prasetio - hope you get some non-ideas for gifts... LOL!

Hi esmeow - funny how the simplest solution comes down to communication, isn't it? Happy gift shopping everyone! Best, Steph

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on December 01, 2011:

The best idea is to ASK what a person might like as a gift to solve this terrible problem. I don't know if I've ever gotten a terrible gift from my husband. Even if we have no money at the time, our family members each make out a "wish list" of ideas. It really helps. Thanks for a great hub.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 01, 2011:

This was great information for us, especially for men like me. Actually I had never know about this. But you open my eyes about this fact. I really love all pictures and the video above. Thank you very much. Voted up!

Blessing and hugs,

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on December 01, 2011:

This is a minefield husbands must walk three times a year...our anniversary, her birthday, and Christmas.

We are supposed to know instinctively what they want (after all, in romance novels, the tall handsome hero-jerk always knows!). I just bribe my daughter, because her mom always confides in her.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 01, 2011:

DzyMsLizzy - You're not alone with the tools. I have requested a jigsaw and leafblower in the past, among other tools. However, if I didn't ask for those types of items I would be horrified to get them! I still think the anvil wins for worst gift so far. I'm still chuckling over that one.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2011:

This is my favorite part about writing a humorous hub - all the awesome comments! Bric-a-brac and anvils, oh my!

Thanks all to making me laugh again. Oh, and Brian - I only wish it was so easy to write a quick hub on gifts to give women... :-) Cheers, Steph

BRIAN SLATER on December 01, 2011:

Excellent Steph, I now know what not to buy her- can you write one ( very quickly) on what I should. Voted up and thanks for the info.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 01, 2011:

I'll take that anvil off your hands... hee hee hee.. yeah, I'm weird... Cheers!

C E Clark from North Texas on November 30, 2011:

Chances are that if it's something I would like to have and it's affordable, I already have it.

Unless something will have sentimental value for some reason, like a copy of "our song," a group family photo,something special you made yourself, or something along those lines, I really don't need any more clutter around my home. I'd rather have something practical that I can actually use (food that I'm known to eat, a case of paper towels,etc.). Flowers are nice. From a family member, cash is nice and saves shipping charges on something I can buy right here where I live. No gadgets,no perfume, no jewelry,no bric-a-brac, and please,no clothing, especially sweaters.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on November 30, 2011:

This hub made me laugh and cringe! lol

oldandwise on November 30, 2011:

There goes my list! lol...Great advice. Voted up.

SanneL from Sweden on November 30, 2011:

Oh, my Steph. . .your hub together with the funny comments gave me the laughs this morning!

My worst Christmas gift doesn't sound so bad after reading about some of the gifts our fellow hubbers have received. An anvil!!. . .unless the woman is a blacksmith and an anvil is just what she dreams to get for Christmas, I do think that could be one of the worst gifts ever!

Great hub with lots and lots of fun. Voted up and pushed all the right buttons for this one. I'll be back again for more chuckles. An anvil. . .hehehe!!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 30, 2011:

Thanks Lizzy, definitely know your gift recipient! There are times and situations when any of these gifts not to give women might be appropriate (OK, save the cheap perfume, fake jewelry and handbags), but the last thing you want to do is to give the wrong message. *clearing throat* women may tend to read something unintended into the gift selection you make.... :-) Best, Steph

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 30, 2011:

LOL Yeah--the kitchen appliances...that would be kind of like giving one of those hose-extension rain-gutter cleaning wands or a new catch-bag for the lawn mower to a man. ;-)

You have to KNOW your gift recipient, however. I'd be yes, annoyed (unless I'd asked, as you say) with a cooking gadget...but I'd be delighted with a tool of most any kind, whereas most women would look at the gift-giver as if they were nuts...because for most women, the gift of a drill or set of SAE box-end wrenches, is really for the guy....under the guise of giving her a gift. (Pssst...pass the anvil!) ;-)

As for gift cards--I think those are ok within the immmediate family group. I just gave my daughter a gift card for Peet's coffee, because I know she likes to go there to de-stress; likes their coffee; and I know she already has plenty of her fave fragrance products...AND--this is important...she is well aware of our financial situation, so "how much I spent" is a non-issue.

Voted up, useful, interesting and funny.

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