Christmas gift-giving etiquette

With gifts, they say it’s the thought that counts. While we know that, as men, we often don’t think things through when it comes to Christmas gifts. With the end of the work year, holiday season and social gatherings all piling in at once, sometimes gifting gets backseated. Even so, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts in terms of Christmas gift-giving etiquette.

Please – for our sake and yours – avoid gifting these Christmas gifts to your girl.

What Are the Do’s And Don’ts Of Christmas Gift-Giving Etiquette?

Don’t Buy Sports-Related Gifts When She’s Not Into Sports

Of course, you’re passionate about sports but if she’s not, don’t get her a sports-related gift. That includes jerseys (even the pink breast cancer awareness ones), functional things around the house (like a sports-themed wall clock) or tickets to sporting events. These are things that you would rather get yourself. Just because she watched one game with you on a Sunday, don’t try to force something you love onto her.

Do Buy Gifts Related To Things She Watches

She might not be as enthused about sports as you are but if she’s committed to the Kardashians, Game of Thrones or The Office, get her something from those realms. There are lots of options in terms of merchandise that’ll show her you thought through your Christmas gift-giving idea.

Don’t Overdo It With Something She Likes

It’s great that you remembered that your girlfriend’s favorite chocolate bar is KitKat. And she possibly feels guilty about making the purchase and indulging from time to time. But buying her 200 KitKats or getting her 10 giant-sized ones is not exactly a well-thought-out gift. It’s overdoing it and converts the idea from being “you’re so thoughtful” to “you couldn’t think of anything else”.

As far as Christmas gift-giving etiquette is concerned, feel free to throw it in as something small, but don’t go overboard.

Don’t Buy Clothes Without Knowing Her Sizes

“Hi Sweetie, I got you a new work dress!”

First off, props to you if you get out there and try to shop for dresses. That takes courage. However, women are completely different than men and if you’re in a relationship, you know that the intricacies in sizes are quite different. There’s bust and waist and hips and arms and length…and if you happen to nail all of those, then you also have to make sure she likes the style. You might think getting a female in your family – like a sister or aunt – to shop for the gift is a good strategy but it’s in fact quite risky because different ladies have different tastes. This is like swinging for the fences: if you connect on everything, it’s a home run she’ll never forget. The reality is that there is so many opportunities here to strikeout and you’ll look like a dweeb who doesn’t know her very well.

Do Buy A Gift Card To Her Favorite Store

Instead of the headache above, a gift card to her favorite store will save you time and trouble, and achieve the same effect you’re going for.

Don’t Buy Cheap Jewelry

There are some real horror stories out there when it comes to guys committing horrific faux pas in Christmas gift-giving etiquette. Guys buying low-quality artsy earrings that should never be gifted. Or guys buying cheaper jewelry and then putting it in a Jared or Tiffany package to try to sell it as if it was expensive.

Jewelry is not one area to cut corners. If you’re thinking about the metals, make sure they are the precious ones. Jewelry is a serious gift, so treat it that way or avoid it and get her something else.

Do Take Her Jewelry Shopping

Usually jewelry stores are quite festive in the holiday season, making them more fun to browse as a couple. And this way, you can let her pick something specific she likes.

Don’t Gift Her Cash

Do Give A Donation On Her Behalf

This one comes with a big caveat: make sure it’s a cause she supports. Overall, this is a weak gift but definitely a step above giving cash. It shows you understand and support the causes she believes in.

Don’t Get Her Something That Conveys The Wrong Message

Think about what message your gift conveys before buying it. Cosmetics are a great idea but anti-wrinkle cream might be slightly insulting if she’s in her early 20’s. Or a membership to CrossFit, SoulCycle or any other gym might actually be an expensive gift but do you really want to risk insinuating that she’s out of shape? Or even things like air fresheners or cleaning supplies can be taken the wrong way. Do your best to avoid this situation.

Do Get Her Something That Avoids A Double-Entendre

There are some simple workarounds to the gifts from above. For example, buying a waxing gift certificate can land you in the doghouse. Sending her for a manicure or facial, on the other hand is much better. That’s because it places the emphasis on pampering without implying anything remotely negative. The same applies for cosmetics and beauty lotions which are likely to be better received, for instance, than anti-wrinkle creams. There are always ways to make a gift work without implying anything that could be perceived as an insult. In other words, it’s just good ole Christmas gift-giving etiquette.