It is the Christmas season again and if you are a man shopping for that perfect gift for the girlfriend or wife may you feeling like it is time to check into the funny farm. Maybe you have already spent hours, possibly months looking for the right gift in the various shops, boutiques and on the internet. In all likelihood you have even consulted the thousands of articles of the top ten gifts to buy for that special woman. In November Leo Johnson, an independent researcher of Human and Societal Behavior was faced with the same dilemma, so he took upon himself to find out what women really wanted for presents from their man. What he found was both comical and a little depressing. The reason being is that what us men perceive to be the prefect gift is in reality a disappointment to our beloved other half or is only the tip of the iceberg in their expectation of our gift giving ability.
Most articles out there on the net or even in fashion magazines and newspapers written about the subject usually always put jewelry (usually from some specific band or jeweler) and flowers along with dinner (advertising some restaurant that have paid for the advertising) at the top of their list. To Leo’s surprise most women are initially not interested in the popular jewelry but want something unique and dinner at some nice but quiet place for a romantic evening. Thus making the list only the beginning of greater expectations, in a sense use men if we are lucky are only giving our women the icing on the cake, what our women want is not just the icing but the whole cake. When we only give them the flowers, jewelry and dinner we have already set ourselves up for disappointment from our girlfriend or wife.
Why is the case? Well to a greater extent most men are to simple in their consideration of gifts, short attention spans and in most case shopping is tiring, making us lazy. We go shopping for that perfect necklace, ring or earrings, but after an hour or so trying to decide from among all the choices we want to hurry up and go look at our toys. So what do we do? We ask the clerk which piece of jewelry is the best or most popular and then we buy what every other man has bought for his woman or what the clerk dreams her boyfriend or husband would buy for her. “I interviewed a woman about what present she received last Christmas from her boyfriend and this is the story she told me. ‘My boyfriend bought me a gold ring and necklace, both had a very cute little diamond set into it. I was very happy the gift that I cried and wanted to show my sister and friends. On the twenty-eighth I met the girls for tea. I was about to show off my new ring and necklace when I noticed on of my friends and sister were both wearing the exact same necklace and ring. This revelation shock all of us. Jewelry is nice, but a woman wants to feel special so we want something unique that no other woman has.’ Even though to a man her story sounds comical is it sad. Just think of it this way, you get that really nice tie from your woman and then when you go back to work wearing you notice half of the other men wearing the same tie they got for Christmas. I know it is not exactly the same thing but it is the closest example for us men.” Leo explains. Women expect something romantic and exclusive for Christmas from their men.
So how as men do we solve this dilemma of finding the right present for that special woman in our lives? How do we make her Christmas memorable? Through his research into this seemly complex enigma Leo has comprised a couple of list that should make our endeavor easier and less frustrating. A little forewarning to these lists, you may have to prepare somethings, use your imagination (think outside the box) or even both. Before we move onto this list let us take a look at a couple of cases in which the women tell about their best Christmas experience.
” Last year my boyfriend and I went out for dinner on Christmas Eve. I was happy about it but also at the same time I was disappointed, at least when we had made the plan. I wasn’t expecting much, only the usual flower, dinner and some necklace or ring. So I was already in a state of disappointment, but I understood that my boyfriend is a man and most men are really bad at being at romantics. So our evening started like I expected, he met me at the train station with flowers. We had dinner at a nice quiet Greek restaurant, which was a good start. Then during dessert he handed me a nicely wrapped present. The shape of the present was the same shape as a necklace box but wider, when I opened it I found to m bewilderment a pair of gloves. He was so happy he asked me to try them on. So to amuse him I did, but when I took the gloves out of the box I discovered another surprise waiting under the gloves, two tickets for a ballet that was playing that night. The gloves were nice and the ballet tickets made my heart race.
So we finished our dinner and caught a cab to the ballet theater. I was so excited about the ballet that I wasn’t thinking or expecting any other surprises. When we were getting our seats for the ballet the doorman handed me a small wrapped gift, thinking nothing of it I but it in my purse and forgot about it. After the ballet my boyfriend asked me what the present was the doorman gave me. When I said I did not know he said ‘find out and open it’. So I took it out of my purse and unwrapped it to find a small note written in my boyfriends handwriting say ‘To My Angel’. My heart began to beat faster when I opened the box to find a small ring with the engraving ‘In Love for an Angel’. The ring and engraving were both tiny and the design of the ring was very unique. Later I found out from my boyfriend’s friend that he had spent four months designing the ring. Everything was turning into this surreal dream, what had started out as another predictable Christmas had become exciting and I wanted to know, to see what was next.
My boyfriend and I had planned on staying the night at his apartment, so after the ballet we walked to his place which was only four blocks from the theater. Before reaching his apartment when we were passing through a small park on the way he stopped. I asked him why he stopped, he smiled, handed me another little wrapped box and told me to open it. Inside was a small remote with a small tag under the button saying, ‘Push Me’. I did and the whole park lit up with Christmas lights. In the center of the park was a table set for two. Staff from a cafe across the street from the park came to serve us Christmas cake and eggnog. It was unbelievably beautiful and sweet the amount of planning he had put into the whole evening. It was so surprising and exciting that I had forgotten to give him his present. The next morning on Christmas Day he woke up early and had cooked me breakfast. I remembered the present I had bought for him but I felt that it wasn’t enough for everything he had done for me.” Judith Zubrowski recounts.
Another account come from Ms. Tanaka in Japan. “The Christmas I am used to isn’t much, mostly work because in Japan Christmas is not really a holiday. Christmas Eve is the night when lovers go out for dinner and may be a movie. So I got a shock when I celebrated Christmas with my boyfriend, who is American.
About three weeks before Christmas Eve my boyfriend started window shopping for my present and he was making a list of every possible gift he thought I might like. Within his first week of window shopping he had made a list of about ten possible presents and by the second week that list had grown to about twenty items. When he came home he would always joke about how confusing and difficult is was to find the right gift for a woman, because there were so many things to look at and choose from. The funny thing is it always seemed he was on a mission to give me a beautiful Christmas, every morning he would wake up with a smile then say he was going to find the perfect gift and he would always come home with a smile.
Both of us are very busy, so on Christmas Eve both of us had to work, or so I thought. He left the apartment at his usual time around six thirty in the morning, so I thought he had gone to work. He sent me his usual ‘good morning, I will work hard’ morning e-mail, but in reality he had Christmas Eve off so he was sitting in his favorite cafe near the station we use and waited until I passed going to work. Then he returned to the apartment to clean and decorate.
I guess he couldn’t decide on which gift would be the best choice so he had bought six presents and wrapped them himself, that he hid at his office. When I got off work I e-mailed him to tell him I was coming home. He replied that he had to work late because his boss wanted him to complete some assignment. This made me a little sad and depressed because I was hoping we could at least have dinner together. When I got to my station he was waiting for me with a smile and a little present that he gave to me. The way home is along a nice little river that in the summer we sit on its bank and enjoy the evening. As we were walking home I open my present to find a new Kashmir scarf. When we got home, as he open the door for me I was overwhelmed with the fresh aroma of herbs and spices. He had spent the day not only cleaning and decorating but also cooking Christmas dinner for me. In the living room he had put up a Christmas tree, decorated it, as well as the room and had several wrapped presents around the tree with a Christmas cake set in the center of the table. I was so speechless at everything he had done. It was so beautiful because we had dinner with only the illumination of the Christmas light. That night he allowed me to open one more present, which was a beautiful new winter jacket. The Christmas he had prepared was nothing fancy but it was memorable because of all the thought and work he had put into giving me such a beautiful Christmas.”
So now the we have seen a glimpse into what imaginative things some of our fellow men have accomplished here is a list of possible presents. Remember to drive home the meaning and experience that a combination of the gifts in the list our your best bet.
Nice winter jacket (It doesn’t have to be fancy or of any brand but stylish).
A pastel blouse (depending on what kind of career your woman has will dictate what type of blouse style would be best).
Pair of gloves (again don’t think fancy or band but stylish).
Scarf (pastel colors are again a nice choice and stay with Kashmir or cotton).
Kerchief (every woman has a few of these, it is like a women Swiss army knife of hygiene).
Purse (same guide lines as the jacket and glove, think stylish).
Jewelry (with this one think out side the box and be creative, try to get the jewelry custom made).
Remember get a combination of presents, stay stylish and use your imagination. Making a good and memorable Christmas is like a fireworks show, one big one only is nice but you lose the luster and soon forget the experience, but if you make it like a two hundred mortar fireworks show it keeps reminding until you can forget.
The second list Leo has comprised is of thing us guys can do to make our woman’s Christmas nicer and a little more relaxing.
Clean the house (that includes finding out about the household cleaners and how to clean, even if it mean doing some research on the internet).
Do your own wrapping (yes most of us guys are not good at wrapping… okay we stink at it. The funny thing is the woman will appreciate the effort).
Make your own personal Christmas card for your woman (it shows that you can be creative towards your relationship).
Cook something (this does not include the grill, microwave meals, or delivery, this meaning getting a few recipes, borrowing your buddies kitchen if you are married and practice).
Place gifts in special places around the house for you woman to find one by one on Christmas Day.
If you go out make special arrangements with staff (so the you can surprise the special woman with little surprises through out your time out, whether at the theater or dinner).
If you combine this list of things to do with the gift ideas list you too will have a very (yes, there is emphasis put on very) Merry Christmas.
All in all us men have it hard to shop for our girlfriend or wife, whether it be because of our short attention span, a anomaly in our genetic or whatever it may be we are lost. So a last bit of advice is ask a lot of question (not all at once but little by little throughout the year) about what the lady wants. Also pay attention to what she does, what cosmetic band she uses, the styles of clothes she wears, etc if need be take notes, that way come Christmas you have a fighting chance. Like the Boyscout motto, ‘Be Prepared’.
To all men Good Luck and Merry Christmas.