1. A gift card...to anywhere
Yes, men are functional creatures and we don’t stand on ceremony. We like gift certificates...as a present from our cousin. Or coworker. But from you? Really? It’s dangerously close to an envelope full of cash, which, even for us, is tacky.
2. Man jewelry
There are about 4,783 problems with this gift. Let’s start with two. I don’t like wearing jewelry. And I’ll worry that you’ve outspent me and I’ll feel guilty. Other than that, uh, thanks.
3. A wok
Unless your guy happens to be a chef, never get him something like a wok or a pancake griddle. It’s a hint that lacks subtlety, and it’s passive-aggressive. How’d you like it if I got you a vacuum cleaner?
4. Tickets to the ballet
Or the opera. Or that hot new interpretive dance troupe. I’m open-minded and I like trying new cultural experiences, but that shouldn’t hijack my holiday gift. That’s like you saying after dinner, “Okay, and for dessert, I’m serving you broccoli!”
5. A “coupon book”
You know the type. “One Free Massage!” “One Hour of Anything You Want in the Bedroom -- to Be Redeemed Anytime!” It’s played out. And the coupons for sexual favors? Months from now, when you’re not in the mood, do you really want us to “pay” you with a coupon? Paying for sex is called...well, prostitution.
6. Books from your favorite author
Let’s clear up a big myth about book-giving: When you give me a book -- one you recommend -- I am doing you a favor, as you’re asking me to spend 5 to 15 hours of my life on this chore. Books don’t cost money. Books cost time.
7. Baby stuff
Whoa whoa whoa. If you’re telling us that we’re about to become a dad, this is not the way to do it. And if we’re already expecting, this isn’t the time or place for “Project Baby” homework. My gift should be about me. (That’s not selfish, is it?)
It would take many sessions with a psychiatrist to decode this gift. Are you hinting we should take our relationship up a notch and travel together more? Do you want me to hit the road? Do you want me to get rid of my old baggage? Too much to think about.
9. Framed photos
Awwww. A cute photo of us skiing in Aspen. How’d you know that’s exactly what I wanted? A handy rule of thumb: If something can double as a holiday card to our parents, we want as little to do with it as possible.
Let’s be honest. The “gift of love” just isn’t going to cut it. Sure, love conquers all, love makes the world go ’round, love’s all you need, yada yada yada, but saying “Love is a gift” is like saying “Kindness pays rent.” Give me something I can unwrap.
Jeff Wilser is the author of The Maxims of Manhood and the editor of ThePlunge.com.
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