Do you have a wife or girlfriend who is hard to shop for? I'm always told that I'm super hard to shop for (which I don't really understand, but....) so I thought I would write a little gift guide for those of you who are lost! Here are some ideas (some of these are kinda expensive, others are not too bad):
1) A Massage: Is your significant other constantly running around, chasing kids, keeping the house in order and just basically being awesome? Get her a gift card for a massage (or a mani/pedi, or something pampering and luxurious). Bonus points if you send her to a nice spa (but a regular salon is quite lovely as well) where she can sit and relax, and perhaps hang out at a pool or a jacuzzi. Whatever you do, encourage your significant other to have an afternoon to herself, and make sure you do a few things so she can enjoy said afternoon (can you do the grocery shopping? take the kids out to the park? have dinner on the table (even if it's take out) when she gets home?)
2) A hotel room (for one): I know this might be counter-intuitive, but sometimes, us women just want to get away from it all. We take so much time out of our day to take care of other people, that we often have little time left for ourselves. If you're like me, I enjoy reading and watching terrible movies, but when do I ever get to do these things? Other times, I just like to sit and journal, or focus on myself (like hit the gym or go for a long walk). When I was a kid, my cousin, A, was given a hotel room on the beach in Santa Barbara (her kids were little at the time). She said she read and watched the ocean and just recharged. Her husband took the kids, and gave her time, which is such a precious thing. I realize this might be a bit out of reach, financially, for a lot of people. However, travel and hotel rooms become super cheap after the holidays, so you might be able to find some deals. Also, last minute deals are great on Hotwire.com.
3) Date night (you do all the work): Like I said, us women find ourselves taking care of everyone but ourselves. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is try to find movie times, make reservations for dinner, or plan an outing. It can be exhausting after a long day of work. What can you do about this? Make a plan and pamper her! Tell her you want to take her out on Friday night, and make all the plans. Make the reservations, call the baby-sitter, figure out the movie times. Smuggle in the Cokes or her favorite candies (and make sure it's a movie she wants to see!). If this is a little bit too expensive, plan a date night at home, rent a movie she wants to see, or make a pizza and have it ready when she gets home.
4) Personalized Something: Does your significant other need a nice frame (with a picture in it) for her desk at work? Does she need a good notebook or a new keychain? Make it personalized (with her initials, or even just something like "Love, CD". Can you take the kids out and get a great pic of them? What about her parents, or a pic of her with you or her good friends? Trust me, women LOVE pictures. Can you have the kids draw her something and frame it (bonus if it's a standard size frame where she can keep replacing the drawing with their latest creation)? What about a pic of you alone, or a pic of you with the kids? Trust me, her heart with melt!
5) Something she wants to do: Has she been talking about trying skydiving? Cooking class? Glass blowing? Running? Get her a class or a couple sessions with a personal trainer. Does she need a new suit? Nordstrom's and Macy's have personal shoppers (and I think they're free). Give a gift card and an appointment. Check places like Groupon or Living Social for deals on cooking classes or glass blowing (heck, I even saw one on beekeeping). Buy some seeds from a catalog and get her some gardening accessories. How about a music lesson? A singing one? Trust me, she will love this one too!
6) Things you cannot fail with, but are somewhat impersonal: Look, if all else fails and none of these things sound right, then here are things you just can't go wrong with. Jewelry: a pair of small diamond earrings are always a hit, just make sure they are whatever metal she normally wears (gold or silver). Gift cards: music is always appreciated, so a gift card to itunes is always great. Also, a bookstore, Target, or Amazon.com is always nice too. Bath or body things: you can't really go wrong with bubble bath, smelly lotion or a nice candle, but honestly, these things are kinda boring. If she's into tech-ie stuff, I would look into an iPad or a Nook or Kindle. Or perhaps an iPod or an iPhone. Pajamas (nice ones that she will actually use, not little nighties with feathers all over them) or slippers, warm socks or sweaters are always nice. Just make sure they are the right size.
7) Things you should not get: I would really shy away from the things that suggest separate gender roles. For example, do not buy her a vacuum cleaner or a blender. Don't buy her bubble bath if she doesn't have a bathtub. Do not get her tools for the project you are working on (unless they go to a project she is also working on), or an espresso machine because you want one.
8) Things about you that you want her to know: Have you always loved Gregorian chants, but you just can't find the time to listen to them? Buy her a CD, and listen to it together. Love Kung-Fu, but never told her? Get some movies and popcorn and plan a night in. Have a fascination with history? Start putting your family history together on Ancestry.com (they have gift memberships). Get some tickets to a local museum, or plan a night out at a local show. Love hiking? Get her some good boots and plan an easy route for the day after Christmas. Try to incorporate your significant other into things you love to do. Maybe, just maybe, she will like it too!
9) Anything you've made: This is a category that's awesome, but often never works out. Most people start the holidays with the biggest of ideas, but often fall behind on hand made projects. Picture books or calendars are always a hit, especially if you hand pick some of your favorite photos together. Do you know how to work leather? Make a keychain. Know how to knit? Make her some mittens or a scarf. Love to cook or bake? Plan an lovely feast, just for her. Truthfully, anything you took the time out of your day to make, she will love, even if it's a little bit tacky.
10) Something you should do, even if you don't have a dime: Tell
her how much you love her and appreciate her in your life. Tell her how
much you enjoy hanging out with her and that you still want to spend
the rest of your life with her. Be a romantic (if you aren't already)
and write her a love letter, or pour your heart out into a song or a
poem about her. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be from the
heart. Those are usually the best things you can do, even if its not for
Christmas. Don't forget to tell her how much you love her, in every
possible way you can, even if it's a post-it.
Well, folks, I hope I've given you some great ideas for Christmas shopping. Truth is, it's not that hard, it just takes a bit of thinking (and listening!). Happy Shopping! AND Merry Christmas!