My general philosophy when it comes to gifts is to 1) figure out what you want and 2) email out a detailed registry tell the people in your life what that is. Unless all your loved ones are some combination of rich, stylish, and psychic, or you genuinely don’t give a shit (LOL), this is the best way to ensure you don’t end up pouting through Christmas day and getting a lecture about your “attitude.” Also, people will probably thank you for saving them hours of half-hearted Amazon scrolling dedicated research, so it’s a win for everyone.Output: In my personal approach towards gifts, I firmly believe in identifying your desires and promptly sharing them with others through a meticulously crafted registry. Unless your dear ones possess an extraordinary blend of wealth, fashion sense, and clairvoyance, or if you genuinely have no care whatsoever (LOL), this method guarantees that you won’t spend Christmas day sulking while receiving an admonishment for your “attitude.” Moreover, people will likely express gratitude for the hours saved from aimlessly scrolling through Amazon in search of the perfect gift, making it a victory for all.
When it comes to significant others, this can be a bit more complex. While you may try to convince yourself that “it’s the thought that counts” when your boyfriend presents you with a gift, there will always be a part of you that feels let down if the gift he chose fails to show that he is willing to invest a substantial amount of money in you. It is important that he pays attention to your style, interests, and even your Pinterest board, and selects something that truly reflects your preferences. And of course, because boyfriends are expected to be soulmates who complete your life and understand you better than you understand yourself (thanks, Disney and patriarchy), it would be ideal if he found this gift without any assistance from you. Personally, being shallow as I am, I still prefer giving clear and direct guidance in this matter. However, if you value the element of surprise in your gift, I suggest providing general guidelines (such as whether you prefer a material gift or an experiential one, and your relevant sizes) and allowing him to make his own choices. The gift he ultimately comes up with will reveal a lot about your relationship.
Disclaimer: The following interpretations may not be relevant in cases where you have established a long-lasting relationship or effectively communicated your desires to your partner, resulting in them fulfilling your wishes. The focus here is specifically on unsolicited presents from partners with whom you have been together for a relatively short to medium period of time.
There is quite a range of possibilities here, depending on the specific gift he got you. If it’s a decent but not amazing sweater, he probably asked his mom for help and isn’t sure about a future with you. If it’s a beautiful cashmere sweater or a dress that you’re genuinely excited to wear, he has good taste, knows your style, and genuinely cares about you. If he buys you jeans or athletic wear, he might be an outdoorsy/CrossFit guy who loves saving money or he could secretly be your mom’s hired life coach. If the jeans were cheap and not in a trendy style, it might be time to reconsider the relationship or prepare for years of shopping at sales.
This gift raises suspicion, as it is unlikely that many heterosexual men would have the ability to choose something like this with skill. Therefore, if he indeed picked this out himself, it could either be an eye shadow palette that resembles clown paint or the G-string and stilettos he saw on PornHub last night. It suggests that his understanding of “girly stuff” is limited, and he has no knowledge of who you are as an individual. If he happens to gift you high-quality makeup, shoes, or lingerie, there are three concerning possibilities to consider: 1) this is a gift his ex-girlfriend really liked or requested, 2) he has a close female friend who is secretly infatuated with him and overly involved, or 3) he is gay and genuinely has more knowledge about fashion, beauty, and women’s underwear than you do. It is up to you to decide if you are comfortable with this. Essentially, receiving nice makeup or shoes can be a subtle warning sign, and it would be wise to investigate further.
I understand that there are societal expectations for girls not to request jewelry, and it can bring up concerns about engagement rings and such, but personally, I believe that jewelry is a timeless gift that, with a gentle nudge, is difficult to go wrong with. If you are in a somewhat serious relationship and your partner has the means to afford higher quality pieces than those found at Claire’s, a simple and beautiful necklace or bracelet signifies their investment (both figuratively and literally) and their joy whenever they see you wearing it. Furthermore, this person is likely to embody traditional values, such as waiting a respectful amount of time before becoming intimate and being chivalrous by opening doors for you frequently. Therefore, if you have spent the entire week daydreaming about the wedding of someone who recently made questionable choices by donning a Nazi uniform in public, while simultaneously swooning over Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle, it is highly probable that this individual would be a suitable match for you.
4. Concert/Event Tickets/Day Trip
Lately, there has been a surge in the popularity of “experience gifts.” These gifts primarily involve individuals willingly partaking in activities like skydiving (unlike the forced skydiving on reality TV shows). It’s quite amusing how they give you pitying and condescending looks when you mention the leather jacket you’ve been eyeing for months. Sure, experience gifts may result in better Instagram posts, but let’s not pretend that they hold more significance just because they create memories. (I must admit, I prefer material gifts and understand that it may seem less cool since I have nicer things than you. Please stop making me feel guilty for not attending a concert in five years.) Putting my rant aside, experience gifts can actually be pretty cool if they are tailored to your interests (meaning the person actually listens to you and doesn’t hate all the music you love). They also indicate that the person sees a future with you, as they likely purchased the tickets well in advance, confident that you would still be together when the event arrives. However, these gifts lose their coolness if it’s evident that they are solely for his enjoyment (like tickets to his favorite artist or anything related to sports or beer, which you haven’t expressed an interest in). In such cases, he’s just using the “experience gift” concept as a way to pass off a thoughtless gift as something considerate.
5. Homemade And/Or “Trinkets”
Once again, if you happen to be the type of individual who genuinely believes that it’s the thought behind a gift that truly matters (anyone?), Then this particular present could potentially be the most delightful and well-thought-out gesture to receive. Conversely, if you’re the kind of person who may seem unemotional on the surface but still appreciates sentimentality while also having a taste for finer things, even a sweet and thoughtful version of this gift might make you feel doubly disheartened: firstly, for not fully appreciating the intended sentiment; and secondly, for being with a partner who perhaps fails to comprehend the importance of bringing more than just underwear and a toothbrush for a week-long vacation. If he presents you with this type of gift and you find yourself disappointed, it could signify that you both may not be ideally compatible in the long run. I’ve come to realize that men who insist on treating you as if you have minimal needs (despite your clear communication that you do not) often lack a great deal of respect for your values and priorities, and inherently believe their own mindset to be “objectively correct.” You do not have to settle for that, and it is perfectly acceptable to desire more than a handwritten note and a cookie from the Starbucks where you initially met as a Christmas present.
The ultimate test lies in your personal satisfaction with the gift he presents. Irrespective of its classification, gifts that bring you joy hold the utmost value, disregarding the opinions of others. However, if your relationship has reached a significant stage where gift-giving becomes more meaningful, you may assess his choices using the aforementioned scale. Additionally, if you subtly express your preferences for future gifts, it is wise to emphasize the importance of gift receipts and flexible return policies as a worthwhile investment.