I (mostly) love reading gift guides–this is a well-documented fact–but every time I come across one for men I can’t help but laugh and shake my head, because everything in it is generally the exact opposite of something R. would want. He does not want small-batch balsam-scented soap; he uses Dial. He doesn’t want a cashmere beanie; he wears a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap that he’s had since before we met. And a craft-beer-of-the-month club? Nope; it’s Yuengling all the way. I actually love this about him–it means he doesn’t fall prey to overly priced, trendy objects that he’ll never use, and also that he appreciates and values classic pieces that will last forever.
However, when it comes time for gift-giving, things get a little tricky. I learned pretty quickly what he doesn‘t want, but I sometimes have to guess to find out what he does–or risk going with something I’m unsure about (I’ve both succeeded and bombed with this philosophy). So this year, I took a new tack: “Just tell me what you want for Christmas,” I said, “and I’ll get it for you.” I threw out a couple of ideas, but I basically left it up to him.
And guess what? The next day, he told me what he wanted, and I could not have been happier. Now I don’t have to get him a gift I’m iffy about, and he knows he’s getting something he actually wants (in this case, a commission by his favorite artist). Best of all, he’ll still love unwrapping it on Christmas morning. So yes, this is a tried, true and to-be-trusted pro tip: Ask your partner what he or she wants. It won’t ruin the Christmas-morning magic; in fact, it’ll probably make it better.
Random lumberjack photo (not R.!) via Pinterest