How to Make Your Spouse a Better Gift Giver

How to Make Your Spouse a Better Gift Giver

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Tips for how to make your husband a better gift giver...perfect with Valentine's Day right around the corner!Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Or, as I like to call it, that special day of the year when countless women will be pining away for the perfect gift, only to end up bitter and disappointed when it fails to meet their sky-high expectations.

Isn’t there a better way?

Some of you reading this may already be dreaming about roses and Godiva, others a romantic candlelit dinner and a stunning pair of diamond studs

Still others may just be hoping for a morning to sleep in and maybe a cup of coffee handed to you before you even get out of bed.

Whatever your desire this Valentine’s Day—or any occasion when your spouse might bestow you with a present—here are a few tips to avoid feeling let down.

Tips for Making Your Spouse a Better Gift Giver*

Don’t make it a guessing game.

Gift-giving shouldn’t be some kind of test—especially not a pass or fail one!

There’s no reason to be sly or secretive about what you want for a special occasion. Just be open about it! 

This isn’t to say you have to hand him a wish list, complete with Pinterest images and Amazon URLs (though I bet he wouldn’t mind it if you did just that!). 

But if you have something specific in mind—even if it’s just the type of present you’d like, say, hopelessly romantic or super practical—don’t just cross your fingers and hope the hubby can read your mind.

Point Out Other Favorites

Do you adore the infinity scarf your mom got you for Christmas? Are you forever grateful to your best friend for that massage gift certificate she gave you for your birthday? 

Make sure he knows how much you appreciated certain gifts from others, so he gets a sense of what sorts of presents you truly enjoy receiving.

Let Him Know When He Gets It Right

Time for a little show and tell! When your spouse hits the nail on the head gift-wise, feel free to gush over it—and then demonstrate how much you love it by making a point of using/wearing it in his presence. 

Not only will he feel proud of his present of choice, he’ll also be more likely to give a repeat performance!

Tell Him to Consider This Eye-Opening Question

I’m stealing this tip from the ever-wise Jack Donaghy from the show 30 Rock. In one of my favorite episodes (I think it was the one called “Secret Santa”), Liz Lemon asks Jack how he’s always able to give the perfect gift—often without even spending any money.

His answer? “I think about what I love about the person, and then give a gift reflecting that.” Or something to that effect.

So if your hubby is totally stumped, suggest he consider what exactly it is he loves about you. 

If he loves how organized you keep the whole family, maybe you’ll end up with a beautiful, classy day planner. 

If he’s grateful for your cooking skills, you might get to enjoy a brand new cast iron skillet.

If nothing else, asking that question is a helpful starting point!

Encourage Him to Think Beyond the Store

A closet full of clothes or a house full of fancy stuff does not a happy person make.

But a study from researchers at San Francisco State University found that when we spend our money on experiences rather than things, it can actually lead to increased satisfaction and wellbeing. 

So help your spouse out and make yourself happier in the process by suggesting he focus on experiential purchases. A gift certificate for a manicure, a pair of tickets to the theater, or a coupon for a skydiving trip (for the thrill-seeking readers out there!) might be in your future.

Remember: It Really Is the Thought That Counts

I get it, it’s a cliche. 

But if your husband knows that you truly care more about his intentions than the end result, it will take a lot of the pressure off. And that very may well lead to better gifts too. SCORE!


Is your spouse a good gift giver? What’s the best or worst gift you’ve ever received?

*I’m using male pronouns in this post because most of my readers are heterosexual females, but I recognize that this post applies to other sexes and types of couples, too!

27 Comments

  1. breadwinningmama
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 14:58:19

    My husband asks for a list. It just makes it easy for him. Sometimes I even give him the links, especially if it is clothes, but since I started doing this, it has helped him get my style.

    Reply

  2. Pamela
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 16:04:51

    My husband is actually a great gift giver and I’m the crummy one! haha! I love the question from 30 rock. I’m going to have to start using that myself.

    Reply

  3. workingonworkingmom
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 16:30:17

    My husband is an amazing gift giver. For our first Valentine’s Day he bought a little canvas and painted a replica of what is though to be the first valentine ever sent. He used to hate giving flowers, he thought it was a waste of money since they don’t last that long, but he has gotten great at actually giving them at the perfect time! We both give for Valentine’s Day, he always gives the nicer gift though.

    Reply

    • Katie M. McLaughlin
      Jan 23, 2015 @ 13:52:57

      He sounds like an amazing and thoughtful gift giver! Husbands, take note!

      Reply

  4. TOTS Family (@totsfamily)
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 17:55:39

    These are great tips. I am always specific, cause I know I am difficult to buy for sometimes.

    Reply

  5. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 21:54:36

    We actually don’t “do” Valentine’s day, but my hubby is a good gift giver in general. His default seems to be jewelry, but I’m not going to complain about that! 🙂

    Reply

  6. Lisa
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 22:39:39

    I’d love if my husband didn’t spend much money. He’s pretty good with gifts, but I’d prefer doing something fun.

    Reply

    • Robin Craig
      Jan 20, 2015 @ 13:44:35

      I’d always prefer to do something fun, too!

      Reply

  7. tamaralikecamera
    Jan 20, 2015 @ 09:51:30

    Cassidy is pretty great. One thing I want for Valentine’s Day is this essential oil kit. Sounds so hippie dippie but I find they work for winter germs. So my friend was joking that she’d tell him to get it for me!
    It sounded so 8th grade.

    Reply

  8. Robin Craig
    Jan 20, 2015 @ 13:53:21

    This is an awesome list! Giving a great gift can be so hard sometimes!

    We usually do something nice for each other, or do something fun together, rather than exchanging gifts. It keeps things pretty simple, which is nice.

    But I know how frustrating it can be to have someone spend money on something you don’t like. Thanks for helping avoid those awkward moments!

    Reply

  9. Rabia Lieber (@MamaRabia)
    Jan 20, 2015 @ 15:35:08

    My husband picks out great gifts. My problem is that he always buys things at the last minute and pays ridiculous shipping charges! I’m trying to hint about valentine’s day and my birthday early enough to get him moving on the gift selection ahead of time this year!

    Reply

    • Katie M. McLaughlin
      Jan 23, 2015 @ 09:30:05

      Oh those shipping charges are such a rip-off! He definitely needs to get on the ball earlier for the sake of your bank account!

      Reply

  10. Nina
    Jan 22, 2015 @ 10:29:09

    My husband’s pretty good at giving gifts. It’s never the cheesy or last minute type, and usually we even do a “joint” gift and just treat ourselves to a nice outing or activity. Less pressure for the both of us!

    Reply

  11. Dana
    Jan 23, 2015 @ 10:29:54

    My husband is not a good gift giver. I’ve learned that I need to be very specific, and I’ve told him that gift cards are okay. They let me treat myself to something I wouldn’t normally buy. I’ve tried to let go of the idea of him surprising me with the perfect gift; it’s not going to happen and I just set myself up to be disappointed.

    Reply

    • Katie M. McLaughlin
      Jan 23, 2015 @ 13:51:03

      Sometimes that really is the best solution, isn’t it? To just let it go!

      Reply

  12. suburbanhaikuPeyton
    Jan 23, 2015 @ 15:19:11

    My husband is so good at this–I think I’ve used all of these over the years. 😉

    Reply

  13. Jessica @ Absurd, She Wrote
    Jan 24, 2015 @ 22:33:36

    My husband is fantastic with anything homemade or thoughtful. Less in tune with any of the store-bought things I like. But that’s fine; if I really want a specific THING I ask for it. Otherwise, I like seeing what he comes up with, and if I can’t live without whatever, I’ll just get it for myself.

    Reply

  14. sarahkerner
    Jan 27, 2015 @ 10:32:26

    Who knew that Jack Donaghy was so wise?! My husband is not too great at giving gifts…he tries to be creative and thoughtful but sometimes it just turns out weird. Once he got me a worm farm for my birthday… like, a vermiculture kit to make compost for my garden. I was into gardening at the time (or trying to get into it — I’m hopeless) but seriously, worms for my birthday? Sometimes a girl just wants something pretty. =)

    Reply

  15. MC76
    Dec 29, 2015 @ 22:56:32

    My husband is so- so this Christmas was a flunk!
    He got me one of the gifts that I got him and a globe…. And some face cream that I asked for…. He says he is not creative … I say he needs to have more confidence.
    He can be creative and romantic if he wants to be….

    Reply

  16. CO
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 00:06:28

    My husband is a bad gifter. I know he loves me but he just does not translate to gifts. I have talked to him about it but he just ends up buying same perfume cos I raved about it the one time he bought it. I’m getting real upset n its affecting my mood. I try to let it go n buy these presents for myself (heck I bought a car for myself n he now rides it pleasantly with me!) Its Christmas n he didn’t get me anything. I feel so hurt. Especially when I see other ladies showing off what their man gave them on Facebook…..

    Reply

    • Katie M. McLaughlin
      Jan 02, 2017 @ 14:20:54

      I’m so sorry; this sounds like a terribly frustrating situation! When you talk to him about it, does he seem to understand that gift-giving is important to you? Perhaps it isn’t important to him, so he’s assuming it’s not important to you either.

      Reply

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