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Gifts for women – more of a poll than a blog

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ads like this were common when women were the only ones expected to use household appliances. You wouldn’t see such a campaign today.

Ignoring the “crying to get what you want” image described here, I was wondering how women (or even men) feel today about PRACTICAL gifts.

Food processor or a piece of jewelry?
A dustbuster or a sweater?
A bicycle helmet or perfume/aftershave?

After 45 years of marriage, there’s not much DH & I need for the house that we don’t just buy when replacement is necessary, so this never comes up in our lives now.

In the past, however, we did give EACH OTHER stuff for the house. We were a thrifty, practical couple. Personal gifts were small things like a coffee mug with a meaningful image and caption. When we wanted/needed a jacket, suit or dress, we bought it ourselves. We often shopped for it together for an opinion. It just never arrived as a gift. Oh, maybe a tie or a scarf did, but it was always just a little something extra.

DH once gave me a “Rosie the Riveter” T-shirt for Christmas. This WWII era icon once told women “we can do it.”

Then there was the year that DH & I each got a “crown” for Christmas, expensive ones too. The dentist put them in our mouths after we each broke a tooth in the same week.

So how do you all decide what to buy your significant other and how do you feel about the type of gift you get and the media messages to entice you to buy?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Can I first say that I really like that dress in the hoover add? just get me that dress... oh wait, I should know how to sew it right?

    anywho... It's a source of personal amusement that I really like getting practical gifts. I was given a sewing machine for high school graduation, I got my first vacuum cleaner as a christmas present, I've also gotten cookware, dishes, and other home goods birthday/christmas gifts. And I've always been super happy about it - because it means that I don't have to worry about gathering up largeish sums to pay for those things, and I can relax and go buy myself a drink or a fun pair of shoes or fabric to go with that sewing machine :-p

    My FH and I don't usually exchange gifts so much - mostly because it's all coming out of the same money pool anyway, so if I can't afford it for myself - he can't afford it for me either and vice versa. We will be extra nice to each other though, I like to cook something special or pick up a 6 pack of his favorite hard cider, simple little things.
    1796 days ago
    Although our past gifts ran the gamut from practical to silly, we are at the point of wanting to downsize. Our gifts to each other now tend to be gifts of time: a weekend in a B&B, a massage (we learned couples massage years ago), a special meal....
    1799 days ago
    me, I still want to be surprised, I usually drop a few hints, but never sure and my DH always shows me on line usually exactly what he wants, I order it and it comes and I put it under the tree, if it fits. but always a small surprise too.
    1799 days ago
    My husband and I don't really exchange gifts. We make wish lists and buy things that we want when our budget permits and use the money we save by not buying gifts for every little holiday to travel more. Even for Christmas, I tend to just buy silly little things that we need anyway like toothbrushes to fill up our Christmas stockings so we have something to open up in the morning. Might not sound very romantic, but we sure have a blast together, so it clearly hasn't taken a toll on our relationship, lol!
    1799 days ago
    We don't tend to exchange gifts because we're so broke, but I was excited for the vacuum I got this christmas! That was mostly because the old one broke and I really needed one. It only takes a "can we get this?" for my husband to say yes, but he's not as strict with money as I am.

    We tend to buy the fun stuff we want when we want it, it's easier on us because we know exactly what we want.
    1799 days ago
    I'm a mom and grandmother who's never been married, so I can't speak to the husband aspect, but my daughter and I have kind of evolved into asking for what we want for Christmas. Last time it was a Fitbit for me and some special earrings for her. I feel better about spending a little more money for one thing she really wants than less money on more things that don't have much impact. Same for me on the receiving end. I personally don't need any more earrings!
    1799 days ago
    It depends on the "practical" gift. As for clothes, I could care less about them. Clean and decent, is all I ask. If I need something special I find it myself. I like thrift stores. LOL. A vacumn? No, thanks. If I got that for a gift I'd say, let's forget gift-giving. I do ask now and then for something specific, but I prefer something that has thought behind it. It doesn't have to be expensive. Things like a coffee mug "made" online with special family (or pet) photos I love, or a night out. When DH and I were engaged he gave me a gift of multiple night out tickets to dinner/show on the showboat (no longer in operation emoticon ) That was wonderful and we got to enjoy it over the entire year. I've made things for our families and a friend- mixes in a jar- that help them out on busy days, etc. I like personal, thoughtful gifts. It could be free, like help cleaning something I might have trouble doing. It's about the thought, not the $.
    1799 days ago
    My husband often buys himself his own xmas presents on Black Friday if things are on sale. I make a list of things I want, usually a combination of practical and not practical. I have had things like a heating pad, computer games, and a favorite book on my list recently. He will want dvds, tools, usually a new bag, etc.. Our daughter wants something homemade lately, as well as Barbies etc. She does not want clothes or anything practical. Seems like the 2 of them view practical things as "necessities" and not gifts. I will ask for practical things as gifts though because I am more aware of our budget than they are.

    We did get a new vacuum from a friend for a wedding gift and we still have it 10 years later.
    1799 days ago
    1799 days ago
  • DR1939
    We sometimes give practical gifts, sometimes surprise gifts. Nowdays it is hard to find something we don't have that we want.
    1799 days ago
    What a good topic! How a couple gifts each other is revealing of their relationship.

    Bill and I have a pretty practical relationship. For Christmas (the only big gift giving time for us), I'll tell him what I want, and he'll get it pretty soon thereafter. And I DID ask for a household appliance this year, which I wouldn't buy for myself because it's expensive, and expensive on an ongoing basis. It's actually one of the items in that ad, too: a Keurig COFFEE MAKER! Keurigs are the gifts that keep on taking. This is one of the most indulgent household appliances I've ever had, because the K-cups cost so much more than ground coffee. I always prefer to ask specifically for stuff, then be surprised if I end up getting it.

    I still insist on trying to figure out cool gifts that Bill really wants, but doesn't know it, because I kind of believe in the "mind-reading" quality of gift giving--that you know the other person so well that you can surprise them with a delightful gift that they never would have thought of. This hardly ever works out--except the time I surprised him with an all-day deep-sea fishing trip. Generally, though, I'd do better just going along with the thing he really wants that I don't understand at all, like this year's online shortwave radio.
    1799 days ago
    After 40 years of marriage when Christmas comes around we ask each other what they'd like or what we together might want. This year I wanted a new vacuum. He usually want musical gear. Birthdays are the same. But there's always a small surprise in the mix somewhere. And one Christmas it was a radiator and water pump for the car, and nothing else.
    1799 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/17/2013 10:16:47 AM
    Maybe I'm a romantic...30 years married but there are definitely gifts that help me have a special day. Here are some of them: a rose picked from our yard and put in a vase on the counter for me to see first thing when I get up, silly poems (I mean silly - my husband has to work at these to find rhyming words that say he took time to think of me), handpick bouquets of wild flowers when we are out camping.
    1800 days ago
    The media examples you gave were demeaning and encouraged stereotypes. Having said that, I have bought my wife practical gifts when she wouldn't buy it herself because it was "too expensive." I've also hinted for and received tools as gifts - a real necessity when I was building our cabin. Nowadays, though, we're a lot like you and your DH - if we need something, we buy it (usually together). The personal gifts are small and meaningful. We just appreciate having each other!
    1800 days ago
    We don't do gifts--it seemed that we were just acquiring stuff we didn't need. Instead we give to charities and volunteer together. Of course a random small item might appear every now and then but we cherish the small things.
    1800 days ago
    I have to tell my hubby exactly what I want, and we just do that at Christmas so the rest of the family can see us opening something for each other. It doesn't matter if it's practical or not if it's something I want, which isn't much anymore. Also, we don't spend over a couple hundred dollars on anything without discussion. Those ads on TV about surprising a spouse with a new car at Christmas is appalling. If my husband bought a car without discussing it with me I'd be furious.

    I used to wonder why tv advertisers prized that 25-45 year old cohort, but now I know. We older people just don't buy that much, affordable or not.
    1800 days ago
    Interesting dilemma (and historical ads!)

    Like many others, SWMBO and I figure out ahead if we NEED anything, then augment that with surprise gifts. She wanted/needed a new crockpot at XMAS, so I ordered her up a real Gucci one from Amazon....then surprised her with a Crockpot carrying case too which she thought was cool.

    Mostly our gifts veer towards books...cookbooks, some fiction, history, whatever we're into at the moment
    1800 days ago
    I wouldn't mind household appliance for gifts, The perfume--I wouldn't want it--wouldn't wear it. Perfume is the hardest and worse thing to buy for a person. Every scent smells different on different people.
    1800 days ago
    We've been married 30 yrs, and we have everything we need. But I have received practical gifts for Birthdays in the beginning years, and was thrilled to get them because I am a grateful person and appreciated it. But now if something breaks we just replace as needed.
    1800 days ago
    We just ask each other what we would like. Sometimes it is pratical stuff. Usually we dont get each other to much since we just go get what we want anyways..
    We have everything we need.. We'll be married 40 years in May...
    1800 days ago
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