Every month brings a new potential holiday, special day or commemorative event to our homes and, therefore, a new opportunity to buy the wrong gift for the man or woman you love. From Valentine’s Day to anniversaries, Christmas to birthdays, gift-giving days lay on your calendar like land mines itching to explode.
While the right gift on any of these days can make you a hero in the eyes of your significant other, the wrong gift can make you a heartless, uncaring failure. In order to avoid being seen in an unflattering light, be sure to never buy your spouse or significant other the following five gift ideas.
1. A Pap smear or colon exam appointment: In December 2009, CBS launched a public service announcement campaign that said scheduling a Pap smear appointment for your wife was a “special” Christmas present. While it is nice to be concerned with the health and wellness of your spouse maybe you should save something like that for a regular day. Prostate exams, colorectal exams and Pap smears do not make good Christmas presents and they really kill the mood on Valentine’s Day. And given on a birthday, they can seem like an insulting reminder of advancing age, so don’t even go there.
2. Exercise machines or clothes: If your spouse is a real fitness buff then you may get away with giving them workout stuff as a gift but the average exercise-avoiding Joe may not respond so nicely. This gift could be misinterpreted as a hint that you think your lovely or handsome spouse needs to lose a few pounds. Most people don’t want to hear that any day, least of all on a romantic anniversary or holiday.
3. Snore-stopping nasal strips: If your spouse is snoring then nasal strips could help reduce the sleep-related breathing problems they have. But this is not an appropriate gift for a holiday—romantic or not. How about you buy yourself some earplugs instead? And, if you are actually worried about the health effects that snoring may have on your spouse, talk to them about it outside of any holiday, anniversary or birthday celebration.
4. A cookbook or grocery store gift certificate: There isn’t anything that says, “Cook my dinner, slave” as well as a cookbook or some grocery store gift certificates do. If your spouse has a real passionate interest in cooking then this might actually be a fun idea but otherwise, steer clear of the domestic duties as gifts.
5. A pet: Nothing says, “I love to obligate you” as much as a forced 10-20 year commitment to pick up poop and pee. Buying a pet is a serious endeavor because the purchaser is promising to provide better than adequate care for a living thing for as long as it lives. That means they will pick up its puke, feed it, put medicine in its eyes, ears or throat, play with it, exercise it—the list goes on and on. What the hell kind of gift is that?
The trick to giving the perfect gift on any holiday or anniversary is to give something that your spouse will like—not something that you WANT them to like. Think about their hobbies, passions and interests and, if all else fails, just take a few hours and spend time with them. Time is the gift that keeps on giving.