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Rob Jenkins: A family man's guide to gift-giving season

Rob Jenkins

Rob Jenkins

Gift-giving time is here again, guys, with Mother's Day right around the corner and, for many of us, anniversaries coming up next month. Fortunately, for those who have no idea what to get their wives -- which is to say, all of you -- I'm here once again with a column-full of helpful hints.

First, remember that buying your wife a gift doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money. It depends on what you've done.

Just kidding. Seriously, don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of giving gifts only to apologize. If you do, you'll never be able to give your wife anything without her wondering what you've done this time. She might be right to wonder, but it's definitely not to your advantage.

Consider, too, that the best kind of gift is one that is completely unexpected, given for no reason she knows of. A lot of guys send roses for Valentine's, but how many bring home daisies at the end of an otherwise unremarkable day? For that matter, how many guys know a daisy from a quadruped?

That kind of thoughtfulness will deposit into your relationship account copious amounts of goodwill, which you can later use to attend live sporting events.

Another characteristic of the ideal gift is that it's specific to some personal interest of your wife's. Anyone can buy flowers or candy or jewelry. A unique and thoughtful gift will communicate that you are actually in tune with her deepest longings, whether you are or not.

For example, if your wife is into mountain biking, then you can't go wrong with cool bike accessories: a personalized miniature license plate, a bulb horn for the handle bars, a colorful wicker basket. Or you could spend a little more and go for the rear-mounting child seat, so you won't have to babysit while she pursues her hobby.

If you're really lucky, maybe your wife is one of those women who collect porcelain figurines or stuffed animals. That can save hours spent agonizing over what to get her. Be careful, though, not to limit your gift buying solely to collectibles; there are some occasions for which a beanbag monkey simply isn't appropriate.

You must also be careful not to submit to the temptation of buying gifts you would like. I know many women would be thrilled with an NFL cable package, but your wife might not be one of them. Even lingerie can fall into this category, unless your idea of sexy nightwear is cotton flannel pajamas.

Of course, you might need to choose a more expensive gift for certain occasions, such as first Mother's Day, landmark anniversaries, and returning home from a week-long camping trip with your buddies. For those occasions, jewelry is almost always your best bet.

A custom-made mountain bike might also work, although it doesn't look nearly as stunning with an evening gown.

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility, available on Amazon and at Books for Less in Buford. E-mail Rob at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com or visit familymanthebook.com.