Okay, the holidays are still a ways away. But don’t tell Walmart! Christmas stuff lines the shelves. Yikes! And every year, the same problem arises.

Happy man with Santa red hat holding Christmas bags. Isolated on

And, well, this is some sort of cosmic joke—requiring men to actually shop for presents. There are those rare beasts who actually like and are good at it. They do exist. I’ve even known some of them. But most would rather wade through a mine field naked. And we all know how they value their private parts.


I had a boyfriend once who actually did all of his Christmas shopping the night before—at the Mart. Every bit of it. And he was a man of means, educated, and otherwise fairly normal for the male of the species. But he went through the aisles Christmas Eve, buying with abandon, spending boatloads of money, and always crowing about the great deals he got. He claimed to be a man of efficiency. Although I would question how well his sixteen-year-old niece was gonna like the Cabbage Patch doll, or some version thereof. Of course the answer was a baffled expression.


And baffled is how most of them are with shopping for gifts. The idea of planning rarely enters the picture. And we gotta remember these guys are hunters, rather than gatherers such as ourselves. They see, they shoot, they bag the game. Wooly Mammoth slain. With a satisfied smile.


Most of the married men I know let their wives do the shopping. One of my brothers does this. The other does his own and is actually good at it—getting personalized gifts I treasure. But he’s the rare animal out there.


I’m not saying spouses doing the shopping is a bad thing. Most of the time women gatherers make lists and buy nice gifts. They’re just usually not terribly personal. Give me one that says “Me” any day, no matter how odd the spouse sees it. One of my favs of recent memory is brother Gary’s gift of a seat from Cowboys’ stadium when they were tearing it down. Mine is authenticated and signed by Troy Aikman! For a lifetime Cowboys’ fan like me, ah! I’m sure my sister-in-law thinks we’re both nuts. And I have to confess most females would be unimpressed. But, ah!


For most of them though, you gotta give them some help. At least where your own gift is concerned. Even if he likes to shop, you better insert some subtle hints unless you’re comfortable with alpaca-wool-knitted caps from Peru. I am not making that up—one of my husbands gave me several one year. I have never worn a wool cap in my life. And I’m sure he spent a good deal of money on it. Oh, and another year I got a black-fringe jacket—I mean fringe, all over it. I could only see me as a pole dancer come on stage, to rip it off and reveal . . . Well, you get the picture. And I bet it cost a boatload too. Ten years later, it hangs in my closet in pristine condition. I’m many things but pole dancing has never struck my fancy, despite the recent craze.


Give him a list. I know, how unsexy is that. And so often women resist, resentful that their man can’t ‘know them well enough’ to buy a thoughtful gift. But honestly, their brains aren’t wired that way. One thing I learned (very well!) while writing Five Keys for Understanding Men, with my psychiatrist brother co-author (yes, the one who bought me the Cowboys’ seat! Ah!), is that men are wired way different from how we are. It’s the testosterone. Really. Poisons their wee brains shortly after conception but it gives us things we like too 🙂


And it’s not that they can’t change, but do you really want to push the river uphill? Some battles are worth fighting, even necessary. But presents . . . Or more to the point, expecting them to know what the female wants and will appreciate, well, energy can be spent more effectively in other areas.


Tell him what you want. Men do so well with that! Whether in the bedroom or from Saks, he’ll appreciate the heck out of it. And you’ll get what you wanted in the first place. What could be better?


Make it easy for him. Truly. It’ll make everybody happy. Two easy ways:
Have your man save a wishlist as a note on his phone. When he’s lost at Neiman’s, at the press of a button is your fav gift! Now he’s smiling.

Create an Amazon wish list he can choose from. Problem solved!


How do you get the men in your life through the holidays?


Leave a Reply