Smart SpendingSmart Spending

5 dumb gifts for women

Shopping for that special woman? Here are the top 5 gifts to avoid and 5 more you should consider.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 2, 2011 1:48PM

This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyGuys, do you want to ruin your holidays in the shake of a reindeer's tail? Then give the woman in your life a gift she won't just hate but will cause her to question the very foundations of your relationship. This is the risk you take when you don't think long and hard before choosing a gift for your girl.

In the video below, Stacy Johnson offers five bad gift ideas for women. Check it out, then read on for more tips to avoid striking out this holiday season.

Staying away from bad gifts isn't hard. Let's take a closer look at Stacy's top five worst gifts, and another five I'd recommend for a better result.

Stacy's top 5 bad gift ideas for women
  • Anything that belongs in a kitchen. Women may cook and they may even enjoy doing it, but no woman wants to feel that it is expected of her. It may be natural for some guys to see their wife in the kitchen and think she might enjoy an apron or some new gadget. If you ever get this urge, file it away in the same place where you keep the desire to put your feet on the coffee table.
  • Clothes. Clothing is another minefield that you just don't want to cross. Between finding the right sizes and pleasing her tastes, there are just too many ways to get this wrong. Stacy suggests offering to take her on a shopping spree, but if that idea scares you, a gift card to her favorite store is another way to let her indulge her passion for clothes without taking uncomfortable risks.
  • A framed picture of yourself. Hopefully this idea doesn't tempt you, but there are still guys (and girls) out there who have done it. A framed picture can be a great gift that shows creativity and effort; just include others so it's not all about you.
  • Anything that has to do with losing weight. If there is one tip that probably applies to all women throughout the world, this is it. Like spending time in the kitchen, some women may look forward to exercise, but they don't want anyone suggesting they need to lose weight. The implication is that you are not satisfied with her the way she is, and that goes against everything that gift giving is about.
  • Anything that can't be easily exchanged. One of the great things about the retail industry in America is that most merchants offer some kind of return policy. When it comes to giving gifts, take advantage of this benefit. Despite your best efforts, you may still end up giving her a gift that doesn't work out, so be sure she can return it without too much effort.
5 gifts that (nearly) always work
  • Jewelry. Unlike clothing, almost any piece of jewelry will fit. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on diamonds. Just look for something in the style she prefers, and try to stay away from imitation stones. A nice pair of earrings or a pendant can be purchased for under $100, and you will get extra points for finding a hand-crafted piece.
  • Spa and massage sessions. What woman doesn't want to be pampered? This is a gift card idea with a difference, so do your research on sites like Yelp so you can truly say you made the effort to find the best place.
  • Bath gift sets. If you want to enable her to indulge herself but still give her something tangible, think about a gift basket filled with items from a fragrance and beauty company. These affordable gifts will really make a splash at bath time.
  • Show tickets. From the ballet to her favorite band, consider giving her a pair of tickets to an event she might not have been willing to splurge on. Be prepared to make it a night out together, or suggest that she take her best friend.
  • Travel gifts. Anything that a woman can use on a vacation is a great idea for the same reason that kitchen-related gifts don't work. A travel pillow or a new piece of luggage will bring a smile to her face as she thinks of your next vacation together -- especially if a vacation is a part of the gift.

More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

Dec 2, 2011 3:40PM

Well my wife asked for Wii fit for Christmas and I know for a fact that she would never be offended if someone got her a Kitchenaid stand mixer so those 2 points are wrong.  Also I know she wants a new bath robe and know exactly what kind to get her, and that size isn't critical.


She also doesn't wear much jewelry, go to spas or shows and would kill me if I made vacation plans without asking her first.


Stacy ought to change the name of the article to "5 Things You Should and Shouldn't by Me"

Dec 2, 2011 11:46PM

Bad advice. Women are no different than men in that we  too have our passions, our hobbies and indulgences. Not all women want jewelry or spa gift certificates nor to all men want sports related gifts and Wall Street Journal subscriptions! Jewelry and spa certificates are thoughtless gifts to this women. I love to cook and bake, and I'm gym rat, so I love receiving kitchen appliances or gadgets, and would love a gym membership. thanks, I'd rather have a Hobart mixer! Gift giving isn't a gender thing, it's a "know your loved one" thing.

Dec 3, 2011 2:09AM


If they really were rare there would not be five fine jewelry stores in every mall.

They are ridiculously priced. Ooooooh my finger is shiny! Please!

For the  amount of money one would spend on a "modest" diamond -one could go swimming with a Whale Shark in Belize.


Guys- Give a memory.

Ignore those CONSTANT radio ads that claim EVERY woman wants a diamond.

They sit upon a throne of LIES.Smile

Dec 2, 2011 11:29PM
Bath gift sets are the worst. My daughters hate them. They are usually things that have a bad scent or just not the stuff we use. I wouldn't want a massage either. One of my favorite gifts was a Mixmaster Stand Mixer. This year I am getting a cordless weed eater, and I am really excited! I would also be excited to get a new treadmill or elliptical. Just pay attention to the person you are buying for!
Dec 2, 2011 2:00PM

I disagree with some of the don'ts.  I love getting goodies for the kitchen and don't see it as the expectation that I cook, but as recognition of something that I enjoy doing and someone's thoughtfulness regarding making tasks easier or allowing me to explore a new technique I have expressed interest in.  I enjoy getting clothes and items tied to working out as well. 

You can definitely have too many "bath sets/products", that is the go-to "I don't know what to get this female" gift in my family.

As always, if you are buying or making a gift for anyone in your life, the most important thing to do is to think about that person and their interests.  It isn't about you, so a broad-brush list based on gender is a bit weak.

Dec 5, 2011 11:11AM
This list may be true for some women, but not for me ... I don't care for jewelry (waste of money), or bath stuff (I'm *still* getting through all the stuff I bought in high school 10 years ago), and past Christmas/birthday presents have included plenty o' kitchen stuff.  In fact, this year the only two things I want are a food processor and a double stroller.  Just know your woman and get her the kinds of things she wants.
Dec 5, 2011 9:43AM
I have my eye on a brand new, top o the line bread machine!  I was given a massage once, went to it, felt great while I was getting the massage but the feeling was gone as soon as the massage ended.

There is nothing wrong with talking to your lady and finding out what she would like.  I personally don't expect my husband of 24 years to read my mind. Especially since I change my mind sometimes. :)

Dec 2, 2011 10:03PM
this might have been true....30 years ago.  on all points.  i know my wife's size, "like under 25", i know her likes and dislikes.  she also would get upset if i made plans without her knowing, unless she has hinted at her desired vacation spot, in which case, she would just tell me that is where she wants to go.  as for kitchen appliances, i am a chef, so i would love any kitchen gadget, since i do the cooking.  you really need to get with the times.  and so do the editors, why the hell do i read these things.  unreal.  oh, and grow up mr murillo.
Dec 3, 2011 12:13AM
This post is soooo stupid. Stop thinking you know girls cause you dont. I wouldnt be offended by any of the things on the "dont" list and on the "do" list I be annoyed by everything (execpt the massages:D) So before you just go off thing you know ladies, Get your facts straight! Lmao
Dec 5, 2011 11:54AM
The gifts on the "(nearly) always work" list come off to me as generalized and not requiring much thought, while getting your lady (or whomever) a gift from the "bad gift ideas" list seems like it would take careful consideration and, hence, would mean more in terms of effort.  A man who really takes the time to know his significant other should have no problem knowing what to get her and, if he does have doubts, he shouldn't be afraid to poke and prod a little bit to find out.
Dec 3, 2011 1:50AM
this is a ad ..hello..they just want men to buy items they push..
Dec 5, 2011 11:48AM
I don't know about the rest of you guys but hell yeah I would love to get a new diamond ring or be treated to a spa or get a coco chanel perfume or a coach handbag....things like christmas and my birthday only come once a year....things like a bread maker or a vacuum or whatever other item needed in the home needs to be purchase any weekend that my husband and I are at Target. What's so sexy about receiving cooking appliances on my birthday or christmas....geez. Next thing you know you'll be getting a tub of OxyClean lol...
Dec 9, 2011 11:03AM
Hate to burst your bubble, but as some others have pointed out, this is bad advice! I love kitchen gadgets!  And while he may strike out with clothes, he could probably pick out a nice accessory, like a nice scarf or hat (I've been really into hats lately).  And if he got me a gift certificate for a training session at my gym or if you knew your lady wanted to join a gym but didn't want to pay the registration fees, those are nice gifts!  The gifts on the do list are so impersonal.  I would be a little annoyed if my husband got me a bath gift set, there's no thought at all!  Plus, picking out scents for someone can be pretty dicey, unless you already know what they like.  A spa gift certificate wins any day over this.  I also do not want a travel pillow!  Are you kidding me?  Luggage, maybe, but only if you've expressed that there is a piece you would really like.  You know their interests, find something that fits that.  For instance, I took up running this past year and I would love more appropriate attire for cold weather and night time running.  So if I got thermal running gloves or a safety vest, I'd love it, and I'm sure she would have put that on the don't list.  And we're getting the kids a Wii for Christmas, so if he got me a Wii Fit, that'd be awesome!
Dec 2, 2011 11:38PM
A pail, a mop, and a scrub board would also be nice.
Dec 2, 2011 9:44PM
I've found that a new vacuum cleaner is always a good gift... or apron..... the main idea is to keep them busy.... idle hands are the devil's playground
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.