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15 worst gifts for women

Shopping for that special lady in your life? While no two people are alike, there are some gifts worth skipping.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 13, 2012 3:42PM

This post comes from Amanda Geronikos at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News logoIt should go without saying that not everyone has the same idea of the perfect gift. There are men hoping for cologne and women longing for power tools.


But that won't stop us from having some fun with potentially horrible gifts for the woman in your life. Here's our tongue-in-cheek list of the 15 worst gifts:

1. Any appliance she didn't ask for

Unless she specifically asked for a waffle maker or blender, don't buy her one. Even women who enjoy cooking don't want to feel it's expected.


2. Clothes

Clothes are a no-no for several reasons. There's the size issue: If you get her something too big, she'll probably be offended; if you get her something too small, she might feel bad about herself.


There's also the issue of style. If a wardrobe makeover is what she wants, make a nice card promising to take her on a shopping spree with your cash.


3.  A framed picture of yourself

This "gift" is strangely common, based on personal experience and its presence on almost every "worst gifts" list out there. Nothing says you're self-absorbed like a framed photo of yourself posing like a model. And the picture of you when you were 6 years old? That's not cute either. A picture of the two of you doing something memorable is a much better gift idea.


4. Anything that can't be easily exchanged

If your significant other absolutely hates the expensive gift you bought her, be sure you can exchange it, for her sake and yours.


5. Diet or fitness products

Unless you're looking for trouble, don't buy her anything related to losing weight. The implication is that you're not satisfied with her the way she is.


6. Gifts for yourself

Buying her the new flat-screen TV you want and calling it a gift because she'll use it too doesn't work. Give her something she can appreciate and enjoy.


Image: Cage fighters © Mike Kemp, Tetra images, Getty Images7.  Tickets to sporting events

Your significant other might tolerate, or even like, baseball or football. But unless she's a die-hard fan, skip the tickets to sports events. Tickets to the ballet or a Broadway musical (unless, of course, she hates those things) are a better option, and you'll get bonus points if you go with her. Choose something you might not normally attend, and she'll appreciate it even more.


8. Tacky novelties

She's not going to be as amused by that singing coffee cup as you were when you spotted it at the store. Unless there's an inside joke behind the novelty gift, and it's in addition to a larger gift, this is a bad idea.


9. Perfume

If she asked for Elizabeth Arden's newest fragrance, by all means, buy it. Otherwise, stay away from the perfume counter. She might hate the fragrance you choose, or worse, she might be allergic to it.


10. Cash

Remember the "Seinfeld" episode in which Jerry gave Elaine cash for Christmas? Elaine got mad, as will the lady in your life if you give her this thoughtless gift.


11.  Cosmetics (including wrinkle cream)

It's almost unbelievable that men buy women wrinkle cream as a gift. I once heard about a woman who received wrinkle cream from her boyfriend when she was 22. It's also weird to buy a woman makeup. Just stay away from the cosmetics department.


12. Alcohol

A bottle of wine is nice for a housewarming party, but it's not quite as classy when you give it to a woman as a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift.


13. Flowers

Flowers are appropriate at certain times, but the holidays call for something more thoughtful and longer-lasting.


14.  Last year's gift

She loved the one-hour massage you bought her last year, but she's expecting something different this year. Even if you have a hard time remembering the details of last year's gift, chances are she hasn't forgotten.


15. Candy

Many women love chocolate,  but it's just not a sufficient gift at the holidays. Use it as a stocking stuffer, and put some more thought into a larger gift she'll appreciate.

More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
Dec 14, 2012 3:53PM

Cash means I really don't give a sh!t and I can't be bothered to make an effort.


As a woman, I like football, hockey, ballet and Broadway. This article is a bit sexist.

Dec 14, 2012 3:43PM

I fondly remember the year my husband presented me with one wiper blade for my car for Christmas. Yes. Just one. Ahhh...


But you know what? He's a darn fine husband, a hard worker, a great dad, and I'm thrilled that he's mine. We have a lot of happy years together. So what if his gift buying skills are a little off. The presents are not what make the relationship.

Dec 14, 2012 3:12PM
Dec 14, 2012 1:35PM
BioJenn - You hit the nail on the head. It is the thought that counts and, unfortunately, they're not always good.   I remember one Christmas I had been dating this guy for nearly a year. His best friend was going through a bad divorce, which clearly affected him. He made  it quite clear that he would never get married. Ok, I wasn't exactly hearing wedding bells myself, but I thought we were at least in a serious relationship. Then come Christmas, everything from the card to the gifts were nothing but tacky gag gifts. I tried to write it off that he appreciated my sense of humor, but when he went out for New Year's he flirted with every girl in the place.  At that point I realized what those gifts meant - that our whole relationship was one big joke. I left the bar without even telling him goodbye and never heard from him again.
Dec 14, 2012 1:11PM

On the tickets to sporting events thing. Really MSN? How sexist are you really? I am the big sports fan in my marriage. Not him. I love my NFL and NASCAR more than any guy I know. If my guy bought me tickets to a Patriots game or a NASCAR race he would be my hero. MSN is automatically assuming that women don't care for sports. Cannot stand Ballet or Opera. Give me the roar of the crowd, the sound of 43 engines coming to life and the smell of hot dogs and beer of the girly crap anyday. And yes, I am a girly girl. Not a butch by any means. Just love sports.


Dec 14, 2012 11:29AM
My darling hubby always gives me a gift certificate to my favorite salon for a day of pampering, including hair, nails, massage, facial, etc. My best friend's hubby does the same for her and we go together. Also, he gives me a trip every Christmas - I never know where until the 25th and it is always a grand surprise - this past christmas - a trip to France, Italy and England which we took in May. It's going to be hard to top that!!!! But I am hoping for a trip to Florida or the Caribbean, as he knows I love love love the beach.  :) He puts something sparkly in my stocking (we do not do expensive stocking stuffers - sometimes just a lovely piece of costume jewelry). So nice to know that you will love without reservation the gift a loved one gets you. He gets clothes, tools, and other man things. If someone can give a hint to something more exciting please do tell - he never tells me what he wants - usually buys it himself LOL
For anyone who would like to hear from the older generation gals. For gifts, why not just ask us?Appliances? Marvelous if we need a new /replacement. Sometimes we're "making do" with an older model or one that's on it's last legs. Gift cards! Please do! They allow us to purchase something we need/want later on. Perfume? Please don't unless we specifically mention we want a particular one. Cosmetics? You're walking on shaky ground there my friend. Best give it a pass unless, again, we've asked for a specific type. Clothes. Wow. There's an explosion waiting to happen. Don't do it unless you absolutely KNOW what size/style/brand she wears. Nothing worse than getting a darling sweater we've been eyeing and finding out it's too small or worse, too big. Remember, different manufacturers means sizing differences. Jewelry is iffy at best. Here's a hint if you just have to get some? Check whether she wears gold, white gold, silver, stainless steel or platinum. Crazy as it sounds, at lot of times, we wear one or the other almost exclusively. Chocolates now, are a safe bet  if you know she eats them but again, she'll have her favs. Best to find out what it is. 
Dec 14, 2012 1:52AM
One of the worst gifts I ever got was... diamond earrings. Seriously.
It was our first Christmas after we got married. We were broke, but he insisted on buying gifts. I love earrings, especially big or unusual ones. I have long hair, so always dangling styles or hoops. I have no interest in whether or not the stones are real, and I don't wear expensive ones because I'm terrified I'll lose one.  And he knew all of this, because I told him.
So he bought me a pair of tiny little diamond studs in gold. Not my style, or metal preference, or "me" in any way. They were what he wanted me to want. Told me they were more age-appropriate than what I usually wore, and that he didn't want me wearing fake stones. It wasn't just that they weren't to my taste, it was that his reasoning was just offensive. And he conveniently lost the receipt.

So my point here is, get to know the person and find out who they are and what they like. You're not buying it for yourself, so don't buy it because you like it. Get what they like, even if you hate it. Don't use a gift as a subtle means of manipulating someone to what you want them to be.

Dec 13, 2012 9:10PM
Booze - I'll take a good bottle for Xmas! And don't forget the champagne!
Dec 13, 2012 8:56PM
Maybe women shouldn't be so picky and get wrapped up in a gift. I've gotten gifts I don't like before but it wasn't a big deal. Clothes, cologne, and cash, some of which I liked and some of which I didn't. I didn't get all emotional about it. You wonder why guys aren't big on gifts? There is so much pressure to get the "right" thing that it takes absolutely all of the fun out of it.
Dec 13, 2012 8:30PM
In other words, only jewelry you can't afford is what she wants.  What a maroon!
Dec 13, 2012 8:29PM
How about a card with a picture of a beach in it and an inscription that says " How about a beach getaway in February My Darling?  How about Jamaica??
Dec 13, 2012 8:25PM
For instance if you don't know how to purchase a gift for a woman, ask your sister or her girlfriend.  Do not, I repeat, do not buy cheap gaudy underwear for your girlfriend because that is another gift for you.  Don't buy vacuum cleaners, or anything else for the house unless she asks, and never buy gifts that are not appropriate for a woman of your girlfriend's age such as dolls or cutsey items that a little girl would enjoy.  A cashmere sweater is nice if you know her size or a pair of gold or silver earrings or a charm  for her bracelet if you can afford it.  Make sure it is real gold or silver and get a gift receipt in case she doesn't like the style.  If you can't afford something simple from the fine jewelry department, don't buy jewelry unless it's a stocking stuffer.  Also, don't be too pushy with a ring or other valuable piece of jewelry unless your relationship is far enough along to warrant that gesture.  A small token is enough for a budding romance.
Dec 13, 2012 8:19PM
As a woman, I'd actually be pretty happy to get hockey tickets for Christmas. Of course, I'd have to settle for college or AHL hockey because the NHL can't seem to resolve the stupid lockout. And if someone bought me tickets to a ballet I'd sell them on eBay because I think ballet is stupid and boring. Broadway tickets might be pretty cool, but it'd depend on what musical they were for. 
Dec 13, 2012 7:56PM
I think it depends on the nature of your relationship and how long you've been together.  I actually agree with most of the items on this list.  To me it's more that you put some thought and effort into the gift than how much it costs.
Dec 13, 2012 7:41PM

Best male gift given by my brother in law to my sister: a new coach wallet stuffed with gift cards to her favorite stores, gift card to a restuarant,  gift card to her favorite spa, cash and a "gift certificate" for a Saturday off from being mom to be able to use her gift cards. She was in 7th heaven! 

Dec 13, 2012 7:37PM
Uh once again this list sucks. If a man knows his woman well enough he can pick out clothes and perfume. I love flowers and chocolate.
Dec 13, 2012 7:33PM
what ever happened to the gift of love? Don't buy this, Don't buy that...c'mon people, you don't have to buy presents. That is not what christmas is about. And if you have to consult some stupid list on the ins and outs of what to get someone who you supposedly care about, then you probably don't care as much as you think you do. Just doing something nice for someone is always a good idea.
Dec 13, 2012 7:21PM
I've always found that my lady friends over the years never had a complaint with my favorite gift which is a cruise or a resort in one of the islands ! Try it they love it !
Dec 13, 2012 7:16PM

All of the women I know, would love tickets to a sporting event.  Of course, it would have to be a good sport. 

My Mother always gave clothes to her Mother. 


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