An Expert’s Guide To Buying The Perfect Gift For Her
Ms Kay Barron. Photograph by Mr Davide Annibale
Have you felt it yet? That sense of foreboding that creeps in around November, building to a crescendo of panic in mid-December. The realisation that you have no ideas at all. Not one. Christmas is hurtling towards you and you can’t think of one special thing to buy for that one special person in your life.
Let’s not become hysterical. The main trick of gift buying is to look like you had it all planned out. And it isn’t just about throwing money at it, although that isn’t necessarily frowned upon either.
First things first. Pay attention. What jewellery does she wear? What has she been dropping hints about for weeks (and believe me, they will have been dropped, if not thrown at you)? Who are her favourite designers? Look in her wardrobe if you don’t know, ensuring it’s the pieces she loves to wear, not what she hardly ever wears. I once received a vintage gold bracelet from a boyfriend who was so sure of his choice that he couldn’t wait until 25 December to give it to me. He was right. He had observed. He knew that I wore gold, rarely silver, saw that I preferred statement pieces to delicate. My love for the bracelet far outlasted my love for him, but when I wear it, I think of him (fondly, mainly). Which is what we are aiming for here.
Next up, hit up her friends. But choose wisely. She will have one friend whose taste she admires above all the rest and that is whom you target. Bring a list of ideas, do some research as the effort will be recognised, and trust their opinion. When it comes to gift buying, know that you don’t always know best and accept advice graciously. In the past, when I have advised friends’ boyfriends on gifts, the ones who listened were rewarded. The others I haven’t seen hide nor hair of since. Just saying.
This isn’t about what she needs. She can buy herself the things she needs. This is about what she wants. Note the difference. She might need a sensible work bag, but who wants to unwrap something sensible? That is an instant festive buzzkill. What you are looking for is the unexpected present that she instantly falls in love with. There is nothing quite like the feeling of opening something surprising and desirable that will put a smile on her face that cannot be faked. A fake smile will result in your gift being squirrelled away into a drawer and forgotten. Do you want to be associated with the thanks-but-no-thanks drawer? No, I didn’t think so.
Finally, if in doubt, keep the receipt and don’t be offended if she wants to exchange it for something else. Just don’t do it again. Once is forgivable. Twice is sloppy. Three times makes it look like you don’t know her at all.
Now go and look through her drawers. All in the name of research, of course.