Buying Gifts For The Opposite Sex

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What women really want for Christmas

by Jim Keyworth, Roundup staff reporter

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Karyn Nelson, with husband Rick, said her family is blessed to have what they need, so they adopt a family at Christmastime. But, she also said she liked it when Rick bought her something he'd heard her mention that she wanted during the course of the year. Rick said he wants a new bow for hunting.

Buying the perfect gift for the woman in your life need not be intimidating or embarrassing.

The perception is that women want jewelry and other forms of finery and frippery like lingerie and perfume and such. It's a notion fueled by advertisements promising great rewards to the man who provides his lady with, for example, a fine diamond ring.

One local radio commercial in particular decrees that when your woman passes out from sheer ecstasy after receiving a fine piece of jewelry on Christmas morning, you will get to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation "for as long as it takes." I don't know about other guys, but for me this is not an attractive outcome.

Now I'm not saying you should go out and buy the little lady a new vacuum cleaner or toaster. And a book about the latest diet craze is probably not the most tactful thing to put under the tree either.

Granted, there is great peril in trying to read a woman's mind, much less trying to fathom the female psyche, but I believe I have hit on a theme. From what I'm seeing on TV and reading in newspapers and magazines, the very most important thing to womandom these days is to be treated as an equal -- to be taken seriously and not minimized.

Therefore, it would logically follow that the best way to express your sympathy with that position at Christmastime would be to give that special female the very gift that you would most enjoy receiving yourself. In a word -- a four-letter word to be exact -- that would be CAMO.

To keep it simple, I have taken the liberty to do a little pre-shopping for you. Here are my recommendations, all available from HQ Gov't Surplus Headquarters (1-800-888-3006).

  • Used Swiss wool blanket from World War II ($19.97)

This gift, which literally reeks of history, will keep her thinking warm thoughts of you all winter long -- and maybe into her next marriage.

  • Blackhawk tactical knee and elbow pads ($18.97/$16.97)

From "the renowned leader in special operations equipment," these provide perfect protection for such "operations" as scrubbing the floor.

  • German military chef's hat ($12.97/2)

"Sound the dinner bell in style by looking the part," the copy says. Would also be a nice complement to the French maid's outfit you got her last year.

  • East German long john set ($11.97/2)

Something a little frivolous, just for her feminine side. Complete with "gusseted crotch" (whatever that is).

  • Camo net scarf ($12.97)

For those days when she doesn't have time to do her face. Complete with webbed nylon "veil," it could easily become the key component of a Muslim lady Halloween costume.

  • Waterproof all-weather camo suit ($99.97)

Makes her "look like another bush in the boonies" -- a nice wardrobe option to have, she's sure to agree.

You get the idea. If you stick with the CAMO theme, you can't go wrong.

Unless, of course, you find endless mouth-to-mouth resuscitation appealing.

Tires, electronics and hunting gear, oh my!

by Carol La Valley, Roundup staff reporter

Trying to figure out what little gift might bring a smile to a female friend's face is easy.

When choosing the perfect gift for my brother, my dad, my ex (when he wasn't) or a male friend I usually take the easy way out and buy CDs or sweaters or car wash coupons. I've found men are particular about their tools and I wouldn't dream of second-guessing what they might like in that arena.

The Christmas catalogs a single woman receives in her mailbox -- Female Creations, Williams Sonoma, Pyramid Collection, Music Box Shop ---are not conducive to shopping for a man.

‘Quiet women rarely make history' etched on a silver ring is not something a man would wear.

The latest cookie press will not thrill the stud who bench presses 250 pounds.

A man requesting, "Could you hold the light for me?" would not be amused if I held up a lamp that has mist coming out of it.

Even though it has items for men, I didn't see anything unusually order-worthy in L.L. Bean.

Since I've never seen a man tear a page out of a catalog, circle the item he wants and post it on the fridge, I suppose the easiest way for a woman to find out what a certain man wants for Christmas is to ask him directly.

But wouldn't that spoil the surprise?

Aren't good surprises fun?

So, the next best thing is to ask other men what they might like to unwrap while sitting next to the Christmas tree:

"Men want what men give women for their birthdays -- new tires for her truck," said Don Bradley.

Well, that is an easy surprise to pull off -- just borrow your honey's truck for the day, take it to his favorite mechanic and make sure those white walls are facing in, or is that out? Dang, I have to make a call. That will ruin the surprise ...

"If I've got to wear a tie, it has got to be a fun one," Richard Haddad said, adding that ties always are a good choice for his children to make.

Gift certificates to places like Best Buy or Fry's Electronics were popular answers, because I was told, "I know exactly the stereo or computer or Blue Tooth component I want. If I think it is too expensive, your gift certificate might give me the impetus to buy it."

Car wash coupons are not as thoughtful a gift as I thought. Apparently they are only OK if they are a stocking stuffer and the 13th or 14th gift.

Scott Wayland said he wanted Wisconsin cheese, specifically baby Swiss that he could leave out on the counter overnight until it became "soft and gooey and stinky and really tasty."

Smoked nuts and summer sausage were also gifts he would welcome.

Rick Nelson wants a new bow, a guide to lead him on a successful hunt and more time to spend hunting.

"Electronics," said Ray Baxter.

And apparently they can be of the radio-controlled variety.

Baxter's brother-in-law received a radio-controlled car for Christmas and he played with it all day long.

Trivia: The No. 1 response of the dozen men I queried, ones I quoted and ones I did not, was a three-letter word ending with "x" and starting with "s."

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