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by Teresa Opdycke
You're a man about to enter the Christmas twilight zone, also known as, shopping for the love of your life. Remember last year's rubber car mats gift you purchased at the automotive store the day before Christmas? Will you ever forget the die-now-littleman look you received when she peered inside the wrapping? Bone chilling…wasn't it? If you want her to see you as the man you are and the man she knows you can be, take heed and use the survival guide for man shopping.

Make a Plan
Do not wait to shop the day before Christmas. Get out the calendar and immediately mark a day for shopping. Look at the date. Sear it into your brain. Write it on every calendar you own, on your iPhone, your BlackBerry, and every Bluetooth gadget with a calendar. Pat yourself on the back, you've taken the first step toward…”Merry Christmas, darling.”

Make a list, mister. This is serious business and you have a lot to make up for last year's fiasco. You thought the smooth rubber car mat surrounded by a plush of carpet was a truly unique gift that she needed, but she thought you were an idiot. Start jotting down every thing she loves. Don't say you don't know. Think about it. What are her passions? What makes her weep with joy? What does she make time for because she loves doing it? Answer these questions and you'll have a good start on the perfect gift for your wife or girlfriend.
Gift No! No!
Do not even consider holiday shopping at automotive and big box stores. Rubber floor mats or anything mechanical must not enter your mind. If she needs it, she probably won't like it as a holiday gift. Forget the new washing machine or deluxe vacuum with extra power to suck up dog hair and the freckles off the cheeks of your children.

Save the sexy lingerie for Valentine's Day. When the family gathers around the tree to dive into unwrapping, the last thing your wife wants to do is open a gift in front of the children with a barely there thong and a push up bra nestled inside the box.

Do not think cheap. That means no cheap perfume, no cheap jewellery, and no cheap gifts. One well thought out, elegant gift beats ten cheap gifts every time. If money is tight it's going to take some extra thought to come up with a unique gift without a hefty price tag, but that's no excuse for buying cheap perfume that smells like your jock strap after an hour at the gym sprayed with an air freshener.

Just because you like it does not mean she will. Back away from the espresso machine you've had your eye on unless you're absolutely, positively, undeniably certain that she loves espresso and wants that machine more than life.

Put that baseball cap back on the shelf! You may love sports and she may enjoy watching a game or two with you, but if you value life and limb you will not purchase anything with a sport logo on it.

Stay out of the women's clothing department. Yes, you heard right. Unless you really know her style and size….and she told you in great detail the exact dress she longs for, you are in way over your head. If you should purchase clothing in a size bigger than what she wears you could find yourself in a dark place.

Gift Yes! Yes!
Now that you know what not to put on that list, start thinking in a more positive light. What do women love to unwrap on Christmas morning?
Jewellery tops the list of getting a lady's attention. If it sparkles and shines around her neck, her wrist, or catches the light from her earlobes you have a winner. Just keep in mind that the fake stuff might not be as appreciated.

Anything that pampers gets her attention. A gift basket of bubble bath, candles, a loofah, bath salts, or any number of personal care items for relaxing will delight her. Partner the gift basket with a beautiful plush robe. Add a note that you'll watch the kids while she relaxes in bubbles once a week and watch her face light up.

Gift her with a getaway. Purchase a day or weekend at a spa or hotel where she can go to relax and get away from it all.
Treat her to an event. You know her passions or you sure as heck better. Research tickets for the ballet, concerts, opera, theater, or whatever her favorite venue. Treating her to an evening out says, “I love you.”

Gift card extravaganza. Plop some money on the counter and give her a gift card to her favorite clothing store. If you're not sure which stores are he favorites, find out any way you can. Ask her mother, sister, or best friend. Someone will have the answer for you.

Think personal, luxury, pampering, and making her feel special along with anything that she loves doing. If tinkering in the kitchen tweaking recipes is her favorite past time find out what she longs for and make her dream come true. This is the one time when buying an appliance would be ok, just don't make it a habit.

If money is tight, think about your talents and how you could use them to make something unique and personal just for her. Only you know what that may be, but give it some thought and you're bound to come up with an idea that will please her more than rubber car mats.

Shopping Tips

Take a breather now that you've figured out the perfect gift for your significant other. Time's up, back to learning survival techniques for holiday shopping.

The great part of planning ahead and figuring it out before you hit the stores is that you'll spend less time actually shopping. Depending on the gift you choose, you may not even have to step foot inside a mall. Just in case a trip to the mall becomes a necessity, following survival tips for shopping.

•Don't forget the list.
•Start early…this means be standing at the door when it's unlocked.
•Be prepared with appropriate questions to ask sales associates.
•Reward yourself with a beer AFTER everything on the list is checked off. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders, and put on a determined face. You can do this!

Now that you know the tips from the holiday shopping survival guide you're ready to face the experience with courage and confidence. This year instead of hearing, “I don't want no stinkin' floor mats,” you'll hear coos of delight and a look of respect for the man that she loves.

Posted in feature |
Posted by Teresa Opdycke
18 Dec 2008

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What an excellent article!!! Within minutes I had a shopping date AND a list of very possible ideas. Well written and very thought provoking. I enjoyed reading it!! May your Christmas be blessed :o)
Rating: 5 / 5
by Giulio di Somma on 03 Dec 2009

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