Confused about what to get the amazing lady in your life this holiday season? Start narrowing down your present options, because there are some things that the independent women DO NOT want you to give them. Unless she explicitly asks for something on this list, avoid these items at all costs or risk watching this year’s gift exchange plummet into a cringe fest of disappointment and relationship second guessing:
- A puppy. Or kitten, hedgehog, parakeet, or anything else that will turn your girlfriend into a pet parent. Basically, just stay away from anything that’s harder to keep alive that a cactus. This type of gift says, “I’ve decided to bind us together for years to come without asking you first,” and, “I don’t respect your lifestyle and responsibilities enough to consult you before I put a major time commitment on your plate.”
- A vacuum. No one appreciates a gift that suggest they should be spending more time conforming to obsolete gender roles, no matter how helpful or needed those items are.
- A StairMaster. Or treadmill, gym membership, etc. Body shaming and happy holidays don’t tend to go together. She deserves to be able to enjoy her Christmas cookies and bottles of wine without you bugging her about making “healthy” choices.
- Lingerie. Come on guys, her gift shouldn’t be added stress to be sexy for you. Lingerie might be nice as a “for no particular reason” gift, but on Christmas it’ll automatically come with a pressure to use it now, instead of whenever she might feel into it.
- Monogrammed towels. Or monogrammed anything. With monogrammed items, there’s a huge implication that you two are in it for the long haul. Don’t be surprised if she wants to hold on to her old towels slash exclusively use them until she’s had time to decide if she wants this relationship forever or not. You can’t assume she does just because you’re willing.
- A framed picture of yourself. “Aw, how sweet. I can’t wait to put this on my desk so I can stare at his face all day and let all my coworkers know that I’m taken,” said no woman, ever.
- Anti-aging products. Cool, now she knows you might not like her face in a few years. An independent woman will leave you before she changes for you, even if all you want to change is a few crow’s feet.
- A promise ring. Isn’t being together forever kind of supposed to be a group decision?
- An old shirt. Let’s be serious, that’s already hers to steal if she wants it. Try giving her something that isn’t just about the fact that she’s your girlfriend, because you should care about her other, more interesting qualities.
- Bridal magazines. Even if you’re engaged, this is still a gift no-no. Getting married is not her defining moment, and you don’t want to make her feel like it’s the only thing she’s up to that you value. She has a lot of other interests and hobbies you should be supportive of, because those things will still be around long after the wedding is over.
- Tickets for your favorite team/concert/movie. She won’t be overjoyed at the opportunity to be your plus one.
- I.O.U. coupons for things she can do for herself. Or, things you should be doing anyway. An I.O.U. to do the dishes? Maybe only after you exclusively eat off paper plates for a week.
- Cash. She makes her own money, genius. She’ll appreciate a gift that took a little thought and effort much more.
- Anything that’s actually a gift for yourself. No, just watching you be happy isn’t enough to make this a holiday for the record books.
- Candles and bath salts. She won’t appreciate generic presents that may or may not be re-gifted from last year’s office secret Santa. She won’t be happy that you apparently haven’t put any effort into getting to know her or the things she likes.
- A key to your place. She won’t consider your decision to move the relationship forward a gift, and that choice isn’t even yours to give. Again, getting more serious is a group decision, and relationship progress is a gift for both of you, not just the woman.