If it's truly the thought that counts when it comes to giving gifts, why do guys give their wives candle holders and toaster ovens? Husbands everywhere agree that giving gifts requires the talent and expertise of Martha Stewart. (Imagine finding unique gifts for her.) But we're guys; what do we know? So, while your gift may not get you into the Husband Gift-Giving Hall of Fame, by following the simple steps, you'll improve your odds and give your betrothed a gift with meaning.

  1. Determine Your Budget

    Now add another twenty percent. This is your wife after all and if she were your girlfriend, like she once was, you'd spare no expense. Show her she's still your girlfriend.

  2. Pick Something She Wants

    Although the selection of gifts is a highly individualized affair, there are some simple guidelines to help ensure you won't appear to have received gift-giving advice from a misogynous fortune cookie. When choosing gifts for a romantic occasion -- and, all occasions are potentially romantic -- small appliances and time saving household cleaning aids will not keep you out of the doghouse. Anything with lace is a safe choice, unless it's attached to flannel. Perfume is a favorite, but avoid bargain-priced scents in gallon-sized containers. Jewelry is an excellent choice, but make sure your definition of "jewelry" is the same hers. Semi-precious stones studding a leather wristband or dog collar might not be what she had in mind. Other gifts to steer clear of is dinner at a restaurant with a drive-thru, any videotape or movie that you would like to see, and anything that you would say "just kidding" after she opens it.

  3. Know Her Size

    If the gift you finally decide upon comes in a variety of sizes, picking the right size is just as crucial as picking the right gift - especially clothing. Don't shop without her measurements. Truth is, there is no winning here. Unless you absolutely know her size, you could be heading for disaster. Think about it. If you buy a dress that's too small, she'll interpret that to mean that you are "asking" her to lose weight. If it's too big, she'll think that you see her as a size larger than she really is. If it's just right... it won't be just right. Better to take her shopping to her favorite clothing store, like Ann Taylor, Betsy Johnson, DKNY, Macy's and ask her to choose a dress. When she can't decide between 2 or 3 dresses, buy them all. Or, better still, come back a day later and get the other 2. You can't lose. She picked them out. That's how you buy clothing gifts for your wife.

  4. Allow Time for Shopping

    Although this seems self-evident, you'd be surprised how many men absent-mindedly delay buying gifts, even when they've known for weeks that the special day was fast approaching. Never tell the sweet object of your affections that you could have gotten her the perfect gift if only you had more time. Instead, react with shock, "You mean, it wasn't delivered yet?" Then, storm out of the house under the pretext of resolving the problem, drive as though your sleeping arrangements will be on that sofa for the next three months to the nearest store and buy whatever they sell. Oh, and make sure it's delivered by UPS the same evening even if it's a gift certificate for dry cleaning.

  5. Choose Your Moment Carefully

    The moment you give your loved one the most sensual gift, in the right size and elegantly wrapped can still be shattered if you present it to her while she's on the phone. You might as well have tossed out all those hours of shopping, hard-earned cash and hopes of a romantic evening right with that hairball. Instead, be sure to set the mood for the successful presentation of your gift by sending the kids to bed, dimming the lights, and uncorking the properly chilled bottle of wine before a roaring fire. Depending on your lady, standing around the barbecue grill with a six-pack could work just as well.

    And finally, the sixth and most important step:

  6. Save the Receipt

    You might as well tape it to the gift box. She's probably going to return it anyway. But remember, it's the thought that counts.

Recommended Gifts: