Buying a gift for a woman can throw even the most confident man off his game.

After all, buying gifts is often a task left to women, which means men don’t always have a lot of practice when it comes to present-buying. As great as it might be to have your wife or girlfriend pick out all the gifts for your family members when their birthdays roll around, this isn’t going to help you much when it’s time to buy something for her.

However, this is a skill that every man should possess because gifts are a great way to show your love and gratitude for the woman in your life. And while not every woman will want something flashy, it’s important to keep in mind that a man who is a thoughtful gift-giver will be far more desirable to a woman than one who neglects this important aspect of relationships.

Whether it’s her birthday, your anniversary, or you just want to surprise her with something to let her know you care, there are some guidelines you should always keep in mind if you want to do it right. Here’s some advice that will raise the chances of making your gift and its presentation successful.

What to give

First, let’s clear one thing up right away: Your gift does not have be a big-ticket item to be appreciated, no matter what TV commercials might have you believe. Would she love to receive a diamond necklace or a car? We’re not going to tell you no, but that doesn’t mean something far cheaper yet very heartfelt isn’t just as good of a choice.

There are lots of places you look for ideas. Start with thinking about her likes and tastes. That sounds obvious, but there’s a bit of an art of this.


What does she like to do? Gifts related to hobbies and interests are a good starting point, but you’ll definitely want to stay closer to the fun aspects of the hobby and avoid anything too utilitarian. For example, if she likes cooking, a set of infused olive oils is great, but please don’t get her a toaster!


If you want to get her clothes, you’ll need to know her size. Having access to her closet is a huge plus. Try to use something she has worn recently as a guide, and if in doubt, go with the smaller of two sizes when buying. Some women are self-conscious about this number, so if she questions in any way why you bought a garment in a certain size, you want to be able to say something like, “I looked in the tag of that red dress that looks so amazing on you and bought this in the same size.”

If you’re shopping for clothes for her in person, do everyone a favour and ask a saleswoman there – preferably one roughly the age of your partner – for guidance. You can show her a photo of her or name a celebrity with a similar shape and features to get some advice on what will look good on her.

Another point when it comes to clothes and shoes: get the colour right. If she has ever told you that she hates the colour yellow with a passion, please don’t buy her that daffodil-coloured sweater.

You want to show that you pay attention to her. If she has piercing green eyes, tell her you chose that purple dress to bring them out. And don’t forget this important rule of thumb: if you tell a woman you love how a particular item of clothing looks on her, she will wear it a lot.


Before you can even consider buying her a piece of jewellery, you need to know whether she prefers gold or silver. Most women are firmly in one camp or the other, and if she wears the same watch regularly, you should get jewellery featuring the same metal. Take note of what she normally wears or ask her directly.

If you’re buying something with a gem, going with her birthstone show you put at least a little thought into it, but if you really want to go the extra mile, research some gems and choose one with a quality you think she would embrace.

For example, blue topaz is said to encourage higher thinking, so it’s a great choice for scholars or writers. Sapphire is associated with happiness, so you could tell her that you want her to be happy when she thinks of you. There are lots of directions you could take with this. 

Her favourites

You might find some inspiration from her favourite author, book genre, movie, or TV show. Get her a first edition or print and frame a quote by someone she admires. If she’s obsessed with a particular series, look around online for gifts or books related to that series or take it a step further and get her a piece of home décor inspired by it.

What about her favourite food? If this is a “just because” gift rather than an extravagant occasion gift, it’s hard to go wrong if you involve a meal. Cooking for her will always be well-received, especially if you make something she likes – and be sure to do the dishes for her afterward!

If you’re pretty sure no one would ever consider having to eat something you cooked a “gift”, order in, set the table, light some candles, and put on some romantic music.

Other gifts from the heart

Consider things she likes that could use an upgrade. Is her water bottle showing its age? Did she recently get into drinking tea but is doing it with a stained coffee mug?

If you’re just thinking of physical gifts, you could be overlooking something that will win you major points with her. If you’re at all handy, you could build her something useful. Even just washing her car or doing a task she loathes can go a long way toward earning you her gratitude. Give her a night off from cooking and cleaning by surprising her with reservations and a sitter. The possibilities are endless.

The big presentation

When you’ve found the perfect gift, you still have one other factor to consider: how to present it.

First of all, take off the price tag (but not any other tags) and put the receipt in a safe place. Then, you absolutely must wrap it. Unwrapping a gift is infinitely more fun for the recipient, so don’t skip this step. If you’re bad at wrapping, ask someone at the store to wrap it or get a gift bag and some tissue paper. A card, either bought or homemade, is a nice touch.

Think about your partner when deciding whether to give her gift to her in public or not. If she’s on the private side, it’s perfectly okay to have her open her birthday present while you’re getting ready to go to dinner with her family rather than making her open it at the table in front of everyone. If she’s the type who loves drawing attention to herself and you’re confident the gift will be well-received, go ahead and send it to her office or make a big show of it at her party.

If the gift isn’t for a specific occasion, try to present it when she isn’t distracted with other things, especially unpleasant ones. Make sure you’ll have a few minutes together to bond.

If you really want to surprise her, leave it somewhere that she’ll find it on her own, like on her pillow before she wakes up or while she’s in the shower.

What if she doesn’t like it?

We really did our best to help you, but sometimes a gift just ends up being a dud. As disappointing as it may be, don’t forget you are still going to win some points for your effort and thoughtfulness.

If she lets you know directly she doesn’t like it (hopefully politely), don’t be disheartened – she probably doesn’t want to encourage more gifts like it by pretending she loves it. And if she’s all smiles but you get the feeling she isn’t into it, tell her that if she doesn’t love it, you’d be happy to take her to exchange it for something that she adores – and take notes on what she ends up choosing (and why) for next time!