Clear and Present Danger – 10 Gifts NOT to Give Your Spouse

Posted by: Shel 4 Comments
Clear and Present Danger

Sure the thought counts, but the gift itself matters, too. Some gifts present a clear and present danger when bestowed upon a spouse and should be avoided at all costs. Here are 10 gifts that could be hazardous to your marriage:

  1. Appliances.  If it cooks or cleans, it is probably something that should not be wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree. Now I’m not talking about things like the fancy pasta-maker your cheffy spouse has been drooling over or anything your foodie mate has put on their Christmas list. I’m talking about the cookware, the vacuum cleaner, and other such productive items that there just isn’t enough wrapping paper or bows to turn them into appealing gifts!
  2. Sexy underwear (or anything else you’re dying to see them in ). Nothing says “It’s all about me” more than gifting something that makes you happier than the recipient.
  3. Exercise equipment. This category includes gym memberships and healthy-eating cookbooks. Unless you are providing something they specifically requested, your well-intentioned gift may not be well-received!
  4. Home improvements. Even if one spouse has been wanting a bigger bathroom or modernized cabinets, making the project “a gift” sets up the recipient to be responsible for any mishaps or frustrations that might be part of the process. (Just because it doesn’t make a great gift, doesn’t mean you can’t still use the big home-improvement announcement to earn additional spousal-brownie-points!)
  5. Gift card. Think about it – how different is that from just handing your spouse some cash and telling them to go buy their own gift? Well, there is one difference – you are now dictating exactly where they must buy their own gift from.
  6. Anything on your own wish list. See #2, above.
  7. Perfume or cologne they’ve never worn before. First of all, there may be a reason they’ve never worn it. Second, what it smells like on the paper tester isn’t necessarily what it’s going to smell like on someone’s body. Unless indicated otherwise, assume your spouse wants some say about how they smell.
  8. That item you have both been planning and saving for. Do NOT “surprise” your spouse by making the final decision on the vacation you have been debating for the last few months or picking the recliner that will sit for years to come in the living room. And examine the reasons you would even want to – is it intended to delight, or put an end to a discussion you are tired of having? If you immediately responded: “to delight, of course,” you need to realize that might not be the same conclusion your spouse reaches.
  9. Nothing. Even if that is what they ask for. Gift-giving is about putting yourself out there to do something kind for the one you love. “Nothing” does not serve that goal. Nor does it honor your mate. “Something” does not have to be expensive, extravagant, or even wrap-able. It just has to be a little more thoughtful than “nothing.”
  10. Anything that comes with payments. Yes, this is worse than nothing. It is the exact opposite of “the gift that keeps on giving.” It is the gift that keeps depleting. No gift should come with a bill.
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  • Great list, Shel! Following these suggestions will keep couples out of your office. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    • Shel Harrington

      Lol – that’s the hope, Jill! 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Mostly true but I make one exception. My husband has given me appliance sort of things for the kitchen but I actually love them. Like my Vitamix…best gift ever. But the rest? Spot on.
    Hope you are well, Shel! Happy Holidays!

    • Shel Harrington

      Hi, Lisa! I have to admit, there’s an appliance or two that I have actually requested! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

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