Really, You Shouldn’t Have. What Not To Buy The Mother Of Your Children For Christmas

Every holiday season media outlets publish gift guides for what to buy those hard-to-buy-for types on your holiday shopping list, and one of the most popular gift guides is “What To Buy For Your Wife/Mom/Life Partner/Person-Who-Has-A-Vagina-Who-Gave-Birth-To-Your-Spawn/Female Person Who Has Children” roundups. And they are always wrong. I can’t tell you what to buy for that special lady in your life, because I have no idea who the hell she is. And I really hate sweeping generalizations like “Every woman is sure to appreciate ____!” because no, not every woman wants a stupid toolkit housing “specially designed for the delicate female hand” pink screwdrivers. All women are different. All women like different things. If you don’t know the woman who gave birth to your children well enough to know what to buy her, than you probably shouldn’t have knocked her up to begin with. But for the love of Frosty The Snowman, please don’t buy her a scarf.

Scarves, pashminas, wraps. Do you have any idea how many scarves the woman in your life has? We have around thirty. Once we wanted scarves. We had this really great idea at one point that we would tie scarves around our head and wear oversized black sunglasses, like we were some glamourous movie star who had to avoid the paparazzi while we were buying Cap’N Crunch. This never happened, because when we tied the scarf the silk was always too slippery and it would end up untying and we just looked like a crazy person wandering the grocery store parking lot looking for our car while we carried bags full of Cap’N Crunch. We have enough pashminas and wraps too. We always forget to wear them and they are usually in danger of becoming a make-shift cape when one of the children decides they want to be Supergirl or something.

Don’t buy us appliances, of any sort. Unless, of course, they are full-sized carnival cotton candy machines. Or $3900 espresso machines. Or magical full-sized housecleaning and professional-chef grade robots that also can act as drivers and garbage-taker-outers and can turn into private jets because they are also Transformer robots. We don’t want new crockpots or vacuum cleaners or sonar toothbrushes or wide-slice toasters or those stupid foot baths you plug in that emit lights and air bubbles to massage our feet. We are not going to sit there with our feet in a tub of water and “relax” just because you got drunk on overpriced vodka tonics on an international flight and perused the Sky Mall catalogue. And if you do buy us that $3900 espresso machine, we will assume that you won the lottery and are lying to us about the rest of the money so on second thought don’t buy us that either.

Spa gift certificates. Nothing says “I had no idea what the hell to get you so I bought you a gift certificate to a spa” like a gift certificate to a spa. Going to get a manicure or pedicure or facial is just maintenance , we can do that ourselves. It’s like getting us a gift card to get our cars detailed or our teeth cleaned or pick up the dry-cleaning. If we want to go have our hands stuck in softening paraffin baths we are more than capable of getting it done on our own time, without a stupid prepaid permission slip from our significant others. If you buy us a gift certificate to a spa we will never use it, and forget it amongst our piles of pashminas, and we won’t remember where we put it but we will also know that we put it somewhere, so after we look for it for 30 minutes we will give up and our eyebrows will go unthreaded for a year. Is that what you want? You want us to have un-groomed eyebrows? To hell with you, pal.

Personalized jewelry that says shit like “Number One Mom” on it or those awful dog tag necklaces that read the names of our children in comic sans or stacking rings with birthstones in them. Unless we have specifically told you we want one of these items than the chances are, we probably don’t. We love our children, yet some of us don’t want to express it by wearing an artisan, hand-stamped, one of-a-kind silver disc saying so. And these sorts of gifts come with bonus extra built-in guilt because if we don’t wear them, than we obviously hate our families and would rather be living out or lives as single women who work in Las Vegas as trapeze artists rather than moms who are currently attempting to figure out how to remove bubblegum from suede.

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    • CMJ

      Celine Trapeze Bag.

    • Tinyfaeri

      That three doll necklace scares the crap out of me. It’s like Chucky Couture.

      • chickadee

        And with the black ribbons it simply screams, “Bring me pins so I can voodooize my children!”

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        You guys, it’s $600!!!!! For a piece of string and tiny dolls! Why can’t we make something like that and charge a gazillion bucks?

      • chickadee

        If it weren’t on the N-M website, I’d swear it was Etsy….

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Hahahaha! It may be copied from something ON etsy!

      • Tinyfaeri

        I think there could be a market for onyx-and-diamond googly eyes…

    • chickadee

      Send me your damn spa day certificates, you ungrateful hag!* My husband gives back rubs like THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHq_yY-olHo

      * :) (emticon of you-aren’t-really-a-hag-ositiy)

    • 11candlelight

      Yeah, not all of us get to go have pedicures whenever we want. For me it actually IS a treat, and I’d love a gift certificate. Your privilege is showing…

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Noooooo, I don’t get them whenever I want, I just hate doing stuff like that. For me, I have no patience and it feels like maintenance

    • Micha

      Wasn’t this article about how much you hate sweeping generalizations for what to buy a mom, a sweeping generalization about what NOT to buy a mom? I would love a spa certificate and my mom freaked out last year over $3000 in her stocking to buy all new kitchen appliances. To each their own, as you said.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Oooooooo, ok, I take it back, I want all new appliance cash, was your mom stoked?

      • Micha

        Oh yea, I would have stolen the cash if she wasn’t.

      • Shea

        Yeah, I’d love a spa gift certificate. I love massages but can’t bring myself to spend that sort of money on myself, so a spa gift certificate would be awesome. I’d also be thrilled if I got, say, a blender this Christmas. Mine died, and it’s putting a crimp in my blended-soup-making activities. If my partner were to get me a kitchen appliance, it just show that he knows me pretty well, since he’s well aware that I love to cook.

    • Renee J

      Last year I wanted a Dyson vacuum from my husband. I didn’t it, though.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        :(
        I had a Dyson and hated it! I am a vacuum addict. I do have this shark that was really cheap that I swear works better than that dyson.

      • Anne Cordelia

        Eve, me, too! I LOVE my Shark vacuum!! Just goes to show you that sometimes a name is just a name, and not an assurance of quality.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Omg srsly, I have a Miele and I like my Shark better, it is such a good machine and really reasonable. And I use it constantly and it hasn’t broken or clogged yet!

    • LiteBrite

      Last year my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said I’d like an iPad. What did I get? A mattress pad. He said, “Well, it is a PAD….” (I did get other things too, but the mattress pad made me laugh. You’re one romantic S.O.B., DH.)

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Oh snap, guess he got you! I hope this year he asks you for golf clubs and you get him a club sammich (Yes, my other suggestion was x-rated :( )

    • C.J.

      I love getting kitchen appliances for Christmas, I have a whole closet full of them! Cooking is a hobby for me though. I can see how a person wouldn’t want kitchen appliances if they didn’t love to cook. I could do without the spa gift certificate or any of the other things you mentioned, I would never use them.

    • once upon a time

      Here’s a crazy idea – tell your partner what you want. No stupid game playing with comments like, “I don’t want anything at all!” when you clearly do, no stupid ‘hints’ and leaving around catalogue clippings hoping that they’ll pick up on your clever subterfuge; just say, “I want a Kindle please.”

      Surely my partner isn’t the only one in the world who follows instructions?

      • lea

        See, to me, the point of gift giving is taking the time to select something thoughtful for the person you are buying for. It takes the meaning out of it for me, if I have to ask for something. I kinda feel like my husband knows me well enough now to know what I like, and to chose something for me. I don’t think it is too much to expect a bit of effort and thought on his behalf.

        I do agree with your game playing sentiments though, I don’t do it. We set a rough limit that we feel we can afford (say $50 to 100), and then chose something for each other that we know we will like.

      • once upon a time

        Sure, that’s a valid position, but I don’t really feel like (general) you can complain if you then don’t get what you want. Perhaps if it’s a wilted bouquet of petrol station flowers or a generic box of chocolates, something that’s obviously had no thought put into it, but presents are hard for some people! You can know someone as well as you like and still not know if they’d like something practical or frivolous *this* Christmas.

        I also hate all the angst that comes with presents. No one is entitled to a present, not even the mother of someone’s child. So tell your partner what you want or graciously accept what he gives you, even if it’s the suckiest thing that ever sucked (there are exceptions of course, like if you’re a vegetarian and you get a cooler full of steaks).

      • Blueathena623

        Or you have my husband, where I will tell him very, very specifically, what I want, but he views that as a suggestion, and will get something kinda close but not really. And then if I don’t like those close but no cigar gifts, hey, its the thought that counts right? I shouldn’t be ungrateful that I got a pair of small fluffy socks when I sent him a link to the exact fluffy robe I wanted. And how dare I complain that he got me a random cook book about how to cook wild animals when I asked for a very specific non-fiction science book.
        Sorry, it’s the holidays and I’m starting to get bitter and worried about what I’ll manage to get this year.

    • Casie

      Speak for yourself, I’ll take a spa day!

    • chickadee

      Also, Eve? This was a really funny article. Never mind all our objections.

    • Blueathena623

      Ha, my husband does two of those, but the cheapie version. So instead of spa certificates (which I have asked for!) I get endless boxes and bottles of bath salts and bubble bath. Instead of nice appliances (like the Keurig I asked for!) I get these cheesy as seen on TV kitchen gadgets that break and get tossed within one or two uses. Man, I’m so tired of getting crap, but I do tell him exactly what I want, to no avail.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Hahahaha! we need to set up a gift swap where we can all exchange the weirdness!

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