#GiftCrimes: guilty as charged?

Last year, some friends of ours mentioned that they had attended a sort of ‘getting ready for marriage’ course before tying the knot.

The course encourages you to find your motivators and to understand your partner’s, leading to a harmonious partnership.

Now, anyone who knows the Other Half and I in real life knows we’re a little firey… So we thought this course sounded like a pretty good idea (not that we’re married or even engaged, but we’ve been together nearly eight years, have a baby,  and all that jazz, so we basically are).

A quick Google brought up the questionnaire they’d had to fill in and a few minutes later we discovered:

  1. We actually knew each other really well and
  2. Our motivators were pretty different. (Shocker.)

Top of my list was that I valued time over all other love languages (there’s five total, FYI). I need undivided attention and your time. (I know, total Prima Donna.)

the modern man's mix tape, USB playlist

One of the many little, thoughtful gifts the OH has given me over the years, showing me up in the process. This one was hidden in my house when he went travelling (without me – not bitter at all) for six weeks when we were 23. it was loaded with a playlist of songs that made him think of me. I mean, how is a girl supposed to compete with this level of romantic prowess?!

The OH on the other hand valued gifts. Whether being showered with gifts on a special occasion or a surprise mini Toffee Crisp in his lunch to show you’re thinking of him (if I made his lunches, that would be more relevant, but in reality, he makes mine…) – gifts, in a very unsuperficial way (most of the time…) are how the OH knows you love him.

Now, the difficulty for all people is that we naturally will show love by giving/acting on our own strongest motivators. Because that’s what makes sense to us. E.g., I give my time, energy and attention; the OH give gifts. Of course, if the other person doesn’t necessarily value that motivator (or ‘speak your love language’ as it were), you might be in a bit of hot water.

This starts to make a lot of sense when you look at our history…

The OH ‘jokes’ about the various gift crimes I’ve committed over the years – ie, when my gifts have completely missed the mark.

Our first Valentine’s: we’d only been dating two weeks and he secretly stole my charm bracelet and had a four leaf clover attached to it (my nickname since we met has been ‘Irish’ – a long story!).

I got him, err, nothing…

Our first Christmas: (11 months after the Valentine’s bitter disappointment), I got him the Kiehl’s Men’s range… Which while that’s actually a lovely gift and one he’d probably love these days, it didn’t exactly scream romance and ‘I know you so well!’ given he only needed to shave about once every two weeks at the tender age of 20…

There’s also been a fondu set (he loves to cook! It made sense at the time…) which he’s still never used (not bitter at all…); the clock made out of a Rolling Stones record (he’s a huge fan! But granted, it was utterly not his style and a little tacky…); a tweed blazer (he’s really into fashion – sadly, it turns out I know nothing about men’s style…) and I won’t bore you again with the story about his first Father’s Day… Not my finest moment…

They haven’t all been tragic. Successes over the years have included a popcorn machine, *thinks really hard…* a onesie, *strains memory* oh and a massive, snuggly dressing gown, which at the time, he was really bad at lying about how great it was when he first opened it, but a month later, writing an essay wrapped up in his robe he conceded it was indeed a good gift. (And five years on, he still loves it and says it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever got him, “even if it was kinda boring”. I’m taking that for the win and running.)

But buying gifts for someone who

  1. Has really high expectations
  2. Values gifts above all else (see point one)

is really bloody hard! And I’m bound to have made a mistake (or ten) along the way!

Traditionally, August/September is the time I start putting together lists of what to buy him, as, to add insult to injury, we have Christmas, both our birthdays and our anniversary all within three weeks of each other. That takes a bit of forethought!

But this year, I’m trying something different.

I recently discovered giftwink.com. You plug in each person’s details – their birth date and interests, and it spits out recommendations based on that demographic information.

The site then stores this info and sends you a reminder before their birthday next year as well, including a suggested list of gifts for someone of that age, sex, location (showing my age now…) and those interests. Genius.

I tested the site’s gift giving abilities a few month’s ago for Cousin Munchkin’s fourth birthday. I followed Gift Wink’s recommendation and purchased the interactive book, “Press Here“. It was an absolute hit – even the other adults were asking where I’d found such an unusual book. (Winning! I’m a gift giving ninja at last!)

So having now made lists for Little Miss, my mom, Auntie Chatterbox, the favourite Uncle, my friends, my in-laws… Basically everyone, I put this to the ultimate test.

I showed the OH the list Gift Wink generated for him based on the information I input – age (to-be), male, likes cooking, fashion, sports & fitness, etc.

It ranged from £3 to £185 and included everything from the Ladybird’s The Husband book (an ironic gift, perhaps? Lucky for him, I’m not fishing for a ring.) to a Beginners’ Indian Cooking Course at The Cooking Academy (apparently giftwink has met the OH, or at the very least, stalked his dreams…!).

The OH’s response:

No. No. That’s cool. I like that. No. Yes.

Yeh, that’d be cool if I wasn’t an Apple nerd. Max would like that actually… God no, that’s awful. Nice.

Ooh, yeh, actually, that’s quite cool. That’s a really nice messenger bag. And that clock is a lot better than the monstrosity we have at the moment, Amie. I like the Star Wars t-shirt, get me that! Oh, that print is cool, wait, only £5, really?!

Honestly, the OH hates any kind of gift giving/finding service or site because he says they’re generic and full of shit gifts no one would actually want (his words, not mine). Despite my best efforts, he also doesn’t really shop online for presents  – apparently the insane stress the day before said present is needed, running round inspirationless shops is all part of the fun… Who knew…

But as he scrolled through his list, he admitted that he was pleasantly surprised. Even one of the £5 stocking fillers (a peg-leg pirate bottle opener, note to self!) was ‘pretty on the money’ (and I cannot stress enough how much the OH hates a stocking filler!). Out of 84 gift suggestions, he said something genuinely positive – almost excited even! – about over 20 of them. That’s pretty damn high praise from one of the fussiest gift receivers in the world.

So apparently I’m done and dusted for this year! Win!

But I have been very firmly told if I get him any more cuff links, he’ll swiftly return whatever he gets me. Message received. *Quietly scribbles out ‘cufflinks’ from the Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary list*


So, to help make gift crimes a thing of the past, giftwink are asking you to share your #giftcrimes stories – whether you’re giving or receiving – on Facebook or Twitter, using the hastag, by September 25, 2016. 

For sharing your story, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win £50 worth of gifts via giftwink.com. 

You can find out more about the competition here



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