Momversation: Who’s the Better Gift Giver?

This was more a more interesting conversation than I would have imagined it. I ask the ladies, who is better at gift giving, men or women?  Not sure I can give it to the women. My ex-boyfriend Tim gave me arguably the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. Before my birthday (back in the late ’90s when we dated) he asked me to go through a fashion magazine and tell him what I liked. Cut to a couple of months later on my birthday, I open up a box, and Tim had created a Daphne Doll. He had taken a picture of me standing in a slip and then cut out and created small clothes on magnets to go with it. So I could dress “Daphne” like a paper doll, or a magnet doll. I was speechless thinking of the time this must have taken. It was an extensive wardrobe. Then there was one small box left. I opened it and it was one more magnet mounted dress for “Daphne”. But it was a dress I had pointed out in the magazine. I turned it over, and he had written that he had called Cynthia Rowley’s studio in NYC (the designer), and it wasn’t in yet, but it would be sent to me within the month. I still have the dress. I am not a tenth that thoughtful.

Maybe guys are better at gifts because my mother-in-law gave one of the most questionable gifts I’ve seen. Bless her heart, but when Oliver turned 11, his grandmother gave him stuffed faux chickens. Oliver is so kind he didn’t go “wtf?” a one would expect. He looked quizzically at it and then moved on to the next present.  My family and I were stunned. I said, “Oh, when he was little did you guys have a special book you used to read about chickens?”

“No” she replied. She must have known that most 11-year-old boys love wheat sculptures made to look like poultry. After an X Box why not?

So, I bet you all have good ones about super thoughtful and not-so-thoughtful gifts.

3 thoughts on “Momversation: Who’s the Better Gift Giver?

  1. My dad seriously got my husband FROZEN MEAT for christmas last year. He opened a big box and it had: 5 steaks and one giant rack of ribs wrapped in bubble wrap and frozen solid. They scored a deal at Sams Club.

    Best part, the frozen steaks were part of a 10 pack. That’s right, they saved half for themselves.

    And no he didn’t get steak knives, special sauce or any other gifts to go with them (or any cute backstory to the gift) – just MEAT!

  2. the dudes have always won in my experience…

    my dad always went crazy with the show stopper gifts.

    my uncle went crazy creative with intricate flea market finds of things i mentioned years ago, wrapped with pine cones and berries.

    my husband always does some theme and everything’s connected and it took forever to put together and i never even remembered i wanted it. but i do?

    and i buy video games. or cardigans.

    but i think we ladies are more nurturing/thoughtful on a day-to-day basis ,with the small, made-ya-a-sammich type things. gifts are when the guys get to shine – and they do.

  3. I totally agree with the comment that it is a function of how you were raised.

    Growing up, my mother was a world class thoughtful gift giver. We had very little money, so everything we got was a product of tremendous self-sacrifice (which I always appreciated, even as a child), came preciously wrapped and was accompanied by a hand-written poem teaser about what was inside. She died when I was 16, and receiving gifts became torture thereafter. I have a tendency to read a lot into the gift — I used to struggle not to be insulted by a thoughtless gift…to see it as a sign that I was not valued or loved by the gift giving cad… Now I”m ok with the cardigan or Wii game, as long as it seems like somehting I might like.

    My husband, conversely, grew up in an environment where he received little but everyone showered gifts upon a baby sister, and his mother was a self-denying unhappy person who returned or shoved in the basement anything he ever got her. So he has HUGE anxiety about giving gifts, and HUGE expectation that I willl “mother” him with a sense of being cared about through perfect gift selection. It’s, frankly, a lose lose. I usually torture myself finding “the perfect” thing, which he looks at for three seconds and shoves in a closet (which, in turn, kills my desire to spend the effort), and I usually hate most of what he gets me because he shops according to his own taste (which is, at least with jewelry, frighteningly influenced by his mother’s taste) and not what he thinks I would like.

    It’s gotten so controversial that we scrapped gift giving nearly altogether and now will, when we feel like it, occasionally shop together — take a day to just wander around some nice shopping center together and spoil each other with something nice that the other wants. Seems to mostly avoid the headache . . .

    Daphne – I cannot BELIEVE the gift you described receiving from an ex. That’s either one compulsive dude, or someone who wanted to have your babies. Either way, am totally motivated to try to make such a doll for my daughter. Love the idea.

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