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She knows what she wants—in a gift, in a man, in life—but she wants you to figure it out. If you’re a decent boyfriend or husband, and you have a set of working eyes and ears, you should know her taste in jewelry, what her hobbies are, and what she’s been yearning to do for weeks, months, even years. That’s all the intel you need to figure out a thoughtful gift she’ll want to brag about to her friends.
Still in need of a hint? We did the leg work for you and polled 20 women on what they’ve been pining after and really want in a gift this holiday season. Use this as a launching pad and take the guesswork out of gift-giving. Combing these gift ideas with what you know about your lady’s unique preferences, we think you’ll score big. Really big.
“This depends on the girl and the occasion. I know some like flashy things with high price tags, and I think there are times when I’d want that, like maybe for my birthday, but specifically for the holidays I think something sentimental is more appropriate…something that shows he put thought into it, even if it’s something small. This is when they say, “Love is in the air,” after all.” – Athena L.
“I look to see if he was paying attention first because I drop hints. But I prefer one big meaningful gift like a vacation or an Apple Watch. Yes, the price is higher but it’s incredibly worth it. Plus, I expect him to buy smaller gifts throughout the relationship. Those keep the relationship going strong ;).” – Jessica D.
“It depends on how long we’ve been dating. If it’s less than three months, then small thoughtful gifts like a bracelet is nice. But if we’ve been dating for years then I expect the whole jewelry set.” – Jillian S.
“HEADPHONES! Beats Wireless headphones! IN WHITE.” – Heather G.
“I’m not picky—whether it’s clothes, accessories, gadgets, shoes, toys, etc., anything is okay with me. I think it’s nice when a guy puts thought into a gift and gets something I really need—even if it’s small (like an iPhone case or wallet because a zipper broke). I’d be happy with anything, just as long as we spend Christmas together.” – Jackie P.
“I like those bracelets with coordinates on them from a special location.” – Carly G.
“Something that has an underlying meaning to it, like a personalized bracelet, a necklace with initials or a date from when the relationship started—or a promise ring.“ – Melissa C.
“I like simple jewelry I can wear every day that will make me think of said person.” – Sarah H.
“An expensive carry-on that he says we’ll use in the future for trips together, or a gold bracelet with something personal etched into it.” – Julia C.
“I want a spa package—like a half-hour massage, facial, mani, pedi. Girls usually spoil their man, so it’s nice when the guy can spoil their girl by pampering her.” – Alexa P.
“I would either like something meaningful or useful that he knows I want, or a gift that we can do together like a trip, concert, or event. If he’s handy, homemade gifts are amazing and special.” –Danielle C.
“My favorite kind of gifts are ones that involve some type of activity like a cooking class, sporting event, or a trip. That way you can enjoy the gift together and make memories while doing it.” – Natalie H.
“The main gift I want that’s both thoughtful and expensive is a corgi.” – Eliza J. B.
“I want something that shows he thought about the gift instead of going out and buying the first piece of shiny jewelry he could find. Something that the two of us can enjoy together, like a trip, a show, a concert he knows I love.” – Sam M.
“I’d want something thoughtful and also a little bit indulgent—something I wouldn’t normally get for myself. If I need a new tote for work, get me a really nice one, not just one I was planning to pick up at TJ Maxx. An experience—a nice dinner, a show, a fun weekend trip, a staycation at a nice hotel, or a day at the spa because he knows I don’t treat myself—is nice. A sincere card…there is still nothing like getting a card or letter that is the written manifestation of what’s in your heart.” – Molly M.
“I’m all about some type of experience over a physical gift. Take me to a nice dinner and a show I’ve been wanting to see. Or better yet, surprise me with airline tickets somewhere warm.” – Abby G.
“I would want a gift that shows he took a lot of time to think about what I treasure and what’s important to me, whether it’s a piece of jewelry or a new power tool. It’s got to be a gift that shows he really knows me, and knows I would appreciate, not just a generic gift.” – Cheryl S.
“I love when my husband takes the time to listen and look into what I already love and surprises me. I am lucky in that my husband also has great taste, so when he has picked a piece of jewelry out himself, it’s always fantastic, unique, and in my vibe. Also, as a woman with my own business, there have been a few occasions where he picked out something to support my work, and those occasions made a really big impact. High tech microphones might sound unromantic to most, but for a woman who is passionate about my video-making career, I found this gesture to be incredibly romantic. It showed that my man 100 percent supports me and my passions, he listens to what my work means to me, and knows enough about it that he found a way to support me in a way I really needed.” – Meg A.
“Truthfully, I’m on a constant mission to minimize my life and thus I prefer experiential gifts over tangible gifts (i.e. a vacation, a cooking class, a carriage ride, dinner at a new restaurant, etc.) But if I were to get something like jewelry, it would be most important to me that it matched my style because I want to wear it. So the guy needs to know: Does she like gold or silver? Does she wear gems or not? Does she like tiny jewelry or statement jewelry?” – Emily S.
“I really love it when my husband gets tickets to a game, show, etc. or we plan some sort of outing together (skiing, wine tasting, etc.). It doesn’t necessarily have to be a surprise but I prefer that the money is spent doing something fun together rather than on ‘stuff’ I don’t really need.” – Katie W.