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8 out of 10 men in Essex say the single most terrifying thing about Christmas is finding the right gift for the woman in their life.

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 6th December 2012 11:33

8 out of 10 men in Essex say the single most terrifying thing about Christmas is finding the right gift for the woman in their life.

OK, I made up that statistic, but I bet it's not far off the mark!

It's a well-worn cliche that many men put this task off until Christmas Eve - but have you ever wondered why that is? It won't necessarily be because he's lazy or disorganised, no, it's far more likely he just hasn't got a clue and has that "can't do right for doing wrong" mental block.

Gift advice for MenWe're here to help, so all you worried men out there, read on....

Christmas shopping for the woman in your life can be daunting, but knowing a few basics about the noble art of buying gifts for women can help you on the way to a harmonious festive season:

It's About Her, Not You

This has to be the cardinal rule: Do not, under any circumstances, buy her something that's on your own wishlist. So, nothing from the DIY shop, no sports DVDs, no gardening implements. Most women will not have "Plasma TV so I can watch Liverpool v Utd next Saturday" at the top of their must-haves.

No Household Appliances

You might think you're being helpful by getting her a chop-o-matic or one of those nifty new hoovers with a ball instead of wheels, but believe me, go that route and it's highly likely you'll be spending Christmas night in Broomfield A&E. Christmas is a time for gifts she wants, not stuff she needs.

Apply the Mother-in-Law test

Each idea you have must be put through this rigorous testing procedure. If you think your Mother would like it, forget it. Move on. Quickly.

Big Pants or Black Lace? Neither!

It's entirely possible that your loved one could do with some new knickers or a nightie. But, you must strike the right note - half-way between granny pants and your wildest fantasies should be about right.

Don't Attempt to "Do" Fashion

Clothing may seem to be an ideal gift, especially if your partner loooooves clothes. However, the point is, if she does love clothes, she probably has a very strong idea of what she does and doesn't like, honed over several thousand hours of window/online/real-life shopping. How can you hope to compete with that level of experience?

A far better idea is to figure out her favourite shop, buy an extravagantly generous voucher and then wrap it up beautifully - layers and layers of silk, ribbon, little notes in between each layer. Anything to disguise the fact you wimped out and got her a voucher, basically.

Listen and Learn

Once upon a time I had a craving for a particular, really funky, leather jacket. I went on, and on, and on about it in the presence of my then boyfriend. In fact, no-one in a 10 mile radius could have been in any doubt of what I wanted for Christmas. He, however, bought me an "ornamental" painted wooden frog. Called Bladder. I kid you not.

OK, I appreciate this is an extreme example, but it does serve the purpose of pointing out that you could do well to actually listen to the hints she is dropping. Sometimes these may be subtle, but most likely they will be like bricks landing in a duck-pond. They'll probably start around late October. Listen and act on them. Definitely.

Love Conquers All

There's probably very little chance you will ever get it 100% right, because we women are a capricious bunch. But, if she can tell you've at least thought about it, and curbed your urges towards the mundane, the easiest option or the downright lazy, the chances are you will avoid the spectacle of your Christmas dinner ending up on the dining room wall.

Just show her you care enough to follow the above rules, and I'm prepared to bet my wooden frog Bladder that you'll see her smiling at you over the sprouts this Christmas.

Article written by Carrie Spacey

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