Thoughts: Romantic Gift-giving

I need to confess something.

As I approach a significant birthday, I’m starting to reflect on things I’ve learned over my life, or, probably more accurately, not learned.

I struggle with romantic gift-giving. It’s true.

Let me provide some context: I had a poor upbringing when it came to gifting. Growing up in Palmerston North, yes we acknowledged birthdays, Christmas, and Mothers/Fathers Day, but my Dad wasn’t really a deep thinker around teaching his kids how to gift, and Mum usually bought her own which she then gave us to wrap. Or she’d say something along the lines of “I’d really love a new measuring jug”

I still remember excitedly riding my bike to the store to buy the measuring jug. It was a no-miss opportunity. And yes, she loved it.

Fast-forward. Owing to a complete lack of romantic interests through my formative years, I was completely unprepared for the sophistication of Auckland women. Or, rather, the sophistication of any women.

I remember being a little panicked about having to buy a birthday gift for the woman I was to become engaged to. I was looking for clues. Clues please. Clues, please give me clues…! Anyhoo, walking through the local Farmers one day we passed by the Ponds stand and she said in passing, “hmm… I need to restock”.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner people!

Not long after, as she unwrapped a selection of Ponds’ finest, she looked at me with an expression that screamed “face cleaner? Where’s my real present?”

Lesson learned.

I’m now pretty good with significant day gifting.

However, I am not good with spontaneous romantic gifting.

Flowers. I just don’t get flowers. You can spend a lot of hard-earned cash on flowers. That you give. That die. In days. That have a potential underlying reaction of “what did you do”?

I can handle gift cards. Books. Something tangible and useful. But not flowers.

So, in the interests of self-improvement, I questioned the counsellors and clinical psychologists I work with.

They listened. They understood my perspective. They gave me sage advice:

Buy the damn flowers.

So that’s it. Don’t be overthinking everything.

Just buy the damn flowers.


P.S. I hereby formally apologise to all those who were deserving recipients of no flowers from me over the last 30 years.

Thoughts: Birthday Gift Panic Guide for Men

Guys, sometimes you have absolutely no idea what to give that special female someone. This could be for a variety of reasons of course, whether it’s financial, whether they haven’t given you any indication of things desired, or possibly you just go blank when you sit back in your chair to consider your gifting options.

I have a birthday coming up that I need to buy for.  I’ve been through some thought processes, and come up with a few suggestions, and in the interest of supporting my fellow men, I’m sharing here to help you make your significant other’s day just that little bit more special.

As you know, I like cooking. I’ve spent time and money researching and acquiring pots and kitchen implements that do the job well. She may not have such good pots and kitchen implements, and this will never do if you need to cook at her place.

Suggestion 1:

Decent measuring cups.


Suggestion 2:

Decent measuring spoons.


Suggestion 3:

Decent pots and pans


Kitchen stuff really is the gift that keeps on giving. She will be so happy she’ll want to cook for you every night using her new gear!


Right on to other ideas. Is her place clean and tidy? Does it need a spruce up?


Suggestion 4:

A quality vacuum cleaner. Godfrey’s usually has these on sale.


Look at her. What about her clothes? Are they a bit crumpled?

Suggestion 5:

A new ironing board will rock her world and spruce her up a bit for when you take her out to the local McDonald’s drive-thru on your next date!


Note that it is important to get one with a cover that is her favourite colour. If you happen to know it. Otherwise just get one in pink with a floral design. It’s a winner every time.


Now here’s a true story: I remember once going through Farmers with my then girlfriend. We were in that ‘getting to know each other’ phase so I was paying clinical attention to her every word. We went past the Pond’s counter and she said “I need some more face-cleaner”. Absolute GOLD!!! Her birthday was coming up, so I went back sneakily and bought her some. Spent quite a bit actually. At least $20.

I gave it to her with a nice card.

She was NOT impressed. I didn’t know quite what to make of this. She told me she wanted some. I got her some. It was the best gift I could think of at the time.

Women are strange.

Right, where was I? Oh yes, ideas.

Does she have a garden? Is it a bit overgrown? It may be that she just doesn’t have the right tools which makes maintaining just a little bit hard.

Suggestion 6:

A garden fork and spade. Be classy. Get a matched pair. These bad boys are going to get a lot of use, let me tell you!


My aged Dad likes to garden. He likes to get fertiliser on his birthday. My aged Mother always approves, so this one is totally thinking outside the box…

Suggestion 7:

Sheep Pellets! Awesome.


Actually, that leads to another true story: A relative moved to a lifestyle block in the country just out of Auckland. He bought a flock of sheep, and couldn’t understand why they were not interested in eating sheep pellets for food.


The benefit of the last couple of suggestions is that you can get them from Bunnings or Mitre 10. And buy yourself a new power tool or table saw. You never know when you might need one eh?

Anyway, I’d best get out to the Mall and get gifting for tomorrow. I hope this post helps you all.