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With the holiday’s approaching, it’s amazing what some people (read: guys) think is OKAY to give girls! I’ve had my share of bad holiday gifts ranging from corduroy overalls to a pet turtle I was allergic to.

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If you are a guy looking to get something for your college sweetie, follow these tips on what NOT to buy your girlfriend this holiday and you should be okay!

1. Household or Cleaning Appliances

Unless she’s a Monica from FRIENDS (even then, reconsider), don’t give a girl a vacuum for the holidays. Giving any sort of a household or cleaning appliance implies that you expect her to cook/clean or worse: that you expect her to get excited over cooking/cleaning.

Exception: If you know she’s loves baking and/or cooking and there’s an appliance she wants really badly, then go for it!

2. Clothes

Clothes are HORRIBLE gifts because you can rarely get it right.

Each girl has distinct taste and even when you know what someone likes–you can still get it wrong! What’s worse than ugly clothes? Ugly clothes that are two sizes too big. If you feel so compelled to give a girl clothes, then give her gift receipt and buy it two sizes too small and forgo the risk of offending her.

3. Weighing Scale, Fitness Products, Diet Supplements, Gym Membership, etc

Anything that sends the message “You need to lose weight” is off limits. This should be common sense–nobody wants to ever hear they’re too fat let alone during the holidays or around a special occasion. Find another excuse and time to drop hints about weight!

5. Lingerie–of any kind

Giving your girlfriend sexy lingerie is a sweet gesture but I maintain that it’s really a gift for YOU not HER–at best, it’s gift for the two of you as a couple. Lingerie is also complicated because if you give boring plaid granny panties it gives a girl the impression that you don’t find her sexy. You lose EITHER way!

Exception: Feel free to gift lingerie, but make sure you’re 100% sure about the size and that lingerie isn’t the only gift. Why? Because you’re getting the visual satisfaction.

6. At-Home-Coupons

Hand made coupon books are great because they’re thoughtful. But they also read as “super lazy”. These are perfect if you’re broke or on a budget, but make sure your “coupon’s” aren’t self-gratifying.

Example: Give “home cooked meal for two” coupon instead of  “opportunity to cook meal for your boyfriend”

7. Annual Repeat

Don’t give the same thing two years or occasions in a row. It shows you have no creativity or interest and more importantly, it makes you predictable! A gift is a surprise so don’t burden a girl to have to fake surprise and excitement for a gift that she knew was coming.

8. Plants

Plants (and all living things) are a huge commitment for the recipient of the gift, a lot of responsibility and not that exciting to receive. I once received a plant from a friend who claimed it was “symbolic of our friendship” so I cringed and gave the obligatory “aww” only to find out he had jacked the plant from his mom’s porch on his way out.

Exception: If you know a girl LOVES plants or has a favorite plant AND has the time and resources to take care for it, then go ahead.

9. Anything Generic or Cliché

This includes stuffed animals, box of chocolates, flowers, photo frames, etc. Cliché gifts just seem like you don’t know the girl and use dated romantic chick flicks as guidance.

10. Books

Unless it’s a book she loves, DON’T try to guess on a book you think a girl will like. Giving a girl a cookbook or a “sex tips” book can make it seem like you’re dropping a hint.

11. Something for Little Girls

A Barbie DOES NOT cut it! This may seem obvious, but I had a friend whose boyfriend assumed she would love Barbie’s and gave her 7 dolls for her Birthday. Anything that you can get at Toys R’ Us is off limits! Make sure you’re buying for an adult female, not a first grader.

Exception: Gag gifts

12. Nothing

What’s worse than a bad gift? NO GIFT!

In short, anything can become a bad gift if it’s not personal enough and anything from the list above can be a good gift if it’s relevant.

It’s really not about how much money you spend on the gift, but rather how much thought goes into it.

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