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Gift Giving Tips for Women

I know it can be stressful to buy for a man, but as one I can tell you that you have it a lot easier than we do. Just follow my recommendations and you will have a very merry Christmas. Don’t follow them and the Grinch will seem like a better bedfellow! Here are a couple helpful hints:

o Don’t waste your time trying to “change us”. This rules out any cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, anything with flowers, or things to spruce up the home.

o Stores to shop at: Sharper Image, Brookstone, REI, Sports Authority, Best Buy, Patagonia, Amazon.com, Nordstrom’s, Barney’s New York.

o Stores to avoid: Bed Bath and Beyond, Laura Ashley, Frugal Fannies, Bath & Body Works, and any boutiques with funny French names.

o On the clothing front, unlike women, we don’t buy things to only wear once. In fact, we often wear the same thing multiple days in a row so it is important that we look good in it and that it is high quality.

o On the accessories front, don’t get us a new wallet or belt unless our current one is completely frayed and falling apart, and even then, wait one more year.

o My top 6 gift ideas for the trust-funders:

o A flat screen TV- if you are looking for the gift that will make him say “I do”, this is definitely it. The new Zenith 52″ screen is awesome. Also check out the Fujitsu Gas Plasma screen and the Phillips flat screen. ($3,000-$10,000)

o Tivo – the 1st year marketing case doesn’t do it enough justice. Tivo will, in the words of a famous second year (BM), “change your life”. It will come standard in any cool-guy home in the next five years. ($400 + lifetime service contract $200)

o Playstation II plus Grand Theft Auto – Vice City and Madden Football. This is not your Atari or Commodore 64; the graphics on this machine are startling. One word of caution however – this might be a gift better for women who don’t like to hang out with their man too much because it can be more addictive than heroin. ($300)

o Digital camera – becoming ubiquitous at parties and HBS outings. Try the Kodak Easyshare, Canon Powershot, or the Sony DSC series. ($300-$500)

o “Human Touch” chair massager -Available at Sharper Image, this chair is a dream, as long as you ladies don’t mind moving your chaise and French ottoman in order to make room for it. ($1,800)

o Samsung’s S105 cell phone – it is the new trendy phone (2003’s Motorola V-60). It has a color screen and always-on internet connection. ($300 + T-Mobile service)

o My top 6 ideas for the rest of us:

o MP3 Player – Perfect for working out or for the car (with adapter). Both the Sonicube and the Nike Player are great. ($100-$200)

o DVDs – mafia or war movies only (Goodfellas and Black Hawk Down are a good start). Of course if he doesn’t have the Godfather trilogy, it is a must have. ($20-$40)

o Tickets to a sports event – but make sure you pick a team he likes (read: if you are like me and are not so fond of Boston sports teams, wait till the Yankees come into town). ($80-$160)

o Running pedometers – if you are always frustrated with not knowing your stats as you sprint around the Charles River, try picking up a pedometer, which tells you speed, distance, and pace. Nike and others have a full line of products at all price points. ($30-$200)

o A nice book always goes over well – Tom Clancy is hard to go wrong with. I’m told “Fast Food Nation” was excellent (MK), and “John Adams” by David McCullough is great. Personally, I am partial to Stephen Ambrose if you like war history. ($15-$30).

o Finally, since we are rapidly becoming our fathers, you might as well get us our fathers’ gift, a tie. www.hermes.com is a good place to start ($100+), but your best bet is to go to an outlet center where you can get Zegna, Canali and Ferragamo ties for under $60.

Good luck & happy holidays!

December 9, 2002
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