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Practical versus what you want?

I was listening to the radio this morning and this girl called in to complain about the gifts her boyfriend gives her. One year he gave her spackle because he knew she needed some for her apartment and this year, she found car seat covers while snooping for gifts. She was POed that she had given him all kinds of hints for something sparkly and he went practical. 

Isn't it the thought that counts? FI got me a pair of double layer shea infused soft socks because he knows my feet are always cold and I love fuzzy socks. I got his Batman ring that he loves resized and together, we went out to dinner last night for our Christmas dinner at Margarita's. Personally I think FI's gift to me was super cute and thoughtful and practical. I know if he thought I needed seat covers, he would do that and I would love it. 

What do you think about practical gifts versus maybe something you really want? (You may really want something practical too.)

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Re: Practical versus what you want?

  • FI and I set up wishlists for each other on Amazon and my gifts range from practical to non-practical stuff. I asked for socks, a new pair of sneakers, knitting needles, stuff like that. But he can get whatever and I'm fine.

    My mother tends to go more practical. She gave me a shark steam mop, roasting pan, an electric smoker and a ton of other kitchen stuff for us. It helps 100% though!

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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut
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    Haha my list for my parents was all practical things. It's my first year out of college with my own place. My car needs all weather mats. I don't have a car charger for my phone. It was all stuff I needed and knew I would use rather than something I would play with for awhile and forget about or store in a jewelry box.

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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO
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    I don't want practical gifts from BF. If I need new car seats, I will get new car seats. If I need spackle, I'll get it. I don't want it as a gift. I can understand why she is disappointed. Clearly he isn't thinking about what she wants.


  • I suck at finding stuff H wants because he is real particular. In years passed I've gotten him a mix of things he wanted (or so I thought) and things he needed. I've since learned that both of those types of gifts are a bust. Last year he promised to make a wish list for my eyes only (as in he isn't linking his family to the exact same item). So I knew exactly what he wished he had. Some of those items are practical. Slippers, for example.

    I don't mind practical gifts. Maybe because when we exchange gifts there isn't just one thing? It is an assortment of wants and needs.


  • @buddysmom80, the Amazon wishlist is brilliant. That will surely make life much easier next year - if I can get everyone I know to make one, that is.

    So, I am actually really uncomfortable getting gifts of any kind for any occasion. I am like the worst gift-giver myself, so I feel a lot of pressure to reciprocate with something awesome, and my gifts are usually boring (and yes, practical whenever possible). I much prefer to spend time with people or perform acts of service rather than do gifts, and I like to receive the same more than gifts. If someone does get me a gift, not just because it's the holidays or my birthday or whatever, but because they truly wanted to express that they care about me, I will be grateful from the bottom of my heart. That applies whether the gift is practical, sparkly, shiny, cheap, expensive, silly, or totally unnecessary. I think the motivation behind giving a gift is much more important than the actual gift, and that's what I notice the most.
  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio
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    Honestly - I like the practical stuff better because it's like 'yay, now I can use the $$ I set aside for this for something I really want but didn't want to tell anybody'.

    I got my FI a practical gift (wallet) and a fun gift (chromcast - 'cause he wanted it) and then a gift card so he can get whatever and my snooping abilities were not up to par this year.


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  • H and I don't generally exchange gifts, and if we do it's usually something small. I was surprised he got me a new coat (in the weekends thread) this year because we were supposed to have our trip count as our "gift" to each other.

    I have in the past actuall asked for a vacuum or other practical items. H's coworkers always tell him "it's a trap!", haha, but I actually like receiving things I need and will use. Personally I know I love shopping for fun stuff, but things like a vacuum are never fun to have to buy. Getting it as a gift means I don't have to spend my fun money on it AND I get a clean house. Double win!  

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  • ShallowSeasShallowSeas Indianapolis, IN
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    FI got me a mix of practical and fun gifts this year. 3 I know of, and one I don't know what it is, but that's my "fun" gift. He got me a full length door mirror that opens to a jewelry amoire, my wedding TOM shoes that I wanted, and the dress I wanted for NYE this year. While they are practical, they're probably not something I would ever spend the money on for myself, so they're very appreciated.
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  • FoxandBunnyFoxandBunny Alabama
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    I like giving and receiving gifts that I know I will use. That being said, spackle? Really? To me that's a total cop out. I don't mind the seat covers, especially if I said I wanted them. To me that's practical and cute and something I may need but not buy myself. 

    I also do like some impractical things as well, like earrings or necklaces or stuff like that. Shiny is always appreciated, but I enjoy things that I'll use daily more. I got BF a wallet and t-shirt this year; both things he wanted and needed, yet still personal and with some thought behind them.  
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  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    It really depends on how practical the gift is. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law got my partner a nice toaster because he was ranting endlessly about how toasters are incapable of doing the one thing they're designed to do. That was a great gift.

    If someone got me spackle, I'd probably be really bummed out.
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  • I'm not a fan of pratical gifts most times.  Sometimes they are great when they are different or perhaps better than what you probably get yourself. I don't like to buy FI pratical gifts when possible.

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  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York
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    Personally, I'd be annoyed if I only got practical gifts from my BF. When my mom asks me what I want for Xmas, I ask for practical things for the most part - a car charger for my iphone, kitchen supplies, etc/ From BF I want something fun or sparkly that I'd never buy myself - i.e. jewelry, a kindle, something we can do together. However - BF has bought me several practical gifts in the past that I have LOVED and we've used for years (a pizza screen, a fancy corkscrew), so - I think a mix is okay, but a SO should get you at least one thing that isn't practical.
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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    I think practical gifts are fine if they're personal and thoughtful. Practical wine accessories for a wine lover, a fancy knife set for someone who loves to cook, a cute phone case, a soft comforter with a lovely design (my family knows I would stay in bed all winter if I could) - all great gifts. Basically, anything that the giver knows I will like and use is good with me. This year I got bf a monogrammed, handmade leather toiletry case since his old one is falling apart.

    BF gave me a hydroponic growing kit so I don't have to keep my basil plant on his patio anymore. I thought that was too practical and impersonal. I think I got spoiled last year when he gave me perfume, a gold watch, cute shoes, pearls and lots of flowers. I guess you can't win 'em all.
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  • Like allusive, FI and I don't exchange many presents... at least not at the predictable times, like birthdays, Valentines Day or Christmas.  Sometimes, we are just out and he sees something he knows I want and gets it for me or vice versa.  I like the "whenever" or "just because" gifts.  Sometimes they are practical (a new battery for my laptop because the old one is fried); sometimes they are fun (stopping at a jewelry counter to look, and going home with new pretties.)  

    I think it is kind of sweet that this girl's boyfriend is looking for ways to improve her life.  It reminds me of the book Love Languages and how different people express their love for each other.
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  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario
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    I don't have an issue with practical gifts if it is something that I will personally use and not something that is really for us/the apartment such as a new vacuum or something.  
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  • KeptInStitchesKeptInStitches the Northern Plains
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    If there's not at least some fun, I'm bummed out. Spackle would really bum me out because I hate that level of DIY. And I'd rather pick my carseat covers. No thank you.

    That being said, when my parents offered to buy me a vacuum of my choice for Christmas last year, I was all over that because my old vacuum was junk.
  • I know that my boyfriend takes a lot of time and effort and thought to get me things, even if they are practical.  I've never been unhappy or disappointed with anything he's given me...he does a good job of being practical more than over the top, but the practical are things he knows I like a lot.  We don't do many gifts anyway, we like to go on weekend getaways most of the time for occasions instead of doing gifts. 
  • I'm totally fine with practical gifts! I'm more inclined to get someone a gift that they really want because I love surprising people but if I really need something then I'm thrilled to be getting a gift either way.

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