How men can avoid being bad gift givers

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The person you're closest to can often be the hardest to buy for. Here are some tips to avoid bad gift giving for loved ones.

It's a holiday ritual-- we invade the mall or crash our favorite websites in search of that perfect gift. Then the day after Christmas, the mad rush to return gifts begins.

The company Optoro specializes in gift returns. It estimated consumers returned $90-billion in gifts after the holidays last year.

Laura Ried gives her husband a below average grade when it comes to choosing gifts.

"He would do okay, but it was mostly things he thought I would like," she said.

Debbie Longinettei tells us she's returned gifts from her husband for a variety of reasons.

"It was usually size, color or style, not quite right (laughter) all three," said Debbie. "Yeah, all three. The trifecta of error."

Antonia Townsend wants to take the guess-work out of gift giving. She's the founder of Enclosed, a concierge gift giving service for men specializing in lingerie.

"It's hard. Men are not mind readers as much as we'd like them to be," she said.

Men pay Enclosed to pick out the gifts for them. The company even packages it in a bed of rose petals and includes a romantic note from the man.

"They want something that illustrates the connection in their relationship. Something that I often say, something that you wouldn't give to your mother," Townsend said.

She suggests:

  • Buying something that's unique between the two of you.

  • Look for gifts that playoff pet names for each other

  • Emphasize the secrets you share.

  • Avoid comparing the value of gifts you exchange

Both the Reid and Longinetteis think they've found the solution!

"What I do is ask her to go out and buy what she likes, and she then decides what it is and I simply give her some money and pay for it It just saves a lot of hassle," said Gene Longinettei

"I ask her to buy something that we can then wrap up and you know and we can open it up that way. It's still fun and a little bit of a surprise," said Eric Reid.

Townsend emphasizes women want quality, but not necessarily costly items.
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