Steer clear of these unless you want to sleep on the sofa!
When it comes to gift-giving, choosing the perfect present for your wife may be the area most fraught with potential pitfalls. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is this: Anything that's for both of you should not count as a gift for her special occasion. For example, a cruise is an amazing vacation, but it's something you're both going to take and enjoy, so it shouldn't be something you give her for her birthday.
A birthday gift, especially, should be strictly for the recipient: It's their special day, right? A personal gift just for her will make her feel special, whereas a "shared" gift like a vacation takes some of the focus away from her and might even lead to resentment down the road if this behavior becomes a pattern.
In the case of anniversaries, shared gifts are completely appropriate--as long as it's something you can both truly "share". A new bass boat or a hunting safari to Africa may not be good choices--unless your wife actually enjoys those activities.
Here, then, are five things you should never give your wife as gifts.
1. Appliances. Even if she asks for a Ninja Bullet or a Shark vacuum, giving these things as gifts is not appropriate. Appliances are tools; as such, they are a part of everyday life and should be considered "necessities" not gift items. They can also be used by anyone in the household, which decreases their specialness (remember the "shared item" rule?) Buy them for everyday purposes, not gifts.
2. Exercise equipment. See item 1. Exercise equipment is doubly difficult as a gift not only because of the appliance rule, but also because of the implication that the recipient needs to get in shape. Even if it's true, buying your wife a treadmill is the mechanical equivalent of saying, "You're fat. Start walking." Remember the backlash surrounding the Peloton commercial last Christmas? Take that seriously.
3. Bathroom scale. Need I say more?
4. Lingerie. Sexy lingerie is really more of a gift for you rather than for her. The only reason women like lingerie is because we know that you like to see us in it. Your appreciation makes us happy, but most lingerie is awkward and uncomfortable, and it's certainly not something we're going to be wearing to the office under our business clothes.
5. Gift cards. Ok, here's a news flash: Gift cards should only be given to people you either don't know that well, or don't really care about. I know I'll hear arguments about this, but hear me out. In the first place, gift cards require almost nothing from the giver: no thought, no time invested in choosing a gift, you don't even have to leave the sofa! It's the lazy person's gift. Second, there is nothing less exciting to open than a gift card. B-o-o-o-r-i-n-g. A gift card for a loved one says, "I couldn't be bothered to find something special for you, so here's some money. Go buy yourself something." If you have to send a gift to your niece across the country, then a gift card is fine. But not for your wife. Do better.
It's not that hard to find a great gift. Start by looking here. Keep her needs in mind, and you'll do fine.