Eight Secret Ways To Convince Your Man To Go Shopping This Holiday Season

My wife and I agree on very little when it comes to shopping. I use a list, she likes to wing it. I get in and get out, she likes to peruse each aisle. The one thing we can agree on is that we cannot shop together. I imagine we are not alone.

So in the interest of shopping harmony, I offer up the following tips for women who haven’t given up on the idea of their husband or boyfriend joining them on this year’s Christmas shopping expedition.

1.  Do not take him to a store that you know he does not like. There are only a few places I absolutely refuse to go. One is Bath and Body Works. You can smell the place from the mall parking lot! And once inside I can almost guarantee the onset of a blinding headache or an asthma attack from the aromatic collection of fruity lotions.

2.  Give us a list of items and turn us loose.  Men, by nature, are hunter/gatherers. Give me a list of items you want me to bring back and challenge me by saying something like, “Oh nevermind, you’ll never find it” and then turn me loose! Be forewarned, I may bring back the wrong brand, size or color, so if you want specifics, say so!

3.  Avoid crowded stores. I know this rule is hard to follow during the Christmas season as throngs of mega consumers are out and about shopping for loved ones. However, most guys are claustrophobic. And the idea of being packed like sardines in a crowded Victoria Secret store while you search a table of unmentionables ranks pretty high on our list of uncomfortable situations. If you must enter such a place, find one with a comfy bench outside and tell us to park it.

4.  Plan your trip to the mall around male-friendly stores.  Always keep your eyes peeled for diversions. If you need to stop by the Hallmark store you better look for a male-friendly place to send us while you sneak in a few card purchases to get this year’s $14 dancing, singing snowman. I highly recommend GNC Nutrition, Radio Shack, or any store with those playable video game demos on display. Warning: Move quickly, if you take longer than the time to play one quarter of Madden Football ’09 on the XBox 360 I might venture into Hallmark and scuttle your entire plan.

5.  Communication is key. Bring along some two-way radios to keep in touch. Cell phones are not as fun, but they will do in a pinch. Bonus points for sexiness if you say things like, “Over,” “What’s your 20,” or can squawk “I love you” in Morse Code.

6.  Do not take guys shopping on an empty stomach. Luring us to the store in exchange for the promise of food is a smart plan. If you can swing it, a pre-game meal involving steak will provide energy to get us through. And a post-game dessert over coffee is a nice reward for good behavior.

7.  Do not ask for input on non-practical gifts. Seriously, we do not really care which figurine you send to Aunt Gertrude this year. To the male shopper figurines equal dust collectors. However, if you are trying to decide between an iPod or a Zune we will gladly share our opinions.

8.  At least once during the trip, buy something because it is cheaper, or higher quality. Your frugality will impress us.  Turn-ons include calculating the unit price, using a coupon, asking the salesperson for a discount, and comparing manufacturer warranties.

Shopping together this holiday season doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. But the responsibility for success or failure of a joint holiday shopping expedition lies mostly in the hands of women. Of course, this probably doesn’t surprise them. In my family, the entire Christmas season would be pretty bleak if it weren’t for the help of Mrs. Clause.


  1. These are also the tips for how to take your kids shopping. lmao. I’m just sayin’.

  2. this seems to be less about how men/women shop and more about how people are engaged in the activities around them. and how hard is it to learn how to engage yourself in activities that you do not find engaging? shopping is an easy activity to learn to enjoy in a group setting and has nothing to do with the fake male/female divide that you claim here. To limit this discussion to those two fields actually does a disservice to your overarching idea of getting people with two different approaches to shopping to enjoy the experience together.

  3. My hubby generally hates shopping too so I make him browse catalogs and/or websites with me – then I go pick up the deals that we’ve found.

    The only exception is our daughter – We shop for her gifts together! Or, I find something in a store, come home, find it online (for more money than I found it in the store) show it to him, tell him how cheap I can buy it and then go another day and pick it up… Of course the only trouble with shopping together for Sugar is that he likes to wait until December 23rd and I like to be done with ALL the shopping by December 1st!

  4. my mom and dad both hate shopping, but I’m about to marry into a family that lives and breaths black friday.

    Thankfully I have to ‘work’ on Friday, but I won’t be immune for the entire season. I’m taking this advice with me when I’m kidnapped down to the mall this year.

  5. This was great. My husband is more of an online shopper for these very reasons. We should partner up on some holiday posts. Your “how to take a man shopping” with my “what to buy your woman” list from today. 🙂 I love it!

  6. This cracked me up–especially the two-ways! Me and my husband would have a blast with those. 🙂 I’d also suggest that when out with a man, learn to make decisions quickly. Either you like the pants or you don’t. The 53rd twirl in the mirror isn’t going to make up your mind.

  7. @Sara: Ha! The ongoing joke with my wife is that deciding between two outfits does not amount to a “career decision.” Fortunately, us guys don’t have to make any “twirls” in the dressing room mirror to decide if a shirt fits or not.

  8. You’re funny today! My husband and I have found “divide and conquer” works best for us. We decide what gifts to buy early on, and then split the list up. For the kids, we buy slowly throughout the year.

  9. Re: #6

    I have found that bringing an assortment of snacks while shopping also solves this problem. When my husband gets antsy, I pull out a granola bar or sandwich.

    Other important note- don’t forget to bring a water bottle. Nothing makes people more cranky and ornery than being dehydrated.

  10. I’m a faithful attendee of Goodwill’s “the last Saturday of the month everything 50% off” sale. I’ve been told I shop like a guy – I have a list, I get what I need and get out! LOL But, I never subjected DaHubby to Goodwill. Oh, what a mistake that was!

    With regards to #2, a slight twist…

    DaHubby offered to come one Sat. to wrangle the kids while I went bargain hunting. In the time it took for me to realize that for this month Goodwill had none of the things on my list, DaHubby had found a $5 microscope for homeschooling and a $24 sewing machine in perfect working order – and that was BEFORE the 50% discount!

    I now BEG for him to go with me – he ALWAYS finds better deals than I can! LOL

  11. On one such shopping trip with my wife, we stopped in to Talbots, just for a “quick look”, like a fool I followed like a little puppy dog. And they had the MOST comfortable “man chairs” in the mall! I literally fell asleep! New requirement when shopping with wife and daughters – good man chairs – with a promise we will have dinner and a stop by See’s chocolates (West Coast thing).

  12. Hah, well I’m not a man, and you could apply all those to me too. Not all girls love to shop!

    I actually do most of mine online (no lines, thank you very much), though I’m fortunate enough to be going to Mexico for a week (leaving Saturday, woohoo!), and I’ll probably do most of my gift shopping for folks down there.

    Anyone want a bottle of tequila? 😉

  13. Oh My God!
    FrugalDad, you must have watched me and the wife on our shopping trips. This is us from #1 all the way to #8.
    Getting claustrophobia in a crowded place? Yep. Can’t shop hungry? Of course I can’t. And definitely do not ask for input on non-practical gifts. At best you’ll get a grunt or a shrug.

  14. It turns out I shop like a man! I will be making as many Christmas gifts as possible this year, simply to avoid the shopping chaos.

  15. I totally lucked out. The women in my wife’s family “celebrate” Black Friday TOGETHER. The guys don’t get out at all. She pretty much covers everything that we need and my opinions have never counted for much anyways.

    Of course, on the non-Black Friday shopping trips, I have 2 words that could save a marriage: temper tantrums. 😉

  16. This was pretty funny! 😉

    I especially liked #8 – that’s my husband to a T.

    I would also add “#9 – Have a romantic incentive if the husband makes it through the entire trip. Its worth it for both of you!”


  17. Can’t say that I’ve ever even tried to do co-ed shopping! I don’t like it myself – so why drag someone else along to share the misery 🙂

    Actually, as I ‘gather’ all year long, I’m done and don’t have to face those terrible crowds!
    Thank goodness!

    Cute funny post! With some truth in there also!

  18. Cute, but you need a follow up for the guys. How to suck it up and help out once a year since your wife is likely already stressed about the decorating, cleaning, cooking, and kids. Seriously though, I try to send my husband on missions involving his specialty stores – Best Buy, Office Max, etc. Anytime I can send a visual (cut out from an add, picture from online) it helps.

  19. @ Julie – Exactly what I was thinking.

    I figure if I suck it up and do all sorts of things I don’t want to do for Mr., he can suck it up and do things for me :p Thankfully I too “shop like a guy” so Mr. really doesn’t mind all that much and I try not to drag him along if I’m “browsing” rather than shopping. In return, he doesn’t take me to go get the oil changed or drool over paintball equipment.

  20. for men to get out of this in the future, go shopping a few times, be nice, supportive, all that, then take her shopping for fishing, hunting, car, sporting, electronics, the stuff that bores her to tears. then do all of the above.

  21. #6 is good advice, and #7 so true! Right now I’m ok with having my husband stay at home with the kiddos so I can shop in relative peace and quiet. Although at least once during the Christmas season we like to go on a date and swing by a toy store to do some shopping together.

  22. Hmmm, interesting. I would never ask my spouse to go shopping with me, and I wouldn’t go shopping with him (yuck, computers, video games, and stereo equipment!). We do not exchange gifts for Christmas or birthdays– while this wouldn’t work for everyone, for us it makes life much simpler, frugaler, and much more fun.

  23. Dude… Victoria’s Secret is awesome. Just because *you* are uncomfortable asking a smoking hot sales chica for something “red and slutty” doesn’t mean all men are. I always get something for my girl there. And if not there, then Agent Provocateur or Frederick’s.

    A store full of hot women and skimpy clothes. What’s not to like?

  24. Dude, this is totally on my top 10 posts of the year list. It is so on! Pass this post around to all your wives, girlfriends, etc. They need to know! LOL.

  25. My man doesn’t like going shopping either. How similar all men are…I like your idea to give him list of times to search for!