To the true procrastinator, it isn't even close to the last minute yet and they're still fully relaxed. Buying a Christmas gift is something you think about after you get out of work on Christmas Eve.
Others look at the calendar and try not to think about the need to buy a gift. There's still time, they rightfully tell themselves, but in the back of their minds they know Christmas is coming with the speed and force of an oncoming truck on an interstate. So with a ball in the pit of their stomachs they ask themselves, "What am I going to get my wife (or girlfriend) for Christmas this year?"
In rare years, she may have said, "You know, if you're looking for a gift to get me for Christmas, I'd really like (fill in the blank)." The weight of the world is lifted off of your shoulders and you can suddenly breathe again.
That's not how it typically turns out, however. A month or two before Christmas, you might begin to inconspicuously probe a little here and there to try to save yourself the Christmas gift angst. Watching a commercial on TV some evening that has provided information on a possible gift, you half-turn to your lady with as much nonchalance as you can muster and ask, "Do you like those?" She glances up at the television from her book or magazine, wrinkles her nose and gives you a disinterested "meh." Your hopes are dashed -- but there is still time, so you put it out of your mind for now.
Two weeks before Christmas, you're still looking for ideas for a gift. Now it's time to be a bit more affirmative, barely keeping the desperation that will soon set in at bay. You're going to need to be more direct now and ask, "Hey, do you have anything you'd like for Christmas this year?" You hope this question sounds like it has been posed casually both for the benefit of your sanity and to hide the panic that has begun to tug at you sleeve in recent days. There is a tiny chance you will luck out and she will provide you with a solid lead for a gift. Unfortunately, this possibility that this will happen is close to that of winning the Powerball lottery. Most likely, you will hear her respond, "Mm, no. I don't have any ideas. I don't really need anything." You do your best to hide your dismay as you feel the uneasiness ratchet up a notch.
You're left on your own and begin to wrack your brain for ideas within your budget. Unless you are totally inexperienced, you won't even think the word "appliance." The days where this was presented as a possibility on black and white TV in the 1950's with a giddy housewife dancing around the kitchen cradling a new blender are long, long gone. Unless you receive a specific request, the gift of a small appliance may result in a very, very quiet Christmas Day.
Most of us would like to "wow" our wife or girlfriend, but what might be the right gift depends on the person. Jewelry may be a great gift, and the cost varies widely. There are trendy bracelets that are popular as Christmas gifts, especially those that you can add to. Rings, including those with birthstones or mother's rings, are also popular, as are earrings, pendants and even watches. For you unmarried folks in long term relationships where you are feeling pressure for a sparkling long term gift, the consequences of choosing something else at a magical, romantic, traditional gift-giving time need to be carefully considered.
Some ladies are interested in electronics so, if you can afford it, a laptop or tablet may be a great gift. The prices of the latter can be quite reasonable and they are available in a variety of operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows, etc.
Christmas can be an opportunity to purchase clothing for you wife or girlfriend to enjoy. It's usually best to get her opinion on a possible purchase since trying to anticipate the recipient's style preferences can be tricky. You can tell if you've made an error by a tight, polite smile on her face when she has unwrapped the package, and a slight reddening of her cheeks. You should keep the receipts. If you want to take your chances, winter coats and casual clothes for around the house may be easier to select than outfits for work or an evening out. Gift cards to clothing stores are possibilities as well, if you're in a tough spot for clothing.
Another kind of gift that should be considered is a trip to a resort spot or even a night out with tickets and dinner reservations. If it's not in your budget, a trip doesn't need to involve a long flight to an expensive location. Excursions can be by car to a spot you can both enjoy and doesn't even need to be overnight. Tickets or reservation confirmations can be placed in a box and gift-wrapped so there is something under the tree.
In the end, it's best to put some thought into the gift since she'll know if you didn't. You should also remember that once Christmas passes, little thought is given during the course of the year and few people think about the Christmas gifts they received when they are sitting at the beach in August. After all, you need to rest so you are prepared for the stress of the next Christmas season.