Lets face it, most guys are not the best gift-givers. What to get her for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, Valentines, Easter, Birthday?

You may be a trendsetter, fashion enthusiast or a fashion disaster; either-way it’s your taste in gift giving — ranging often from gaudy, grandma’s fashion to ostentatious and commercial; that might be too simple or too much for her to swallow. Gifting is a skill that can be honed and mastered with time, perceptiveness and observance.

Here are a few pointers to assist you in making your gift shopping spree have a good ROI and getting you a black belt in the art of gifting.

The first duty of love is to listen!

Ultimately what you gift, will also reflect on how much you listen. The clues you will find from just listening to her are endless. Observe and analyze what she is saying; magazines she has been reading, things that are a pain-point to her. See what does she have in her Amazon, Myhabit wishlist, if she has one. Pay attention to what she wears, her style, her wardrobe, brands she likes; snap a little peak at her personality.

Is she looking for a clutch, a massage, jewelry, a book, an experience or a watch? If not apt for now, you could always save ideas as a gift-checklist in your calendar or your Evernote for a timely present in the future.

Fix: Don’t wait till 13th to buy her a gift for 14th. Listen, focus and act. You will be surprised at how many things you can pick up that can make her ecstatic. Or hints she drops down to make sure you get it right this time;)!

Failing to plan is planning to fail!

“The best gift you can give to someone is your time, because you’re giving them a portion of your life you will never get back.” Just like your business presentation, give some thought and time to strategize the right gift, could be minutes, hours or days depending on how well you know her and the nature of the gift (material, experience, sentimental). What kind of a person is she? Does she value experiences more than gifts? Are gifts her prized possession- something memorable, forever and tangible? Or would she prefer spending time with you on couples massage or on a cruise. Would she love receiving a book or tickets to a popular concert or fashion show? Is she an artist, a book lover, a musician or an interior designer? Analyzing the kind of person she is, would tell you immensely about which section of the gift spectrum to look at to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift.

Fix: She could love candles, Prada, skywriting or a balloon ride. A sneak-peak at the exterior will tell you a lot about what will pull her heartstrings on the interior. Know what excites her and you will already be a step closer to the perfect gift.

A trend-setter not a follower!

The Doppler

“Oh, I specially bought this for you, because it made a great outfit according to the sales-girl!” Uh Bad idea. Ever wondered, she might be different and would like something distinctive and picked by you. A salesgirl might lead you in to buying something uber nice for commission, old school or of her personal style, either-ways we don’t share the same taste in fashion.

Similarly, everything that shines is not gold. Many of you guys make the millions spent on store displays like Harrods, Selfridges worthwhile, by going with what the mannequin’s wearing. But what’s good for the mannequin may NOT be good for your woman! You don’t want to gift something that receives a polite thank you but sits in the wardrobe eating dust for years. Think of the receiver, their style and outlook. A relevant gift you will see consumed more often.

Fix: If a salesgirl or mannequin is your best bet, use your judgement to pick from the options presented. Even if your girl doesn’t like it, chances are she will give you A for Effort. A safe bet is to ask her siblings or friends for relevant gift advice. She wouldn’t mind the extra help you snagged if she loves what you got for her. ++

Remember the excellence of a gift lies in it’s appropriateness rather than in it’s value.

The best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive gifts. Be creative and personal in your gifts, the thought does count here! Monogrammed chocolates, a weekend escape, cooking for her, a tennis bracelet with symbolic charms or a customized photo frame. Don’t go buy an expensive crystal vase or a vintage painting for someone who values personal wearables. Buy things or experiences that are remarkably exclusive and personify her.

Fix: It’s not about how much you spent, it’s about how well you spent it! Be thoughtful, something unique to her, customize your gift with engravings, create something crafty that shows your time and considerateness.

And finally, nothing says ‘I care’ like a bouquet of flowers and a personalized greeting card. Better yet if you made the card yourself. They are almost a must accompaniment with the GIFT for any special occasion and represent thoughtfulness. In general, Roses, Lilies and Chrysanthemums are a good choice but if she is a super-flower-power girl, it’s best to know what kind will bring a glow to her face.

The best gifts come from the heart, not the store. Important dates to commemorate are no-surprises. Being attentive and proactive will not only buff your gift skills tremendously, but also your efforts and relationship will be much more appreciated. She deserves some quality time — in your thoughts and calendar- make it all about her this day!

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