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The Modern Domestic Woman: Giving Christmas gifts to the 'Modern Domestic Woman'

While searching for a Christmas gift for your significant other, one might be tempted to be influenced by the advertisements that boast a desire to purchase conventional gifts.

Jewelry, for example.

While I am not wooed by shiny metals and colorful stones, I do appreciate the beauty in a flashy investment piece. November marked my 15th wedding anniversary, and when faced with the inevitable question, “What would you like for our anniversary this year?” the thought of jewelry left me underwhelmed.

Taking time to think, being that this was a major milestone for our marriage (15 years is a long time, right?!) I took to the internet searching for “best anniversary gifts.” Customized necklaces, weekends away even cars graced the lists.

But I didn’t want jewelry and the weekend “away” that I desired was to hang out in my own house and not be running around all over tarnation. While a new car would be lovely, I bask in joy knowing we don’t have a car payment on the hooptie minivan I cruise around in.

Taking a tour around my home, I found what I really cherished: vintage books, botanical prints, antique tea cups ... . Blues and lavenders and rust colors were front and center, books tipped over on my night stand, essential oils stood proudly in the kitchen at the ready to mend some kind of ailment.  

Digging a little deeper for my own anniversary present, I realized we could all use a little reminder on how to give a good gifts to our dearest loves this holiday season.

Let’s examine five ways to really be a knock out gift giver this year:

No. 1: Make a list of all the gifts you given him/her in the past. If even you can’t remember, those purchases were probably not soul stirring. The presents that brought about squeals and hugs = a home run. ( Note: What wooed your sweetie 10 years ago may not anymore, so be cautious and reference the steps below to uncover more.)

No. 2: Channel your inner sleuth detective. Sit back and take note of what’s on display in her home. Is she obsessed with the color blue? Does she have coffee cups lining the walls of her eating area in the kitchen? Check out her night stand. Notice particular brands that appear over and over again. (A small notebook would come in handy to reflect on later so you don’t forget what you’ve observed.)

No. 3: ASK HER. And don’t resist the answer she gives. If the request is “a clean house,” give her a clean house. Hire a cleaning crew or take a weekend to rally the troops in your home to clean up before Christmas morning.

No. 4: Redefine “investment piece.” Home improvement is the gift that keeps on giving. Score big points by tackling her “DIY Wish List.” If she has a Pinterest page, STALK IT. Look for boards labeled “dream home” or “house plans” or something of that nature. Referring back to tip No. 3 always works – ask her.

No. 5: Text one of her friends. If you really want to surprise her, channel ideas from her bosom buddy. That special partner-in-crime always has the intimate scoop on what your "Modern Domestic Woman" wants, and she can ask questions for you.

My husband scored big points for the anniversary, by the way. He located a beautiful 1899 edition of "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, one of the first printed in the United States. Big kisses for that guy! (My husband, not Mr. Stoker.) We also spent the afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago sans children, so we could actually read the snippets about the exhibits and bask in the beauty of art together. I’ll remember this anniversary forever!

Smitten with domestic life but not to the point of unhealthy obsession, “The Modern Domestic Woman” author and St. Charles resident, Elizabeth Rago, is a freelance writer who spends her days writing for PB Kitchen Design in Geneva. You can visit her blog at or connect with Rago on Facebook at Feedback can be sent to

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