Here are 5 gifts you must never buy for your wife...

1. Anything to do with changing shape: Be that a woman’s body with fitness equipment or her nose with plastic surgery (some surgeons actually market this as the perfect gift for the one you love). Gym membership, weighing scales, weights, a Fitbit... all are fine if she’s asked for them, less so as a surprise. They all suggest that you love her just the way she is, minus a few kilos here and there.

[The best gifts we can leave for others]

2. Clothes in the wrong size: This is a tricky lose-lose area. If a woman receives an item of clothing that is too small, she’ll think this is the size that her partner wants her to fit into. If it’s too big, she’ll believe that this is how he sees her. Stick to shoes/jewellery.

3. Kitchenware: There is little in the world that gives me as much happiness as a certain stand mixer I requested and received a few years ago, but most women don’t want a gift that says “what’s for dinner?” For every man who loves to cook and dreams of being given a bespoke outdoor fire pit, there are a hundred women for whom cooking has become yet another chore.

4. Unsexy tech: A pair of classy headphones, yes. An electric toothbrush, no. One is the gift of noise-cancelling and podcasts, the other is marginally improved oral hygiene. There is a difference. Into the unsexy tech category also falls a smart video doorbell, a multi-device charging station or a robot vacuum cleaner.

5. Something you really want for yourself: Real-life examples of this include season tickets to a sporting event and an Xbox.

Stuck for what to get your husband this year? Just steer clear of these perennial ‘classics’...

It’s a scientific fact that men are annoyingly tricky to buy for. Yet there are still certain presents that even we unwrap each year with a rictus grin and long-suffering sigh of disappointment.

1. Soap on a rope: This retro item has been “reinvented” in recent years. Upmarket grooming brands now make them and they inevitably appear in every “For him” gift guide. Sadly, they look a lot less swanky after a couple of uses, when the embossed logo has worn off, the cracks have appeared and bits of hair are stuck to them.

2. A wallet: As creatures of habit, we like our current wallet, thanks very much. The new one will inevitably be too big or small, with annoying pockets and stiffly creaky leather.

3. Posh shaving kits: You know the ones. A shiny little stand with a yak’s hair shaving brush and platinum-bladed razor. Thing is, we’ve been shaving every day for years. We’ve got this routine down. Don’t try to make us do it a completely different way.

4. An “experience”: Falconry! Archery! Hot air ballooning! We’ll secretly dread going and pray that nobody mentions it before the offer expires.

5. A tie: A fail-safe guy-gift, you might think, but fiendishly tricky to get right. Is it the right length and width? Does the fabric look cheap and flammable? Is the pattern too much with this face? Besides, we’ll just add it to the collection of ties that you’ve brought us for the previous 12 years.

The Daily Telegraph