beauty · Holidays · Life

To Smell or Not: gifting Perfume

Don’t do it. The end.

But on a more serious note, as we get closer to the holiday season and everyone starts thinking about finding gifts for a special person in your life, the idea of gifting a fragrance is very appealing. It is one of the ultimate luxury and indulgent gifts, so why wouldn’t you want to give a special lady that gift?

For one, it is an incredibly easy gift to give. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the 2011 Daily Mail where they are describing how retailers chart when men start their holiday shopping by watching the sale figures for the iconic scent, Chanel No. 5.

I will not say that you should never, ever buy perfume as a gift, since perfume can be that gift women won’t buy themselves. But what I will say is never, ever buy perfume as a gift unless you know FOR SURE that it is the right scent and on her wishlist. And I don’t mean guess; you need to ask.

Women don’t usually buy each other perfume and there is a good reason for that. Scent is personal. Too personal. While I disliked the implications of this “study”, what it does reveal is that people choose their own scent as being a “personally intimate” decision.

Perfumes smell differently on each person. Just because you like the smell in the bottle, that doesn’t mean it will smell that way on her. Spraying the perfume on the tester strip will only let you know how the perfume smells on paper. Remember different person, different chemistry. By the way, the same works on cologne. My best male friend and my husband wear the same cologne; it was years before I realized that because it smelled so unique on each of them.

Moreover, perfumes as scent have a history associated with them. My first very serious boyfriend gifted me with a fragrance that I had indicated I loved – Burberry Brit. I still love it, the scent is timeless to me. But I have a hard time wearing it on a date with my husband because of the memories associated with that scent. If my husband were to glance at my perfume collection, he would see that bottle was low and maybe think to gift me a new bottle. It would be a well-intentioned gift that would be awkward AF.

So this holiday season, while some would advocate gifting perfume, I would personally avoid it unless you know for sure it is a gift they would love. These are the situations I would recommend gifting perfume. If someone specifically requests a scent, give a lady what she wants. If you know they love it and already wear it, gift it. My mother has worn Calvin Klein Obsession for 30 years and will never buy it for herself, so it is a wonderfully indulgent gift for her. But it would be a horrid gift for me because it reminds me of my mother. But if you know they love it, feel free to gift it.

Otherwise, skip the perfume and give a gift card instead. Or a luxury hand cream, a massage, or something else indulgent on those lines.

Besides there is something special about being a woman and buying your own scent.

2 thoughts on “To Smell or Not: gifting Perfume

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