Men who give gifts — and the women who buy the gifts men give

The Sunday Edition reveals the truth about gift-giving. Women have been silent for far too long about buying presents that their husbands give to others. Producer Frank Faulk rips the wrapping paper off this widespread undercover activity built on exploited labour and deception.
The Sunday Edition reveals the truth about gift-giving. Women have been silent for far too long about buying presents that their husbands give to others. Producer Frank Faulk rips the wrapping paper off this widespread undercover activity built on exploited labour and deception. (Katherine Holland/CBC)
Listen15:28

In the pre-Christmas rush, the malls are packed with shoppers. And they almost all have a certain something in common. They are women.

In 2004, The Sunday Edition looked into the practice of wives buying gifts for their husbands to give to other people, to find out why the women continued to do it. 

"We would show up with no gifts in hand if I didn't do it," said one anonymous gift giver.  

"If the gifts weren't bought, it wouldn't just be a reflection on my husband, but on me, that that caring wasn't shown. Therefore I take responsibility for it," said another. 

Many of the women admitted to feeling conflicted. On the one hand, they considered themselves strong, proud feminists and yet they felt the pull of being the sole carriers of this domestic responsibility. 

"It's something that, deep down, we know as women, we shouldn't be doing and it's wrong. And yet we continue to do it," an anonymous present giver said. 

"I think both men and women should question why it still goes on."

One woman said she's given up and just accepted how hopeless her otherwise great husband is at giving presents. Another, however, has drawn a line in the sand and said she's not buying any presents this year.

"I've done the reminder call and then I'm not doing anymore," she proclaimed. 

Click 'listen' above to hear Frank Faulk's documentary. 

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