DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend's family always surprises each other with the gifts they give each other for birthdays and holidays. This is a complete 180-degree switch from my family, who is very transparent in saying what we want and then getting those gifts from one another. After discussing this with my boyfriend, I realized that I wouldn't just be able to ask him what he wants for Christmas and get him this gift. He thinks my family sucked all of the fun and surprise out of the holidays, while I think leaving mystery in gift-giving leaves room for unwanted presents. I am OK with him surprising me with presents, but I want him to like the presents I get him. I feel like gift-giving is more difficult for men, and he doesn't want to give me any suggestions because he wants to be surprised. There must be a compromise somewhere, right? -- Gift Gamble, Westchester, New York
DEAR GIFT GAMBLE: Consider this a fun challenge. Pay closer attention to what your boyfriend likes. Notice the games he plays, the gadgets he admires, what he enjoys doing. What are his quirks? He is right that if you can discover something about him that would bring him joy, it would be a welcome surprise. Rather than considering this a burden, think of it as a game of getting to know him better. Your gift could be tickets to a ballgame or a concert or the latest music from his favorite band. Get creative -- it can be fun!