Split up: Divide and conquer (the mall, that is)

The key to an enjoyable joint shopping experience is to be aware of your differences. This also applies if you are planning a day's shopping with the girls. Not all women enjoy traipsing round the shops, and some men are known to revel in the retail experience!

Why not decide who is going to find the presents for each person on your Christmas list before you leave the house? It may also help to have a frank discussion of what you both hate about shopping. You may find that you can split tasks up so you each avoid the things that bug you most.

An obvious tactic is to split the presents up by gender. This will allow your partner to spend an afternoon playing with gadgets, flipping through CDs, and loitering at Lowe's or Tractor Supply while you find equally stereotypical presents for the female relatives.

Either way, meeting up for a food or drink stop halfway through allows you to draw breath, compare what you've bought, and most importantly, enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. If there's time at the end, go out together and buy some fun stuff for the two of you. If you can't face that much shoping togetherness, go out on a separate trip without the pressure of finding that perfect present for Uncle Elwood, wear your Santa hat with pride, and have some fun.

If you try everything and he still looks as if you've stolen his remote control, it may be wise to compromise. You can agree to do the majority of the shopping if he accepts some of the Christmas tasks that require him to focus on one task. He can write the Christmas cards, wrap the presents, or make the eggnog.

Even better, you can demand his undivided attention by getting him to treat you to a special night out, or an extra long massage to lower your stress levels.