Gift ideas for your partner

It’s not about how much you spend or what you buy. As the old adage goes – it’s the thought that counts. Give of yourself and you will give her/him all she needs. Best of luck to both of you.

Here is a checklist to use when selecting gifts, to be sure you are putting the recipient's likes, and not my own, into the selection process. When shopping for a gift, ask yourself the following:
  1. Why am I giving it?
  2. Is it sincere?
  3. Am I giving it without strings attached?
  4. Does it reflect the receiver's taste, not mine?
  5. Is it too extravagant?
  6. Is it kind? (Don't give gag gifts.)
  7. Is it appropriate? ( no candy for a dieter.)
  8. Can I present it in person?
  9. Is it presented beautifully?
  10. Do I feel good about giving it?

Research your recipients interests.

The whole point of gift giving is to show that you care, so if it's obvious that you haven't put any thought into the gift at all, there's no point in giving it.  "So how do I find out what my boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée wants/would appreciate?" Listen to your love. The next time you are watching TV together, make a note of all the things he/she gets excited about during commercials, reads the newspaper, especially newspaper or magazine ads. Pay attention when you are window-shopping together, or even when you're just chatting. People are always unconsciously rambling about stuff they want, and if you make it a point to listen closely, your job of finding out what he/she would like will be greatly simplified. You can also ask a friend or relative that knows them well.

What are appropriate gifts based on the length of time you have been dating someone?

That depends, not just on the length of time, but the serious nature of your relationship. Here is an example list of appropriate gifts for Christmas or Birthdays:

Dating 1 month to 3 months

: Keep it light. This is not the time to spend a fortune on your new honey. That might just scare them off. Keep it simple and under $100.00, and think about the person. Try to show a sense of humor with your choices; finding something related to how you met can add sentiment to a relationship that's just getting started. Simple gifts like books, CDs, and videotapes are good ways to show off your interests and what you have in common. Items that reflect their interests, hobbies and places they like to travel.

  • A small basket filled with spa/bath goodies, CD's, books, or high quality candles.
  • Coffee Table books: Books on wine, art, place that the person likes to travel to.
  • Items that reflect interests of the other person. Example: High quality Christmas ornament that reflects the interest. (ie, fishing, deer hunting, golfing, skiing).
  • Champagne flutes and a bottle of good quality champagne
  • Stuffed animal
  • Team logo sweatshirt, golf shirt from a resort or country club
  • Godiva chocolates-flowers or roses
  • Picnic Basket
  • Hammock for two
  • Cigars (for a boyfriend)
  • Collectable ornaments, dolls, and other collectable items that the person has an interest in. Keep it small and inexpensive.
  • Elegant scarf (female), tie (male)
  • Sweet-smelling body gel soap, after-bath splash, bubble bath, perfume, cologne, lavender water, rosewater, handmade glycerin soap, French vanilla or lavender potpourri or candles
  • Perfume atomizer
  • Wicker basket filled with tablecloth, wine, and picnic lunch

3-6 months : Items can be more romantic and personal:

  • Their favorite perfume/cologne
  • Jewelry box
  • A light trinket. Nothing with gemstones or very few/small ones. Small necklace or bracelet 
  • Trendy sports watch, sports related items like designer ski googles or gloves
  • Designer sweater
  • Hhockey skates or roller blades
  • A framed piece of art, or piece of museum-reproduction jewelry, can be one of the more romantic and memorable gifts for a couple. 
  • Massage by a professional masseuse
  • Crystal or porcelain clock 
  • Tickets to a concert by the recipient's favorite artist or band.

6-12 months:

If you are male, this is the point where gifts should be very romantic and have significance about your commitment and future.  Items should be very personal, can be more pricey, and reflect your feelings for your significant other, your commitment and your significant others personal interests:

  • A meaningful trinket such as a romantic necklace or bracelet.  Keepsakes that are engraved with your love! 
  • Elegant Jewelry with their favorite gemstones, birthstones or diamonds. (Keep engagements and engagement rings separate from the holidays or a birthday). 
  • Elegant goldtone watch, designer sports/scuba watch
  • Skis, designer ski wear
  • Jewelry box
  • Leather jacket
  • Portable DVD player
  • Cool gadgets that you would find in Sharper Image...except for personal care appliances
  • Fishing/Hunting, Scuba or Golf Gear
  • Camera (digital, panorama or other specialty), binoculars, telescope
  • Weekend/week long getaway to Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, Vail, Aspen...or somewhere else romantic and exciting.

What should you NEVER give for a gift? 

  • Coffee Maker
  • Waffle maker
  • Any kitchen or hair care, or personal care type appliance
  • Clothing for a female.  Most women are picky.
  • Baskets filled with fruit, nuts, cheese, cakes, cookies, gourmet food, teas or coffees (Give these to clients, please!)
  • Plants (save these for the office) or homemade artwork (unless you are a well known artist in demand)
  • Gift Certificates (unless you are married) or coupons
  • Anything sexual in nature
  • Gag gifts. Joke gifts may get a laugh at the moment of giving, but can leave a sour aftertaste

Guys guide to giving flowers:

1-3 months: Bring a single rose occasionally to surprise your date, or have one delivered where you take your date for dinner.
3-12 months: Send a dozen red roses for a birthday. 
6-12 months: Senda dozen red roses to show your love or that you are "in love"                       

1 year anniversary: Send a dozen red roses to show her you remember the day you met and how important she is to you.

Always send roses when:

You were wrong, had to cancel a date or any major plans, no matter what the reason (no matter how long you have been dating with a signed card asking forgiveness and telling her you will make it up to her....and you better make it up to her).    

Gift Giving Decoder:

If She Gives...

If You Give: A tie
You're Saying: "Your beer-guzzling, frat boy charm has worn off. Please get a real job."

If You Give: Silk boxer shorts
You're Saying: "The less clothing I see you in, the better, stud."

If You Give: A weekend vacation for two
"I like you enough to spend every moment of the entire weekend with you alone. So if you were wondering if this is serious, it is." 

If You Give: A sports car modeling kit
You're Saying: "I know that deep down beneath that manly exterior lies a little boy who wants to play. I respect that."

If You Give: A shirt
You're Saying: "I like your style, but don't you think you'd look better in something like this?"

If You Give: Tickets to a hockey game 
You're Saying: "Take me to this game and help me learn more about your interests. Take a friend and lose me forever."

If You Give: A best-selling book
You're Saying: "I don't know you that well, but other people liked this, so why shouldn't you?"

If You Give: A handmade sweater
You're Saying: "I'm definite marriage material, if you like the Martha Stewart type." 

If You Give: A CD player.    You're saying: "This will look great in OUR living room sometime soon, don't you think?" 

If You Give: A Copy of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" or any other self-help/relationship/psychology-type book.

You're saying:  "I'm about to break up with you so you might want to get started on the background reading. Later."

If He Gives... 

If He Gives: A necklace
He's Saying: "I really care about you and want you to think about me every time you wear this."

If He Gives: Lingerie
He's Saying: "I already think you're sexy, but I've fantasized about seeing you in something like this."

If He Gives: A Cuisinart
He's Saying: "I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm not attracted to you anymore."

If He Gives: A puppy
He's Saying: "I can already visualize the house, the picket fence and the children too."

If He Gives: A sweater
He's Saying: "I've got no imagination and I probably gave the same gift to my mother."

If He Gives: A weekend vacation for two
He's Saying: "I want 48 hours of uninterrupted sex."

If He Gives: A new perfume
He's Saying: "My ex-girlfriend wore what you wear now, so please try this."

If He Gives: A cellular phone 
He's Saying: "Either I'm genuinely concerned about your safety or I need to be able to reach you every second of every minute of every day."

If He Gives: A CD you've wanted for months
He's Saying: "I am a good listener and I've got a great memory." 

If He Gives: A poem
He's Saying: "I'm a romantic in love. And I'm broke."

Other Do's and Don'ts of Gift Giving:

DO give a book or a CD that you'll know he'll like towards the beginning of a relationship. These options show thoughtfulness, without getting too personal. 
DO drop hints about what you want before your birthday/anniversary/holidays hit. Either mention some items in passing or take your partner shopping and subtly point things out. 
DO fall back on leisure- and sports-related gifts towards the start of a tryst. These are safe standards. 

DON'T give sexy underwear or anything sex-related unless you are already sleeping together. 
DON'T write a mushy card or give any cutesy gifts unless the relationship is serious and stable. 
DON'T be afraid to get creative. Adding a personal touch to any gift makes it more unique. 

DON'T bother with garbage/gag gifts like chia pets,  pet rocks, etc.  They will just end up in the trash, after you are given the boot.
DON'T expect all men to be great gift givers. If your man happens to give you something that you hate, try to focus on his good points! Happy shopping, and good luck!

Other Tips for Holiday Gifts and Etiquette for any Parties/Social Functions:

Do bring a bottle of wine or a small box of chocolates to the host or hostess that has invited you to their party.

Do send a short note or email of thanks for the great time you had and for being invited to the party.

Do thank friends/colleagues with a short note or email of thanks for any present, no matter the size, or whether or not you like it.   It is the thought that counts.

Do go with reasonable expectations to parties.  Don't expect that you will be fixed up with someone just because the host/hostess wants to introduce you to someone.   People get into conversations with others and unfortunately, get hooked for a part of the party and may lose the interest in meeting whoever the host/hostess wants to fix them up with.    

Do make an effort to smile, put out your hand and say "hi, I am ....., nice to meet you."  Conversation starters can include:  How do you know the host/hostess?  What are you drinking...do you like it?  What kind of work do you do?   Go with the attitude that you are going to make friends with lots of people of both sexes.   The more new friends you make, the more people who you can hang out with and who will set you up to meet people after they get to know you.  Look for people with coming interests:  Volleyball, tennis, bowling, skiing, bible studies, etc.  Find out about new groups from people and try to finagle an initiation to go.

Don't go to a party if you are: 1. in a bad mood, frazzled from a long day or too tired, 2. expecting that you are going to meet the man/woman of your dreams,  3. really don't want to be there.

Don't go to a party empty handed.  Even if the hostess says bring nothing, bring a small box of chocolates or a bottle of wine.

Don't bring cheap items.   If the hostess is doing a potluck or a party where everyone does bring something, do not bring boxed wine, wine with screw tops, packaged off the shelf cookies.  Bring a bottle of wine that is unique that others will have a conversation about, make something unique from scratch or pick up a gourmet type appetizer or brie.  

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