When it comes to relationships, there can be a lot of gift-giving. Like. A LOT. In addition to birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Hanukah, and yes, Valentine’s Day, there’s the random gifts that may come along with promotions, kids (Mothers or Fathers day), or just because. A couple in the course of a year could exchange at least three gifts each, which definitely starts to add up mentally and monetarily.
Whether or not you choose to exchange Valentine’s Day gifts, holidays, anniversaries, or any other special day, there’s most likely a time where you’re out shopping for a gift for your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend at least once, and lets’ be honest…what should be a fun experience can start to feel like a pain in the you know what.
Take my husband and I, for example. I used to be ALL about the gifts. Getting them. Giving them. Making them. And it’s not that I’ve completely changed, it’s just that after 10+ years there can be times when you feel gifted-out. However this last anniversary, Christmas, and upcoming Valentine’s Day we both decided not to get each other anything. Not because we didn’t recognize each day (we did!) it’s just that we needed a break from, well, gifting. And yes, I think over-gifting is a real thing.
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With so many gift-giving opportunities for a couple, how do you make each gift special? And do you always have to exchange gifts? Here’s a few of our suggestions, along with romantic gift ideas for each other that we recently came up with!
1. Talk About the Upcoming Holiday and Your Plan for It TOGETHER
Being on the same page about gift-giving is super important. My husband and I go by the rule that we’re getting each other a gift unless we say otherwise. Being the spouse that forgets to get a gift can definitely be a crappy spot to be in, so you want to talk openly about it. Another great thing to do is to set budgets for your gifts. Sometimes it’s fun to set a really low one and see what you can buy with it. Usually you’ll end up giving and getting something that you’ll remember way more than that pricey gift. (But not ALL the time. LOL).
2. Keep a Mental List of Your Partner’s Wishlist to Get Them a Gift They REALLY Want
A few years ago my husband was always complaining about his work bag. It didn’t hold everything he needed and it was impossible to ride a bike to work with it. The first time he said it, it automatically went on my mental gift list and was one of my Christmas gifts to him that year. And because he really, really, wanted (and needed it) I think he would tell you it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever given him. And it wasn’t a huge gift. It was just a MEANINGFUL one. And, ahem, it can go both ways. I may or may not be guilty of casually mentioning things I’ve been looking at knowing my husband is probably making the same list.
3. Gifts That Don’t Come in a Box Tend to Be the Most Fun
The past couple Valentine’s Days my husband and I decided to skip the gifts (see #1 again) and instead make a dish we’ve always wanted to try for Valentine’s Day dinner. Typically one of us will make the appetizer or dessert and the other the main course. We’ll pair it with one of our nicest bottle’s of wines (or buy one to mark the occasion) and celebrate the day AND the fact that we’re not out at an overpriced restaurant. Whether it’s a meal you make for your partner or make together, a night at a local hotel, or cooking classes you can both do together, it’s fun to think outside the box when it comes to gift-giving. For example this year we’re making dinner at home AND treating ourselves to a couple’s massage. We both know about it, it’s not a surprise at all, yet I’m so excited for it. (And I secretly think we’re excited we don’t have to *think* about what to get each other on February 14th.)
4. Random Gifts Are NOT Better Than No Gift At All
We’ve all been there…it’s two days before a holiday and you have zero gifts. Running to the store and picking out something—anything!–is not the way to go. If you get stuck without having found the meaningful gift you want, guess what? You always have time for valentines day cards (see below) and a DIY gift that offers to make your partner’s daily routine feel a little less like a routine. Some examples include 5 “get out of dishes” slips that you give to your partner to cash in when they just don’t feel like doing dishes one night. (I regretfully gave these to my husband because I HATE doing dishes and he’s always stuck doing them. But I love him, so there you go.) Or laundry. Whatever your partner hates doing, you can always offer in a sweet, handwritten note to take care of whatever “Annoying Chore” for them. While candles or a box of chocolates is sweet, not having to clean for a day is sweeter.
5. Always Include a Card
I feel like this one might be more for the guys (sorry), but definitely don’t forget the card when you give your gift. The art of including a card with a sweet note is definitely not forgotten and will ALWAYS be appreciated. Taking the time to remind your partner how much you love them and why they’re so special to you is priceless. Trust me when I tell you that a great gift can easily be overshadowed if you’ve forgotten a card. Especially when they’re so easy to get! You can easily find great cards on Amazon, Etsy, and Minted, so plan ahead and consider buying one as soon as you read this! That way you’ll always have one on hand.
Now that we’ve talked about the Valentines Day Gift basics, I thought it would be fun to share a wish list that my husband and I recently came up with for an upcoming episode of The Woman Getting Married podcast. Continue reading below!
Cashmere robe: I’ve been wanting a nice robe that looks put together (instead of “I just crawled out of bed and threw this on,” even if it’s true). A cashmere mix sounds perfect, as long as it’s washable!
Classic jewelry: OK. OK. This isn’t that out of the box. But a pair of classic earrings or a necklace/bracelet are always appreciated. Depending on your budget you could go with something from Tiffany (silver is a great mid -range option). Jennifer Fisher also makes amazing hoop earrings that are brass plated with gold or silver so very light and more cost effective.
Personalized notebooks and stationery: I recently bought myself personalized “To-Do” list notebooks from Papier and I love them.
Silk anything: I must be on a luxurious fabric kick lately, because all I want is cozy cashmere or silk! I love a brand called Silk Laundry, which makes good quality 90’s slip dresses that you can dress up or down.
(As told to me!)
Anything fun that’s related to a vice: Cory has gotten super into wine and cocktails lately, so the best valentines day gift for him right now all revolve around, well, drinking. LOL. For instance last Christmas I got him a really nice cocktail mixer and stirring spoon. He’s also been into gadgets (like electric wine openers) and special bottles of spirits.
An experience: This could be anything from a day at Top Golf to tickets to a sporting event (extra bonus if you have to travel to it). Cory also notes that if he’s into clothes, a special tailoring experience for a suit could be a great option.
A super fun food: Anybody can go to a nice restaurant, but there’s something about ordering in from one (with a special bottle mentioned above) that makes it even more of an adventure. If you don’t have anything you love near you, Goldbelly makes it easy to get a localized specialty from where your sweetheart is from. (Pizza from Chicago, BBQ from Kansas City, etc.).
A monthly subscription – but make it weird: Think beans, bitters, crazy olive oils…anything that’s remotely related to an area of interest. Getting these each month is always something to look forward to explore and expand horizons. And then using them together is always fun.
Do any of these spark ideas for your own gifts? Let us know in the comments section!