Gift-giving can be a stressful. Lots of us procrastinate and dilly-dally until we buy that tenuous-emergency-next-day-delivered-gift – not the ideal gift buying situation to be in! So, if you’re not sure what to buy, how much to spend, what to do or where to go…relax; I’ve got you covered.
Today, I’m giving you five thoughtful gift ideas that’ll work no matter what stage of a relationship you’re in. These ideas go beyond the standard bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates – not that flowers and chocolate are a poor choice, but I wanted to give you some more thoughtful gifts and activities to think about.
1. A Home-Cooked Meal
Cooking a meal for a date or partner takes time and effort, but it’s not overly sentimental, so it’s ideal for couples from dating sites who’ve just started seeing each other. For example, it’s a great idea if you’ve been on a few casual dates, but you still want to do something nice for them. Cooking for them won’t make things feel awkward or more serious than they really are.
You probably already know what foods your date likes and doesn’t like, but ask them a few questions just in case. Make sure you do all the prep you need to do before your date comes over, to ensure you have enough time to spend with your love interest (instead of in the kitchen)!
2. Something Personalised
Maybe you and your special someone are definitely something, and you’ve been dating for a while. This is when a personalised gift is best. It could be a mug, pillow, smartphone cover, puzzle… — seriously you can get anything personalized these days. The personalized part could be a reminder of a memorable date, a hilarious meme, quote, note or anything else that means something to your relationship. This will show that you’ve remembered all the special moments and conversations you two have shared together.
3. Framed Photos
I recommend a framed photo or photo collage for couples who’ve been together for a few months and are comfortable having little reminders of each other in their everyday lives. You could be at the point where you’re ready to take things to the next level, and giving them a photo of yourself for their desk at work or for their flat is a cute way to symbolize that.
It doesn’t just have to be a photo of you though. It could be a selfie of both of you from a date, a cute picture of a pet, or a photo of place that means something to your blossoming relationship.
4. A Romantic Get Away
Taking a trip with a your date can be a big, exciting step in your relationship, so it’s usually best for spontaneous couples or if you’re really comfortable with each other. Think back on the places they’ve told you they’ve always loved or wanted to go to, and try to choose one of those. A trip is wonderful idea because your partner gets to spend more time with you — it’s not just another item that’s going to sit on the dresser forever. Read our expert dating advice on your first trip away together.
It doesn’t have to be overly extravagant; a long weekend is perfect. What you can do is print out a picture of the city or place, make a list of some of the activities you’ve thought about doing and restaurants you want to try, and present them to your loved one. If they’re into it, you can decide on a date and book the transportation and hotels!
5. Do that something you’ve both always wanted to do, but it’s “never been the right time”
If it’s been a long time since you first met someone on a dating site – are you engaged? – there’s got to be something really big that you’ve both wanted, but have never quite got around to doing. Maybe that’s getting a pet, going on a truly luxurious trip to the Maldives, an epic safari in Kenya or getting a reservation to that Michelin starred restaurant.
Whatever it might be, it should be something you know for certain your date will absolutely love, and something that you can share together, and not something you’ve thought of on a whim. As well as being the best-Valentine-ever, make sure your presentation is on point; a cute picture of your pet-to-be, a travel guide with a note, a formal, handwritten invitation or something equally personal.
Gift giving can sometimes lose its meaning when people focus too much on extravagance. That’s why a thoughtful gift is always the best way to go. Think about the tips above and if they’ll work for your relationship and make your date smile. If not, maybe they’ll inspire you to come up with a unique idea. You can always include chocolate and flowers, too, if you know that’ll be a winner with your date!
Hayley Matthews is editor-in-chief at DatingAdvice.com, a popular site featuring advice from more than 250 dating coaches, matchmakers, and other relationship experts. In addition to expert tips and guides, the site also publishes reviews of the best online dating apps, where Hayley and her team rank Match.com as #1. When Hayley isn’t writing about dating and relationships, she’s listening to The Beatles or watching Harry Potter movies.