I came across an article on Forbes.com by Jenna Goudreau that posits what you give your significant other can say something to the receiver about the status of your relationship. Goudreau compares the exchange of holiday gifts to a “relationship pop quiz”. As if shopping for your S.O. wasn’t stressful enough, what if the gift you give sends a signal to your partner you didn’t mean?
But never fear; we have some ideas to navigate the perils of present procurement. The Forbes article suggests that a getaway for two is the most romantic gift you can give. Our Relationship Experts at eHarmony Advice, Jeannie and Grant, share some tips below to take the stress out of finding the perfect present.
Jeannie’s Guide for Gals:
1. Ladies, don’t take the gift as the big determining factor of his feelings for you. Guys don’t always hit the mark when holiday shopping – so if you don’t love it – don’t worry. You can always return it!
2. What you can do is help him out, and don’t worry about making it obvious. Let him know what you’d like, either make a wish list and leave it for him, or go shopping together and show him what you’ve got your eye on.
3. Another option is what I like to call “friend intervention.” Example: I really wanted a new handbag and knew that my guy would have no idea what to get me, so I sent my best friend the information and told him to ask for her opinion. It worked out beautifully!
4. When in doubt – go with something creative! A friend’s husband got her a bunch of Chinese takeout boxes and put gift cards for her favorite shops in each one. It was adorable and so thoughtful.
Grant’s Guide for Guys:
1. Open Your Brain – boring is DEADLY. So, whatever seems like a good fit, do a twist on it. If you want to give jewelry, find a shop that makes their own. Ask the owner to tell you about the piece you’re buying. Share this story as you give the gift.
2. Open Your Ears – If you spend a weekend with your S.O. and REALLY listen to them, chances are you’ll hear in the neighborhood of 20 subtle hints that can be translated into gifts. Of course, these hints may come out sounding like:
• I’m meeting the guys at Bill’s to watch the Laker Game. (Laker memorabilia or tickets!)
• My shoulders have been so sore lately. (Spa day)
• The cleaners ruined my best skirt. (Skirt. Duh.)
• My next Netflix movie is JFK. I love that film. (Collection of Oliver Stone films)
• Does she quote Seinfeld ad nauseum? (A series box set might be nice.)
3. Open Your Eyes – Most of us have a trail of things that describe us as people. Look at your love’s books. Any favorite authors? Many people have stored their music in a computer-based system so there are no tell-tale CDs to observe, so ask your lady to make you a playlist of her faves. Look at the kinds of clothes she chooses and jewelry she wears. Does she have a garnet necklace? A pair of garnet earrings would complete the set.
4. Think Past Stuff – So many people are hard to shop for because they have everything they want. When they want it, they go get it. Often times the best gifts for these people are experiences. Has your honey mentioned a restaurant or a style of food that she loves? Give her a night on the town, with the restaurant of their dreams at the center. A trip, tickets to a concert, passes to a convention of interest –these are the gifts that shock and delight.
Hope we’ve helped solve the conundrum. Let us know if you have any suggestions. Happy shopping, and happy giving!