My partner and I both have upcoming birthdays and I am very excited to celebrate! I love making a big deal out of birthdays because I believe we should celebrate the people we love, who make a difference in our lives, and generally speaking are all-around awesome. He, on the other hand, would rather down-play the day like it’s no big deal, and my goal is to make sure he gets what he wants as well as knows how worthy he is of celebration. So, in thinking about how I want to spoil my babe on his birthday, I thought a few gift-giving principles might come in handy for you – now or later!
HOW TO CELEBRATE
Before we talk about gifts, let’s talk about the celebration. When it comes to a special occasion, whether it’s a birthday or anniversary, there should be some thought put into the appropriate way to celebrate it. Sometimes dinner and a movie is appropriate, sometimes a vacation is appropriate. So, what should you think about when you’re planning a celebration with someone?
- What are their preferences? My partner and I are very different. For our birthdays, I want to do something social – a pool party, BBQ, picnic on the beach with our local friends. I am into having people I care about around me to celebrate and have fun! On the other hand, for him, he wants something with just the two of us. An evening more intimate, nothing overly out of the ordinary. It’s important to think about what the other person wants, because you want them to enjoy whatever the celebration is. If I plan something different than what I know he prefers this year, I run the risk of making him uncomfortable. I might think it’s fun to plan a big surprise party, but I know this year really isn’t the year to do that – so I will choose to please him the way he prefers over my preferred way of celebrating.
- What is the level of love or longevity? I don’t prefer to say it like that, but I do think it’s possible for celebrations to have level-appropriateness. For example, going too big too soon can be a turnoff for some partners. And going too small for the timing in your relationship could cost some hurt feelings. There’s no right answer, and everyone is different, so it’s important to consider your partner, where the two of you are in your relationship, and what they would like!
WHAT TO GIVE
Shopping for a significant other can be SO much fun! It can also be difficult. I love giving gifts, but sometimes it’s way more stressful than other times. There are potential gift-giving challenges at every stage of the dating continuum:
- Newly dating: “I don’t know them well enough to know what they’ll really like”
- Been dating for a while: “Another gift so soon? I feel like I just got them something good”
- Been together forever: “This is my 234th gift to them…I’m out of ideas”
I use a little four-choice option when I give gifts – whether it’s for my boo, a bride or a baby. I like to give:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something they will like or
- Something unique
Yes, it rhymes! Keeps it simple and easy to remember. Let’s talk more specifically!
- Something they want: This is generally an easy category. What have they mentioned recently that they want for their (insert celebration type here)? Or would like to have in general? I am super forgetful, so I have a list on my laptop that literally says GIFT IDEAS FOR BABE and every time he mentions something that would be cool to have or that he’d like, I write it down. And thank goodness I do! That list comes in handy when it’s gift-buying time and I haven’t been brainstorming ideas of my own. Getting them a gift you know they want is a sure-fire way to guarantee a grateful gift recipient!
- Something they need: Sometimes it’s appropriate to take a different angle and give a gift someone needs. That could mean a “new” something, if something of theirs is broken. Or if something in their life has changed and now they have a new need for something they didn’t have before. Voila! Giving gifts that are needed can be very appreciated. I love when I get something I need – thanks mom and dad for getting me AAA all those years in my 20s!
- Something they will like: This category requires a bit more creativity on your part. ‘Something they will like’ means they haven’t specifically said they want it, and they don’t necessarily need it, but you know them well enough to know it’s something they will enjoy or appreciate. These gifts are very fun to give because your recipient doesn’t know it’s coming so it’s a happy surprise! I like keeping my eyes out for these kinds of gifts at all times during the year – proactively looking helps me form ideas and then when the time comes, I don’t feel frantic about finding something.
- Something unique: Unique gifts are so fun! I think of this as the Etsy category – where something is bought or made specifically for them that is unlike anything else. I have a tradition in my relationship where I make photobooks for every trip or season(s) of our life together. It’s never something my partner will specifically ask for or say he needs, but when I leave a little 8×8 tissue-wrapped book on the bed, he gets a big smile and is excited to see what I put together. There are so many unique gift ideas these days for couples – signs for your home together with the coordinates of where you live, using lyrics from your wedding song to make a picture to hang, etc. The options for this category are endless! And this is where Google is your best friend.
While I can’t give you a list of 1,000 potential gifts because the options truly have no limit, I hope the categories above help you narrow your search to find the best gift to give to your guy or gal…whether it’s the first gift or 50th gift! Life is a party – get to celebrating!