Gift giving for any occasion can be laden with frustration and self-doubt, whether you’ve just started dating or are in a time-tested relationship. At Outgift, we believe every couple has a unique love story and the way you think about gifts should be tailored based on each individual relationship. In preparation for this Valentine’s Day, we’ve set out to analyze five different types of relationships and how you can find gifts that inspire growth in each.
1. The Casual Relationship
Maybe you just met her on Tinder and grabbed a quick cup of coffee or maybe you’ve had dinner with him three times in the last month - if you’ve only been on a handful of dates by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, it can be tricky to navigate. If you spend too much too early, it can come off as desperate. If you spend too little or nothing at all, you risk jeopardizing the relationship as not worthy of pursuing. At this point, it’s perfectly acceptable to resort to a nice dinner or flowers. After all, you’re still just getting to know each other.
If you’ve been seeing each other somewhat regularly for two to five months and think the relationship shows promise but still haven’t broken out the “Boyfriend/Girlfriend” titles, we think a small gift - think $20 to $50 - as a token of affection is warranted.
Take note of what they like to do for fun, a recently momentous occasion or an upcoming trip and show them you care by getting them a thoughtful gift. Does he always order an Old Fashioned at dinner? Consider this Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey ($35) so he can enjoy his own at home. Does she have an upcoming trip scheduled? This flat, reusable water bottle from Memobottle ($27) is minimalistically designed and ideal for traveling.
2. The Newly Exclusive Relationship
Did he just start hanging out with your friends or do your parents keep asking to meet her? The next evolution in the relationship that has you changing your relationship status on Facebook can also make gift giving a little more difficult since expectations are starting to materialize. You’re still in the honeymoon period so sweet, romantic gifts and dates that build more memories are a great way to make your commitment to each other evident.
Think about gifts in response to a recent experience together or based on something they might have brought up a few times. Get lillies sent to her office if she’s mentioned those are her favorite flowers. Has he been dying to try that new steakhouse up the street but can’t seem to make the time? Surprise him with a date night reservation and let the restaurant know ahead of time to give you an intimate table. If she loves to cook, you can surprise her with this Moleskine Recipe Journal ($23) and book a cooking class for two so you can begin filling it up together.
3. The Long Distance Relationship
Let’s face it - long distance relationships are tough but around the holidays, they can be particularly heart wrenching. If you and your bae spend more time on FaceTime then in each other’s arms, it’s important to make sure they know you’re counting down the minutes till you’re back together.
With so many miles between you, think of gifts that will remind them of you daily or that will get them excited for your next reunion. The best part about being away from each other is the excitement and buildup of being together next.
Plan a trip somewhere you both have never been and let her know by sending her this Scratch The World Map ($29) with the destination scratched off (maybe even include an open-ended flight ticket if you can swing it). Make sure he never misses a text from you with the Apple Watch ($269+) - brownie points if you get it engraved.
4. The Just Married Relationship
While you know each other pretty well by this point, you’re entering a new chapter in your relationship. One that brings the possibility of new experiences such as moving in together, buying your first home or maybe even considering growing your family.
Let them know you’re prepared for whatever the future brings by getting them a gift that continues to remind them that you’ll never take them for granted. We love the idea of creating new traditions together that will rekindle the romance year after year.
Start a new tradition together with this Anniversary Wine Box ($109) and crack open a bottle of your favorite red or maybe a bottle from your wedding night on your First, Third, and Fifth anniversaries. For the jet-setting couple, consider pairing a Canon Powershot ($159) with a hardcover photo book from Artifact Uprising ($69) filled with your memories to date and make a promise to make annual photo books for years to come.
5. The Time-Tested Relationship
Couples who have lasted the test of time have a pretty firm sense of what their beloved is into and what is appropriate. At this point in a relationship, practical gifts are acceptable particularly if they’ve expressedly conveyed interest in it - it shows that after all these years, you still pay attention. However, that said, throwing in a sweet and sappy gift will remind your love that you care about keeping the romance alive.
Surprise her with a candlelit, home-cooked dinner and renting a romantic DVD to watch in place of going out to a crowded restaurant ordering off of a prix fixe menu. If you’re not exactly the experienced chef, Blue Apron will ship you fresh ingredients in ready-to-cook portions with step-by-step recipe instructions to help you make a five star meal (new chefs get $30 off your first delivery). We also love The Family Man ($13) - a heartwarming and refreshingly honest movie about the sacrifices that make marriage, parenthood and love worthwhile.