Coming up with gift ideas is really hard, even when they're for yourself. When they're for a significant other things get even harder. It sucks to say because it seems like something a boyfriend or husband should be able to do — come up with a gift idea based on all the time they spend together that their partner will really enjoy. Well, as we all know, it's not that simple.
The first year was pretty easy — you likely splurged on some jewelry because you were trying to impress. The second year maybe you went with something expensive but practical, like an iPod.
Then you get to this weird place in your relationship where both of you decide that spending that type of money every Christmas probably isn't necessary. And now you're in this void where you have to figure out what to get her, that's not too exorbitant and is something that she wants — but hasn't bought for herself already.
This is a situation I'm sure you know all too well. To make it a little easier on you, we've asked a few ladies we know to list some of the best gifts they've received from a guy.
Any of these would be perfect for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, Valentine's Day, or even better — just because.
Guitar: This was actually a birthday present, but it was a surprise and very thoughtful. It was a gift that meant I would learn something and part of the gift was the time we would spend together while I learned to play.
Little Black Dress: I had seen a dress I liked and mentioned it to my husband. I sort of forgot about it because it was a little too expensive to buy just to have. He surprised me with it for Christmas. It's a sexy little black dress that I get compliments on whenever I wear it. It's nice to be able to tell people “thanks, my husband got it for me.”
External hard drive: I am sure you're thinking “WTF” but it was actually a great present. My old lap top had died and I had lost all my documents, photos and music on it when the screen shattered. My husband got me a hard drive, hooked up my computer to a monitor that worked and spent hours transferring all the old info onto the hard drive. He then helped me add it all on to my new computer (and back up the info I had there). (Editor's note: Amazon has a 1 TB drive for under $70. I've got one of these, works great.)
Cashmere Sweater: Hard to go wrong with this. You can find affordable options at places like Old Navy and Target. Or catch a good sale at JCrew around the holidays. Whether it's a button down cardigan, a turtleneck or a crew new pull over, cashmere is always a big winner.
Monogrammed flask. Best. Gift. Ever.
The Flavor Bible: – This one is sort of specific to cooks, although I guess a flask is specific to drunks. That being said, it is the most amazing non-cookbook cookbook ever.
Magazine subscriptions – I LOVE these, because it's something people don't think to do for themselves, but it's always appreciated. The New Yorker, OK!, Motor Trend, Food and Wine, Vogue, whatever. See what she reads at the airport/what sites she sends you articles from and pick accordingly.
Linens: Really nice sheets or a great fluffy comforter are always good gifts, and arguably benefit both of you. Garnet Hill and The Company Store are good places to look. The only trick is that could be like giving someone a vacuum. So the lesson as always: know your audience.
Thing of the Month club: I like “thing of the month” clubs, my favorite being flower of the month. In DC, there's a local place called “H.BLOOM” that does it, but I'm sure the national chains do it, and I bet there's someone in every major city that does it.
Spa Gifts: A Manicure/Pedicure or massage for your girl and a friend. When a guy recognizes how sacred and important girl time is, not to mention when he respects and is kind to your friends, it's sexy beyond all measure. Getting a spa service for your girl is sweet in itself, but getting it for two, meaning, she can take a plus one to the spa, is all kinds of creative.
Shoes: Coming from a shoe lover, it was so much fun to get the most amazing pair of shoes from my man. He doesn't get why shoes are important to me, he doesn't agree that shoes should be as important to me as they are. But that's why it was so sweet. For shoe loving women, wrap up an empty shoe box and write a note inside that says “you choose”.
A Chef at home: I love dressing up and going out on the town as much as anyone else, but one can never underestimate the romance of a candlelight dinner under your own roof. When my doorbell rang and standing in front of me was a chef, ready to give my man and I a personal cooking lesson, I was so excited. We got to do and learn something together while in the comfort of our own home…and in comfy sweats to boot. The food was amazing, and no designated driver, or clean up, was required.
A Birth Stone: One of the most amazing gifts I ever got was an emerald. I was given the emerald as a loose stone, and the card said, “I know you've always wanted an emerald ring, let's make one.” I was so appreciative that he knew what I wanted, while also had the intelligence to know that I'm picky when it comes to my jewelry and I like to be creative. He gave me the ring, while also giving me the freedom of creativity and choice. Nothing better. If you're planning to propose over the holidays, this is an amazing way to do it…with the emerald, or diamond, of your choice.