It can be challenging to think of what to give your other halves.
Yes, we get that you want the gift to be special and unique – something that will make your partner melt in a heartbeat. But we think it’s really more of a hit and miss, especially when there are so many choices out there.
There are many milestones in a couple’s timeline and one of them is spending a special holiday together.
If this is your first time, fret not because we interviewed a few couples to get a sense of the gift-buying reality out there, and crafted out some tips to make gift-shopping way easier from now on.
Get ready to be mind-blown!
1. Understand the importance of the holiday to them
Does your other half celebrate Christmas? Do they start filling up their calendar way in advance, and have non-stop parties in the week leading up to Christmas? Or is Christmas just another day for them, where Netflix and popcorn does the trick?
Understanding the significance of the occasion to them will help you assess the type of gifts that will work. We asked a couple how long it normally takes for them to shop for a gift for each other
“Forever! I can be going into different shops in Orchard Road for 4-6 hours with my friends and still draw a blank as to what to buy for her.”
– James, 28
“Hmmm. Typically 3-5 hours? Actually I would have chosen a present for him within the first hour, and the remaining hours are presents for myself.”
– Caroline, 26
After you have assessed what the occasion means to them, find a gift that matches their expectations of the celebration. This will help you determine your budget and the size and type of gift you should look for.
2. Get them something practical, but not THAT practical
The rule of thumb is to give them something MORE than what you would give a friend. This gesture shows them that you’ve put in considerable thought into choosing the perfect gift for them.
“There was this time I got her a feather pen for Valentine’s Day because I saw that she loves writing in her journal. She was shocked and disappointed, and I had to make it up by sending her flowers to ease the awkwardness. ”
– Jerry, 21
“I got him a small dog ornament cos he loves his Golden Retriever and I thought he would appreciate anything dog-related. I found out later that he donated it to the Salvation Army, along with all his unwanted stuff.”
– Carrie, 18
Getting them a well thought-out gift involves understanding them on a deeper level, and a pen or ornament might just suggest you don’t really have a clue. This sends them the message that you are not that into them, and it might be detrimental to your relationship.
We’re not saying getting a simple gift is a bad idea, but more effort can be put into personalising it, such as engravings, picking out a special design or making the exterior stand out with an exquisite box and wrapping paper. Check out ideas on gift-wrapping here.
3. Handmade presents always hit the sweet spots
It’s the effort that counts, and what’s more telling of your efforts than a handmade gift? Whether it’s a gift made from scratch, a curated gift box, or a home cooked meal, your partner will love you for going the extra mile to make his/ her day a special one.
“On my birthday last year, my boyfriend cooked me a 3-course dinner. I knew that he seldom steps into the kitchen so I was very touched and surprised by the effort he’d put in. Later, he told me that he had to call his friends for help on how to sear the steak and grill the veggies. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that I am important to him. Although the dinner wasn’t Michelin grade, I really love this birthday present, and appreciate all the things he did to give me a memorable day.”
– Jolin, 29
“On Valentine’s Day, my girlfriend gave me a scrapbook which documented all our time together. It included photographs, captions and conversations which brought me back to those exact moments. I was really touched by the gift and it was also a reminder of why I love this girl in the first place.”
– Elvin, 35
4. Remember that you are buying a gift for your partner, not for yourself
What you want for your partner might not be what they want for themselves. You’d prefer if your girlfriend wears heels, but comfy and stylish high cut sneakers might be what she’s comfortable with. Projecting what you like on your partner’s gift is not the way to make them feel loved.
“It’s really hard! I never know what she wants!
– Daniel, 32
“It really depends. I get it right sometimes, and there were times when I was just wayyy off and he gets kind of upset. I remember there was once I got him a remote control car for 4 to 5 year olds cos I saw him taking a video of it and thought it would be a unique and cute gift. When he saw it, he went all like “Seriously? A toy??”. Turns out he was taking a video for his nephew and he found my gift too kiddy.”
– Jasmine, 23
The trick here is to pay close attention to your partner’s interests and preferences – it can be inferred from deep conversations or just by observing what rocks their boat.
Major brownie points to you when they realise you were paying attention!
5. Understand and speak their language of love
Gary D. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages – Words of Affirmation, Acts of Services, Receiving Gifts, Quality time and Physical Touch – is a good way for you to understand and connect with your partner.
Words of Affirmation
A little encouragement goes a long way so don’t be stingy when it comes to complimenting your partner’s outfit or giving them a pat on the back for the good work they have done.
Acts of Services / Quality Time
“A home-cooked meal for me, anytime!”
– Allyssa, 23 / Gerald, 31
“It’s always nice to get a surprise trip somewhere.”
– Mark, 35 / Emmeline 28
For some, the ultimate way to display love and affection is to spend quality time together. Going out of the way to do something for your partner can also earn you brownie points.
“I would love a bottle of wine or whisky.”
– Paul, 35
“As an avid traveller, I’d love a new camera to bring with me on my trips!”
– Amanda, 25
While most people love gifts, some see gifts as the way to speak the language of love. A little gift to remind the person you love that you are appreciative of them from time to time goes a long way.
Cuddling on your couch to binge-watch Netflix might be the best way to spend the holiday with them if this is their language of love.
We hope you’ve learned some useful tips and tricks in choosing a gift for your partner! Gift buying for your loved ones can be stressful at times, but it can be extremely rewarding when you see that joyful or surprised look on their face.