The Gift-Giving Dilemma

Last week, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with my partner. The weekend before, I had barely thought about what I was going to get him. I wasn’t sure what was an “appropriate” gift to give at our one-year. We had already been through Christmas, Valentine’s Day and both of our birthdays, so I already had a good idea of what he liked. 

Regardless, I worried about what to get, because I wanted to give him something that expressed how I feel about him. I wanted to find something that would make him happy. I wanted to find something that wasn’t just a one-time usage kind of thing. And when you have different kinds of expectations for finding a gift for someone, it becomes nerve-wracking, because you want it to be just right.

So here are a few tips and tricks to finding a great gift to give your partner. 

The most important thing is to be honest with your partner. It was three days before my anniversary, and my partner and I were standing in his kitchen, talking about how we haven’t gotten each other anything yet. The next day, I had ordered something and texted him saying, “Hey, your gift won’t be here in time.” 

Being honest opens up the conversation about gift-giving. Sometimes it’s a closed-off conversation because you don’t want to seem like you haven’t gotten anything yet or have forgotten when in reality, you’re just nervous. Chances are your partner is in the same conundrum. 

Second: don’t worry about trying to outdo yourself. There’s this weird feeling people get that each gift has to be better than the last. It’s not true. Go big for some things, and for others, keep it simple. It can also depend on what’s happening around the time. A month before Christmas, tickets to my partner’s favorite band went on sale, and I bought them immediately. We had only been dating for a couple of months, but I knew that it was something I wanted to get him.

Next, pay attention to what your partner talks about or shares on social media. Maybe your partner has been talking about a concert they’ve been wanting to see or this new book that came out that they’ve been dying to buy. Or maybe you and your partner are just relaxing and both are scrolling on social media and you notice that your partner is on a merch website, looking through things and clicking on stuff. Make a mental note and go check it out later! (I did this with something for my partner, but in case he’s reading this, I’m not sharing it.)

Another way of finding things your partner likes is by going to the mall with them. Pay attention to what they look at and what they like. Take pictures of the items and their tags, so it’s easy to find in the future or online! I did this the entire month before my partner’s birthday. If we were in a store and he liked something, I’d wait until he moved on to something else and I’d take a picture of it. 

Finally, with all these gift ideas you find, keep a running list! In my phone on my notes app, I have a list of gifts that I’ve thought of for my partner or have seen that I might want to get him in the future. There’s also a way to “lock” notes on your phone so that you have to put in a password or fingerprint to access it.

There’s probably a ton of other things you can do to find a great gift for your partner (or anyone, really). These are the things that work best for me, and hopefully, they’ll help you too.