Romantic Gift Ideas – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

[Image - Ryan McGuire]
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Whether it is your partner’s birthday, Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, what you choose to give them can be full of meaning… or not.

Yes, modern life is busy and not everyone has a creative mind, but there really are no excuses for giving your partner something rubbish – after all, you’re supposed to be her best friend.

“She doesn’t mind.”

Sometimes women (and some men) will say gifts don’t matter and time with their partner is all that they want, but really, everyone likes to know they are valued and one way to do that is with a thoughtful gift.

Even if you believe your partner truly doesn’t mind, try thinking about how happy it makes you when someone gives you something special or plans a special day. It shouldn’t be about not bothering because your partner won’t care, it’s about making the extra effort.

Gifts don’t always need to be expensive or extravagant, but if you’re stuck, try our guide to romancing your loved one, and perhaps check you haven’t been a culprit of terrible gifting in the past!

Recent interests

What has your partner been up to in her spare time? Has she recently got into making her own clothes or contemporary poetry? If she’s been particularly interested in something new, or rekindled an interest in an old hobby, then find her a gift which relates to this. It shows you listen to her and are interested enough to remember what she says – something many people fail to do as relationships progress.

Things around the house

So many men have done this. You wake up on the morning of the celebration and realise you haven’t bought a card or present. You cast around for something and see a leftover box of chocolates from last Christmas and think ‘That’ll do!’ I hate to break it to you, but most partners will know in an instant that it’s the same box of chocolates Aunt Mabel gave you, and they’re usually still around because nobody likes them.

If part of your gift is breakfast in bed, then try to buy something special – if she loves to be woken with a glass of Buck’s Fizz then don’t ‘make do’ with left-over cider from the night before. This lack of thought is simply saying to your partner, ‘I don’t care enough to think ahead’ and can make women feel very unvalued, particularly if they always put effort into making celebrations special for you. With apps to remind you and good old-fashioned pen and paper notes, you really have no excuse to forget.


Planning a trip out together is a perfect way of showing you want to spend time together. There may be some things you know she loves doing but doesn’t get to do very often, like going to the theatre or seeing live music. Tickets are a great present, but plan a little something extra for the day. If you’re seeing a play, how about arriving early for a cocktail together in the bar, or if you’ve booked a table in a restaurant, then how about a picturesque walk together just before it? These special moments can make a huge difference to feeling romantic in a relationship.

Practical presents

Some men may not realise, but a bottle of limescale remover is not a present. Neither is an ironing board. If you do give these things, don’t be surprised if your partner isn’t thrilled. There is a slight crossover because some practical presents can be thoughtful, the dress she’s wanted for ages or a pair of slippers in the shape of her favourite childhood cartoon character. However, these have elements of fun; a new loo-brush or kitchen bin does not. If you’re looking at a present and wondering if it’s too practical (a colourful ironing board cover) then the best route is to avoid it.


Believe it or not, DIY presents can be some of the most appreciated ones! Instead of buying a box of chocolates, how about making some? If she loves a glass of wine, how about decorating a special wine glass for her? DIY presents are usually quite inexpensive but show you wanted to take the time and do something special for her. A lovely idea – especially for an anniversary – can be to buy a set of two glasses and decorate one for each other.

Gifts for yourself

A big no-no! Don’t be drawn to things just because you like them. It shows your partner that despite the fact it’s supposed to be her special day, you’d rather just be selfish. It may be as small as a box of chocolates that are your favourites, or as expensive as an Xbox One. If she hasn’t expressed a desire to own it, stay away!

A love letter – or something a little more modern

Men are notoriously bad for buying cards, and dads are just as bad as those without children. Your partner may have painstakingly chosen a card from herself and then another from your toddler and spent hours trying to get them to write or draw a message to you. A love letter is a way to show your feelings and this might be in a card or simply on a piece of paper (emails and messages don’t count, they are a nice extra but don’t replace the handwritten version).

Stuck for words? Write a poem that featured in your wedding with a few sentences about your hopes for the future and the things you love about your relationship now. If you are an arty person, try making a collage with words that say something you love about your partner on it. Or, if you tend to go to work earlier than her, how about laying a trail of notes along the floor in the morning that read ‘I love you. Happy Birthday.’

Being romantic isn’t rocket science, so get moving!