There's almost nothing worse than the holiday shopping season. You have to fight the crowds and find the perfect gift for your sweetheart. Depending on how long you have been in a relationship, there's a good possibility that you have exhausted all of your standard gift options. Sweater. Check. Tie. Check. Basic jewelry. Check. Before you know it, you're staring at the gift cards at the checkout counter, reasoning with yourself, "But at least he could buy something he wants." Don't be that person.
Gift options for sweethearts are endless; you just have to be a little creative and willing to put some time and effort into finding that perfect present.
"Typically what we see is that the longer the couple has been dating, then they're looking for gifts that celebrate their relationship," says Bob Zakrzewski, co-founder of FindGift.com, a search engine for gift ideas. For many couples, this means personalizing gifts to commemorate their bonds.
Zakrzewski suggests one of the site's most popular gifts for couples: personalized magazine covers. Upload your favorite photo of the two of you and you can put that photo on a variety of magazine covers. Now you're famous! It makes a fun, quirky gift that would be great framed.
Through FindGift.com, you will be able to search through almost 80,000 different gifts from 1,100 retailers based on specific parameters of your search. Are you looking for a humorous gift for your mom? What about a Father's Day gift for a soon-to-be dad? They've got suggestions for you. The site's gift experts see that girlfriends looking for presents for their boyfriends is the most popular demographic.
"Maybe you've been dating a little longer and expressed those sentiments already so you're looking for something new to do," Zakrzewski says. What about a destination gift? Why not try horseback riding lessons, dinner cruises off the coast of New York or a wine tasting trip in Napa Valley?
What if you are looking for something a little bit more thoughtful and sweet, something more from the heart? "I've done love letters," says Renee Troy, a professional lettering artist and calligrapher. "It's a keepsake," she says. "Especially women, they adore love letters. To have something from the man they love, their husband or their significant other done in calligraphy, the actual act of having it done is so special."
Along with love letters, Troy also has written wedding vows that couples want to remember and keep sacred by putting them in a shadow box with unique mementos from their relationships. These types of gifts require a lot of reflection and feeling and are not for the faint of heart.
If putting down all of your lovey-dovey thoughts on paper is a little too much for you, there's a middle ground that you may be more comfortable with while still being able to tell that special someone exactly how you feel.
"What are you trying to say to that person?" asks Amy Myers, vice president of creative services at Things Remembered. "What do you know about them? What are the key things you love about them?"
Things Remembered is a company that specializes in engraving products, and you can find them in 650 stores in malls nationwide, as well as online. You can pick from silver heart necklaces, money clips, charm bracelets and many other products on which to engrave sayings or memories or dates.
Maybe you have a special inside joke or song title that you and your sweetheart share; engrave it and he or she can keep it forever.
"I think most couples have some word, something that no one else knows. It's just a bond, and to have it and memorialize it and look at it and smile and remember, it strengthens and creates a deeper bond, and people love it," Myers says.
Of course, a classic holiday gift is Things Remembered's engraved ornaments, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Commemorate a first Christmas spent together or the first holiday season in your own house by engraving the special date on the ornament. It's a keepsake that will let you look back at those great moments in your life together.
If you are feeling stuck this holiday season and cannot come up with that perfect present for your sweetheart, don't get discouraged. Think outside the box a little bit, and know that you can't go wrong by expressing your feelings. A gift card surely can't say what's truly in your heart.