Like the holidays, love is old, love is new and if you only buy one present this year, it's likely gonna be for the person you make out with. Whether you've been together for ten days or ten years, finding the perfect gift for your one and only can be tough. Lucky for you, we're full of ideas over here.
How To Buy Jewelry Without Getting Married
If you've been together for a while and plan to keep it that way, I think jewelry is a lovely gift idea for your lady friend. It doesn't have to be expensive or a proposal. Back in the olden days (If Liz and Dick is to be believed), gents were buying ladies baubles all the time. I think that's classy.
You don't have to hit Tiffany's and definitely shouldn't spend anything close to three months' salary. Shit, for 20-30 bucks you could get something super special that doesn't doesn't stain her skin.
I think a ring is something most lovers are intimidated to give because of the obvious meaning, but unless you know she's dying for you to pop the question you shouldn't be afraid. Opt for something cutesy or modern, that no one in their right mind would misconstrue as a symbol of deeper commitment than you intend. Think the football captain giving his class ring to his cheerleader girlfriend. If she likes you as much as you hope she does, she'll be happy to have something she can look at and think of you. Bonus points if it's so goddamn cool that her friends are jealous or her mom is impressed.
This one, described as "romantic honeycomb" is a good choice for your honey pie, especially if she's a math enthusiastic or into simple, linear style. The pink color is feminine, romantic and matches just about everything. And at about $20 dollars on Etsy, it's a pretty good deal.
If your lover is more of a party girl, this bold and blingy cocktail ring might be just what the doctor ordered. A sparkler like this will be the cherry on top of a snazzy New Year's outfit,and will delight vintage enthusiasts and fancy ladies alike. This particular one, violet and from the 80s, is $40 on Etsy, but you can find all sorts of stuff like this many colors at antique stores.
If you're buying for a ladylike Jane Austen enthusiast, hand painted china, often sporting birds and flowers like this one is a wonderful idea. It's pretty easy to find too, if you keep an eye out for it. I scored a sweet necklace with a bluebird on it in this style from the case at Goodwill a few years ago. This ring is actually an earring mounted on a ring! Clever! These also have the advantage of often being one of a kind. Just like her! This specific beauty is 15 dollars on Etsy
If you're dealing with a nature girl or a Jurassic Park fan, how about a specimen of the natural world captured in resin, like this one with Queen Anne's Lace in it? She can carry a bit of springtime with her all winter long. Queen Anne's Lace Ring, $18 at Etsy.
Maybe you have a soft spot for old timey charm. Maybe there are some trust issues. No matter what's going on this ring will look hella cute on the finger of your sweet thang. And when that person you're jealous of hits on her at the bar, she will think "There is a tiny knot tied around my finger so I would remember something. What was it? Oh right. I already have a lover". Not that you need it. Forget Me Not Ring. $48.
Did you fall in love with her because she's so adventurous? Or does she keep getting lost on the way to the taco truck? Give her this cool compass ring and be sure she'll always come home to you. And it's only ten dollars!
And, for the lush who has everything, this ring is a bottle opener. I have one of these babies and I love it. It really works and makes you look like a badass. These come in packs of two for nine dollars, so you can be tag teaming six packs in no time! Never open a beer with a lighter again!
If you are one of the many Olympian commitment-phobes that can't get past the obvious significance of rings, a necklace or earrings are just as nice. Do your research: does she favor gold or silver colored jewelry? Does she keep it simple or is she into bling? Is there a hobby or animal that makes you think of her? There is no shortage of cutesy shit on a chain in this world. A little digging and you'll find something just right.
If you want the world to know she's yours, or you're a necklace person yourself, this set is quite romantic and you get a little something too. Awww. $18
Most people have a spirit animal and would love to have a symbol to wear around their neck when they need the extra strength. I have a shrinky dink tiger necklace for such occasions. If hers is an elephant, you're in luck. Also a good choice for earth mamas, world travelers or your favorite goth.
This is a harmonica that actually works! This charming charm is great for the manic pixie dream girl in your life. Start making beautiful music together for just twelve dollars!
Earrings are slightly trickier. ARE YOU SURE HER EARS ARE PIERCED? Be careful. A lot of people are sensitive to the metals in cheap earrings, so it's best to buy earrings marked "Nickel Free" or "For Sensitive Ears". Also, some people are totally willing to wear ten pound shoulder dusters (like, ahem, me) while others would rather drown in mayonnaise. However, if you know The Woman That You Love as well as you should it won't be too hard to answer these questions with minimal sleuthing.
How To Buy Clothes For Someone Else Without Blowing It
|"Spanx! You shouldn't have! No, really, what are you trying to tell me?"|
Buying clothes for your beloved can be really hit or miss. If your lady is a tomboy with a practical underwear rule, buying a pink lacy teddy may not be the way to go (and might even cause a fight spurred by feelings of inadequacy on Christmas morning. No fun). Other gifts that are always a No: Spanx, workout clothes or running shoes (unless she specifically asks for them), nylons or tights (boring!) socks that aren't cute, anything secondhand that isn't vintage.
If you're dying to get your girl something to wear, play it safe. What if she's a color phobic and you think she'd look totally bitchin' in kelly green? Buy her something simple, like a sweater, in the color you'd love to see her wear. Just don't be offended if it hangs in the closet forever.
If she happens to point out something in a magazine, or is the type to star or circle things in catalogs without any intention of buying them, that's a safe way to go too. Check the coffee table, or peek over her shoulder when the December issue of Elle comes in the mail.
Unless you are a magic fashion designer, YOU CANNOT EYEBALL SIZES. It doesn't work. Don't even try it. Wait until your sweetheart is nestled in your bed asleep and then check the tags of the clothes she cast off earlier. Do this a few times over a couple days, because sizing varies. Go for the median size, then hit the store. If you can't decide between two sizes, err on the small side. Every time you buy any article of clothing for someone else, whether it's your lover or your brother, get a gift receipt.
Of course, if you are the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend and totally kick ass at buying attire for your lovemama go for it! I know magical clothes gifting elves exist amongst both sexes. Don't let me get you down! Go on dates with me!
Shoes, especially beautiful impractical ones that she simply cannot justify buying with her own money, make a great gift. But never buy them ahead of time. It's best to get a giftcard (ugh, I know) or promise her a shopping day. She just has to try them on; there's no way around it. You know what's even better than the gift of shoes? The gift of shoes paired with the promise to be taken to dinner somewhere fancy, where they can worn with a great outfit and shown off properly.
Making Books Cool Again
If all the rules of wearables seem a little daunting, you can opt out. What's your favorite book? If she hasn't read it and you think she'd like it, that would be a lovely gift. Or maybe you recall her saying Harriet the Spy or Weetzie Bat changed her life as a child, but there isn't a copy on her bookshelf.
Buy a special little tome new or at one of our fine used bookstores. Write a love note inside it and underline passages that speak to you or remind you of her. Hide a picture of the two of you together somewhere amongst the pages, maybe at your favorite part. Reading is still sexy, bro.
But Shop Girls, I'm Poor!
Oh my friend, so are we. You can have a nice Christmas on budget without donating plasma. After all, the best things in life are free and love don't cost a thing and so on blah blah blah.
Love is a mixtape! Make it on cassette instead of a CD because that requires extra effort and is more personal. If you have a tape deck that you can run through a computer (and this is Olympia, so if you don't, one of your friends surely does) you can record songs off of YouTube! Free, but technically illegal. Last I checked you could buy single blank tapes from Rainy Day Records for a couple dollars.
Be sure to throw "your song" on there somewhere. Decorate the cover and make sure to make a track list! (It seems like boys hardly ever do this and it's Christmas, for God's sake, how's she gonna know which obscure band song #12 is by otherwise?). These are the only rules of mix tapes, which are statistically proven to be the only cassette tapes anyone takes with them when they move and the plastic object most likely to be smashed against your front door after a fight.
Another idea, if you're more into experiences instead of stuff, is a date night for people who are too cool to use the ridiculously stupid phrase "date night". Requirements: a bottle or two of Andre and a note where, in your best handwriting, you write something like this:
Though I have long made fun of your undying love of Pootie Tang (insert her favorite movie here) I am ready to experience something so important to you, with you. Please join me on an evening when you are available to stay up late, during which we shall sample Puget Pantry's finest bubbly and have a viewing of your favorite films. Afterward, I hope to make out like teenagers in love.
(insert holiday wishes of whatever denomination she prefers and your name after that).
Shazaam! Quality time together and brownie points.
If it's a new relationship, or she has everything she can possibly want, or she's "not into presents" you can never go wrong with flowers. Everyone is happy to get them, but people rarely give them anymore. When everything outside is dark and dead it's nice to have something colorful and alive in the house. If you wanna get meta, here's a list of Victorian flower meanings. Deep, man
Hopefully this smattering of ideas will delight your dream girl and earn you a kiss or two under the mistletoe. Do you have a better idea? What are you getting your girlfriend this year? Or if you're the girlfriend, what are you dying to receive? Have you ever gotten something from an admirer that was truly terrible? Let us know!
We love you!
Andrea and KT
Andrea and KT