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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

10 Ways to Find Unique and Creative Gifts for Your Significant Other

Watch your SO's face light up like a Christmas tree when you give the absolute perfect gift this season. Here's how.

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Ask questions

Remember that show The Newlywed Game? It asked couples questions that revealed how well they knew each other. That’s the first tip to scoring an “oh, wow!” as opposed to an “oh, thanks.” when your present is opened. Think of three adjectives to describe your SO. Use those, plus an outline of interests and hobbies to hone in on the most creative gift for your Person, advises Teresa Hughes, retail manager, at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Take a look at some of our favorite gifts for folks who are impossible to shop for.

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Experience it

“One gift I always love giving is an experiential one,” says Derek Tian, co-founder of, a men’s custom clothiers in New York City. “Concert tickets or a weekend getaway are sweet surprises that promise more time together too,” he adds. “Creative gifts that lead to time spent together are always romantic,” echoes Laura Jennings, CEO of Knack, a created gift-giving service. Here are some small town weekend getaway ideas to inspire you.

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Tell it

The thought really does count. When you wrap your gift for her include a note about why you chose it. “For example, ‘I wanted to give you this warm wrap so you remember me when I’m not there to keep you warm.’ That note alone transforms a cashmere wrap into a forever keepsake,” Jennings says.

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Walk the line

Sure, the point of buying a gift is to show affection to the recipient, but it is also an extension of your thoughts and feelings on your relationship. That’s a long-winded way of saying, insert your personality into the choice. Call upon common interests and shared experiences to craft the selection. Similarly, think about past gifts that have been both successes and not-so-hot choices. When in doubt, use former favorites as a guide for current selections. Check out our gift ideas for men that will totally make you look like a hero.

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Be utilitarian

Before purchasing an item ask yourself three questions: is it of good quality; is it surprising; is it useful? While a spoonula may not be sexy (and really, let’s be honest, should be relegated to a stocking stuffer), it is uber useful for a serious home baker. The purpose here is to ensure that the recipient will truly use the item and that it lasts for a while; he’ll think of you each time he takes it out. But whatever you do, stay away from these totally useless kitchen gadgets.

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Not never

Very few women will buy themselves a pair of cashmere sweatpants. Yet everyone who has a pair loves the everyday indulgence of donning them. The trick here is gifting something that she’d never purchase for herself but would totally use on repeat, advises Tian. P.S.: Everlane makes a wallet-friendly pair of the aforementioned pants.

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Go for laughs

This could be literal—the original SNL cast videos, for example—or more of an inside joke getting more airtime. Just don’t confuse laughs with a gag. That poo emoji door-stopper should just be renamed “to be tossed immediately in the recycling bin.” Thinking about going the DVD route? Check out our list of 100 of the funniest movies.

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Do the math

Truth be told, this should be the first tip. Setting a budget before you start shopping creates a benchmark for the kind of gift you’ll be giving, says Danielle Forte, creative director/founder of 828 Clothing, a line of clothing for children and adults. It also helps to remember the most expensive present isn’t necessarily the best one. “Gifting should never be about how much money you spend, it should always be about the thought and sentiment behind it,” adds Forte. Here are more expert strategies for staying on budget this holiday season.

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Time in a bottle

Truth: Time is the greatest luxury. If you can figure out a way to wrap extra hours into the week, do it and don’t forget the bow. Otherwise, this may translate into childcare coupons, signing up for InstaCart service, or making the AM lattes at home before your bae even wakes up.

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Just give

So you’ve read through all nine previous tips and are still stumped? Consider a charitable contribution in your loved one’s name. It will feel good to help those in need and/or to support organizations that work to make the change you want to see in the world.