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Anniversaries are a time to celebrate, but we know they can also become a time to stress about gifts. No matter how long you and your girlfriend have been together, thinking up a perfect anniversary present is never an easy task. After all, what kind of tangible gift measures up when you’re thinking about a woman who’s such a huge part of your life? Anniversaries are special, and you want your gift to feel that way too.
The great thing about dating anniversaries is that you don’t have to subscribe to any traditional gift ideas. No paper gifts for one year of dating or wood presents for five years. You can focus solely on your partner and your relationship and come up with a gift that she’ll adore.
“I always like to start with something light and fun, and then layer in a more serious, bigger gift on top, if it’s a special occasion,” says Ann Cantrell, founder of Brooklyn-based Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store. “For instance, a little treat might be a special candle, book or soaps or something that reminds you of them.”
Read on to find the best gifts for your girlfriend.
What to look for in a gift for your girlfriend
The important part here is the feeling you want to express, more than the gift itself. Go into your shopping knowing exactly what you’re trying to say—is it that have loved your year(s) together? Is it that you’re looking forward to all of the fun things to come in the future? Is it just to say you love and appreciate her? Maybe, all three! Whether you chose something custom or not, the present should feel personal to your relationship. You want her to feel special when she opens it and whenever she puts it to use.
Giving your girlfriend something that shows how much you care is what’s important—and it doesn’t have to come in a box. Some of the most meaningful gifts can’t be bought at the store. They’re sentimental gestures that come from the heart.
For example, give her a hand-drawn map of meaningful places in your relationship and then go on an excursion, revisiting each spot along the way. Or surprise her by cooking her favorite meal at home— by candlelight! Feeling like you want to pamper her? Draw her a bubble bath and dim the lights— she’ll be in heaven. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and let your heart lead the way.
It’s not customary or expected to follow traditional or modern gift themes when you’re dating, leaving the occasion wide open in terms of gifting. However, symbolism can add meaning to your gift. For example, giving your girlfriend five small photo albums, each representing a year of your time together, is a sweet way to celebrate the fifth anniversary.
If it’s a bigger occasion, you could add a throw blanket to stay cozy on the couch together or a gift card to your favorite local restaurant.” For example, Cantrell suggests gifting the a cute cookbook with a popcorn popper to create a full experience.
There are two routes you can take here—the first is a sentimental gift. Think about your relationship the great memories or inside jokes. You might just be able to turn those into a gift like a custom jigsaw puzzle. The other route is simple, think about the things that will make her feel appreciated. A bouquet of gorgeous flowers or chocolate-covered strawberries will do just that.
“Overall the main key is to think about what will surprise and delight your partner,” Cantrell says. “Then go up a notch or two for special occasions to help celebrate your time together.”
Why Trust Brides
Contributing writer Erica Finamore is an expert in the world of entertaining and home decor. She has shared her knowledge and market skills in published pieces at Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Real Simple, Refinery29, and others.