Gift Giving - to strengthen your relationship


Are you clueless or stressed out with gift giving? Relax, I'm going to make it easy.

Examples: Give your partner a new autographed baseball each year for his collection. Put a mini bottle of her favorite liqueur in her stocking each year. Or present a quart (gallon?) of luxurious, scented massage oil with the ‘house rule’ that it must get used up before next holiday time.

Can you take a hint?

Listen, listen, listen! Has your partner been raving about a new CD, or circular saw, or spa treatment? They are trying to tell you something. Remember, it doesn’t matter if that is the item that you want to give, give them what they want.

Men, even if she tears an ad out of the Sunday paper and tapes it to your computer, go with it but give her another gift also. Keeping your budget in mind, this gift may be a token one. They key is: let this gift show her that you pay attention to her – to her desires and needs. ‘I’ve noticed that since we’ve cut the budget, you don’t get your manicures anymore, so I got you a gift certificate.’

Women, as enticing as it is, he really doesn’t want that perfect-shade-of-blue wool sweater. You’re probably right – he would look sensational in it. But he doesn’t care. If he hints about a new circular saw, ask him ‘what kind?’

Make a list and check it twice

Beware of impulse buying and good deals. It doesn’t matter if that new 42 inch plasma TV is 30% off, if she’s been hinting about a new necklace or he wants a camping tent.

A gift is as good as its wrapping…and presentation

Actually, it can be. Consider the anticipation, excitement, and presentation aspects of gift giving. If you’ve bought that elegant necklace and wrap it in recycled and wrinkled paper, bowless to-boot, the anticipation may be diminished.

Think about adding your own personal touch with the wrapping. If you are artistic, how about wrapping in plain paper adorned with caricatures of your lover, or using a rubber stamp or stickers that have significance in your relationship? How about writing words or phrases on the wrapping indicating how much you adore her/him? Tie a trinket in with the bow, or remove the instructions from the box and use them as the wrapper.

Feeling lighthearted or comical? That colorful page of comics can also make great wrapping paper. Want to give your man an ego boost? How about tying your package with measuring tape and the message ‘I love EVERY INCH of you!’ Be prepared – his ‘package’ might respond.

Get creative with your presentation also. This creates anticipation and is also an indication to your partner that both the gift giving and your relationship are important. You can hide your gift or insist that it be opened with eyes closed. Play the ‘feel it and guess’ game, or make them wait the entire evening until opening time.

Gift giving can strengthen your relationship

Like most of us, you probably already have a lot of ‘stuff.’ So if you are one who can’t even think of more ‘stuff’ that you want, or want to give, think about giving a shared experience.

As a Sex and Relationship Coach, I often suggest to clients that they add some spice to their lives – a boring (or simply routine) life usually means a boring sex life. Shared experiences are bonding, and shared new, exciting experiences will have a trickle down effect on your sex life.

There’s another aspect of shared experiences that will help strengthen your relationship – invite your partner to share an experience that they’ve been wanting. He loves Broncos games but you’d rather see a movie. She’s always wanted to see live ballet but you’d rather… Doesn’t matter – again, give the gift that they want. Not only will the gift be appreciated, there’ll be an extra dose of appreciation for your selflessness.

Shared experience suggestions: dinner at a new (ethnic?) restaurant, tickets to improv or a comedy club, a concert, dinner/mystery theatre, a weekend at a B & B, adventure trip, museum tour.

Consider a gift that ‘keeps on giving’ like season tickets, or flowers of the month. How about designing a ‘Dinner of the Month’ coupon inviting your partner to pick a NEW restaurant for you both to try out each month?

Please don’t…

■give your partner a gift that suggests they should change. Unless they’ve been hinting, forego gym memberships, exercise videos, hair restoration gel, etc.
■give only gifts that represent your partner’s other roles – like kitchen equipment (cook role) or new vacuum (housekeeper role). Give something, even if it is only a token gift, that says ‘You are my lover!’

Ready, set – but don’t have a clue where to start?

■Women, take a long, slow walk around Home Depot, REI, or Borders. Ask the clerks to show you what’s hot this year.
■Men, if she has a hobby, check out related items on line.
■Ask your partner’s friends to give you suggestions.
■Is your partner eco-friendly? You can find lots of ideas online.
■Plan a day of pampering for you both – however that looks.
■Open communication around gift giving: ‘What’s your tradition around holiday gifts?’ ‘Want to come sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas?’ (Remember, I’m a Sex Coach.) Keep the communication light and fun.

Want to give a gift that will enhance your relationship and your sexuality?

■Give a gift certificate for a coaching session with a Sex and Relationship Coach.
■Scope out some quality, instructional videos.

Above all, enjoy the holiday time with your partner. If you feel that you’ve run amuck with the gift giving, share your concerns and remind your partner how much you care. Clear communication from the heart can fix most everything. Happy holidays!